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Big Fleet Regattas - Chicken and Egg

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423zero View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 423zero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Aug 19 at 7:54pm
I can't get out of being polite  LOL I sail like I walk in a crowd, opening doors for people and apologising even when I am not at fault.
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DiscoBall View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote DiscoBall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Aug 19 at 8:36pm
The upside of the plethora of UK classes - lots of options to find a level of competition and class culture that matches your motivation\body size\fitness\tolerance for aggro etc.

Originally posted by 423zero

I can't get out of being polite  LOL I sail like I walk in a crowd, opening doors for people and apologising even when I am not at fault.


If anything it's usually a sign that you're getting towards the front of the fleet when close crosses are met with 'carry on' rather tha 'STAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRboard!'  LOL  I can understand the OP reservations about being in the pack in some fleets - being pinballed around for no reason isn't always the definition of fun. 

Throw in 5 days of rain, getting into damp kit etc and champs weeks can seem more like job that you pay to go to. But then there are the sunny years.
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salmon80 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote salmon80 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Aug 19 at 1:57am
Thanks so much for everyone's views, a nice little forum discussion! Some top champion sailors posting is a great insight.

I've actually found that when i get to the front in a big fleet i never totally lose the position. Once i fluked 2nd round the first mark at the Solo's and finished 6th it was so so easy after the first mark - just look at the video of race 8 at the merlins today first 10 round in clear air then a sh*t fight of shouting and protests with 10 abreast going around the gybe mark - that's what i hate. Its easy for the guys in front whether they got there through skill or luck

The solos are actually classic for that, when i sailed them club sailors sometimes in their 70's would win races because once your in the clear it actually takes a Nick Craig or Taxi level sailor to chase you down.

I like the Mozzy's suggestion to pick the right level. The merlins is a very high level but its pathetic compared to the finn gold cup for example, and the comet nationals is a lower level than the merlins.

One positive about nationals is its your only chance to beat the top guys when they get buried! The only times ive beaten the Hunts, Craigs and Taxis of this world is at nationals.
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salmon80 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote salmon80 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Aug 19 at 2:01am
Originally posted by Daniel Holman

If you want to get good at racing in big or small fleets its deffo important to race in big fleets and get cuffed by the best sailors that you can, else its just an ego trip.
Do as much racing as you can in high quality fleets and make a point of learning as much as you can. Invest in coaching if you are serious about improving yourself.
Like many I was lucky to come through the RYA youth scheme at a golden time so it was all there, its a bit harder for adults to make a jump in quality, but it can easily be done with effort expended in the right directions!.

Thanks, i know what you mean. After the Lightning 368's one year where I'd made the top 3 I did say to myself its good but its only the equivalent to top half of the solo's.
What would you say to the approach ive seen people do when they do a regatta sailing positively/aggressively all of the time being prepared to roll the dice to finish either 60th or top 10 being happy with single race results rather than overall standings.
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salmon80 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote salmon80 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Aug 19 at 2:02am
Originally posted by RS400atC

Originally posted by salmon80

65 boats at the Merlin Nationals.....I'd be sure I'd be about 40th Overall......]


Easy to talk the talk on a forum, but good sailors have to work for 40th.
And it's 'We' in a Merlin, not 'I'.

Can you tell I'm more of a singlehander guy ;)
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salmon80 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote salmon80 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Aug 19 at 2:03am
Originally posted by DiscoBall

The upside of the plethora of UK classes - lots of options to find a level of competition and class culture that matches your motivation\body size\fitness\tolerance for aggro etc.

Originally posted by 423zero

I can't get out of being polite  LOL I sail like I walk in a crowd, opening doors for people and apologising even when I am not at fault.


If anything it's usually a sign that you're getting towards the front of the fleet when close crosses are met with 'carry on' rather tha 'STAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRboard!'  LOL  I can understand the OP reservations about being in the pack in some fleets - being pinballed around for no reason isn't always the definition of fun. 

Throw in 5 days of rain, getting into damp kit etc and champs weeks can seem more like job that you pay to go to. But then there are the sunny years.

I know what you mean its so much more civilised at the front, the pack is, quite frankly, a horrible place to be.
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salmon80 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote salmon80 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Aug 19 at 2:05am
Originally posted by iGRF

Reading between the lines it looks like you need to brush up your starting technique, if you can beat them in small fleets (which are often more difficult) then beating them in a big fleet should be easier for a person confident on the start line.

I always found the bigger the start the better it was to beat folk I might know and could probably be irritating in a smaller start environment.

Then again I've come to accept technique in getting ahead at the get go can be a bit trickier in dinghys, but as long as you follow all the well documented procedures for getting your nose ahead at the gun, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Having a bloody good crew also helps, if the pin end is no go, making sure you and the crew have transits sorted so you can go for mid line sag, always pull the trigger at 2 secs to go, better risk being over than being buried (less chance being spotted mid line). The Start is 60% of the chance in a big fleet, much much more important than in small fleet races. Personally I always try for the pin then right if all things are equal and unless there's a half decent port bias. It's also easier in a fast boat in a handicap fleet, but in large number class racing the start is everything and start line confidence and 'neck' all the more important.

Yep my starts are crap, sometimes ive had no real plan tack off to try and get clear air and bang a corner. Sometimes you end up top 10 sometimes last but 10
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Alistair426 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Alistair426 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Aug 19 at 8:54am
The 'civilised' approach of top sailors is born of knowing the value of the clear air people are eulogising about. Much better do do a controlled transom-duck than have somebody tack just where you don't want them to be. 

Every Champs will have a corner-banger result in there to skew the overall standings at the end of the week - 33, 32, 29, 47, 7, 50 - will potentially boost somebody by 10 spots overall. Frustrating for those around them but, hey, it's just for fun.

To call the top end of the Merlin Fleet 'pathetic' compared top the Finn Gold Cup is probably a bit harsh. Finn Gold Cup sailors are, for the most part, proper professional sailors; it's what they do, day-in, day-out. Merlin sailors are, for the most part (even those who are 'in the trade') holding down jobs as well as sailing. It's not really an apples-with-apples comparison, is it? 

You don't need a perfect start in a big fleet to get a result - watch Ben and Roz McGrane doing a turn after nudging the pin boat and still coming into the top mark near the front - you just don't want a really bad one. You've got to be in the front rank, even if you aren't in position A. That seems to be what frightens a lot of people - failure to get the 'best' start.
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salmon80 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote salmon80 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Aug 19 at 9:10am
Originally posted by Alistair426

The 'civilised' approach of top sailors is born of knowing the value of the clear air people are eulogising about. Much better do do a controlled transom-duck than have somebody tack just where you don't want them to be. 
Every Champs will have a corner-banger result in there to skew the overall standings at the end of the week - 33, 32, 29, 47, 7, 50 - will potentially boost somebody by 10 spots overall. Frustrating for those around them but, hey, it's just for fun.
To call the top end of the Merlin Fleet 'pathetic' compared top the Finn Gold Cup is probably a bit harsh. Finn Gold Cup sailors are, for the most part, proper professional sailors; it's what they do, day-in, day-out. Merlin sailors are, for the most part (even those who are 'in the trade') holding down jobs as well as sailing. It's not really an apples-with-apples comparison, is it? 
You don't need a perfect start in a big fleet to get a result - watch Ben and Roz McGrane doing a turn after nudging the pin boat and still coming into the top mark near the front - you just don't want a really bad one. You've got to be in the front rank, even if you aren't in position A. That seems to be what frightens a lot of people - failure to get the 'best' start.


Sure pathetic was too harsh its considerably lower than the finns

Did see Ben and Roz do the 360 at the pin boat - the kind of team that can recover from that
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davidyacht View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote davidyacht Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Aug 19 at 10:02am
Speaking to someone who competes at Laser Masters events, he suggested that even the very top flight masters would be bringing up the rear of a Laser World Championship fleet, such is the value of full time practice.

In another conversation with a top of the fleet Merlin sailor, he suggested that the difference with for those coming out of the Olympic squads, is that they can exercise their came plan, not only are they on the line, they start exactly where they want to be, and they are perfectly placed to pick up the first shift ... then game over.

This would suggest that there is a greater divide between the Corinthian sailor and those exposed to the Olympic circus, than there was back in the day, when Olympians were essentially talented corinthian sailors who fancied their chances at an Olympic medal, who still had to hold down day jobs.
Happily living in the past
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