At last, we got some sailing today.
After cancelletaions on Fridays initial Handicap Shield and then again yestreday with the heavy winds, we got some sailing in today in a solid 14 knot westerley.
We had five IOM's and thee A Class yachts sailing today. Unfortunately, we had a few others turn up but had some issues, so didn't quite make the start line.
It was great to see Murray Willis come today to sail his Cheinz 2. Great to see you at the dam, and hope you come along every chance you get when you are down in the south.
We got in 9 races under a handicap system. IOM's started all together on the first race, with the A Class yachts two minutes later, and then handicap penalties commenced from there according to results.
Very hard to handicap today, with some starts allowing those that started first a big lead that was hard to chase down, and then the next race being chased down within the first lap, depending on how fortunate you were with the lifts and gusts. The A Class yachts were able to hold their A Rigs, so had a distinct advantage when the breeze lightened off, and powered up beautifully when the gusts came in as well.
At the end of the nine races, one sailor really stood out amongst everyone else. Dropping two 3rd places made for a very consistent perfomance all day, and no surprise with Michael Hickman winning the Australia Day Shield for 2024 with just 13 points.
Second place today was Rod Marshall, on 20 points. His A Class Blister sailing very well, with just the one race missed with some jib issues after a big gust came through.
Four points further behind, was Kyle Stewart. Also had a few races on the shore with a forestay replacement needed. Highest handicap on the day and the boat sailed very well when on the water.
The sailing today was in great spirits, and not once was there a call for someone to do a penalty. Every single case today, any penalties were completed on the skippers own behalf after they saw that they infringed. Fantastic on-water behaviour all round.
Great also to see so many sailors helping each other with various issues. Whether it was Marray needing some help with tuning the yacht or on-water advice, to Cookie needing a third (or fourth) hand in getting some soldering done on his winch, or people checking out their stocks for glue for Stuart - it all shows the comradare and spirit we want to see on a sail day.
Big thanks today, to Les Hanscon, for coming along and running things for us. Always very appreciated/
Wednesday is IOM Mid Week Handicap, starting at 11am
Next Sunday is IOM Scratch, starting at 1pm.
A note on IOM Scratch. We did try to make it more interesting for skippers with a handicap system last year. Trawling through the previous 5 results each time we sailed to gather a class ranking and compare that against finished result in an attempt to have all skippers in with a chance to win on handicap. Although statistically, it looked fairly successful, but we didn't really see an increase of numbers to sailing.
This year, after a fantastic suggestion to the committee from within the membership, we are going to try a system where the fleet is separated into two "groups", a gold and silver fleet. Everyone starts and sails as per any scratch day, but the end of day results are split into these two fleets, so those who are not necessarily in a regular running for the top few positions can vie for the silver fleet win/place.
John Short (thanks for all your hard work with this) diligently trawled through our past data to look at final placings each week as well as who finished races in the top three to develop a spreadsheet that will help us sort out placings on a scratch day. We believe we have found a good balance between gold and silver fleet sailors, and hope to implement this from next week. A note on this, a Silver Fleet sailor can certainly win the day if they have a great one and beat everybody in the results - they can win both the scratch day overall and the Silver Fleet.
We hope the introduction of the two fleet system may help increase participation in the scratch days, with sailors feeling like they can hae a good chance at being in the top few of the fleet they are in,
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