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Average Lap races

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: General
Forum Name: Race Management
Forum Discription: For race officers and competiors to discuss the topic
Printed Date: 17 Apr 21 at 11:38pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y -

Topic: Average Lap races
Posted By: Dago
Subject: Average Lap races
Date Posted: 13 Feb 05 at 12:51pm

As the spread off dinghies & cats expands over the range Topper - Hobie Tiger, at my club, we are considering using the 'average lap' format for our races.

I would like to hear the pro's & con's from anyone who has been involved in running the system at their club.

Does location ( coastal / inland ) have any bearing?

How long do your races last.

We are looking to run up to 3 races a day, of about 60 - 70 mins duration, with a lunch break as well! 

I am sure that by using average laps everyone would get to have a reasonable length of race, whether they were in a Topper or Hobie or  49er and if used correctly, majority of the boats can be finished in a reasonably short space of time, to aid back-back racing.


Dago - Sailing Sec. Eastbourne Sovereign SC






Posted By: Scooby_simon
Date Posted: 13 Feb 05 at 2:33pm

We use average laps at Grafham for some of the Handicap starts.  We get a fair spread of lap times even for just the cats.  The skill is in setting an appropiate sized course and then ensuring you keep a close tag on every boat on every lap.  We (when I am doing duty's) usually assign each person one handicap fleet (slow/fast/cats) and maybe one one design fleet (depends on numbers) so that you can get a feel for how quickly the fastest boat in the fleet (Say Tornado) and slowest (say Sprint 15(dart 15)) are doing laps.  You can then advise the race officer as to when it is appropiate to finish each boat.  At Grafham we have written the Sailing instructions in a way that we can actually finish the same class of boat on a different no of laps)  - We aim for about 60 minute races in the morning, 70 mins PM and then about 1 hr for the 3rd (Summer only)



Wanna learn to Ski - PM me..

Posted By: iansmithofotley
Date Posted: 13 Feb 05 at 8:39pm

Hi Dago,

I think that it is necessary to start and finish races at the same place/mark to get an accurate result.

Once you start to have 'part laps', results become less accurate as it is impossible, in sailing, because of the beats, to estimate a 'part lap' as a percentage of a 'whole lap'. It is far easier to just divide by the number of 'whole laps' completed.

It is possible that a 'part lap' can be, for example, a quarter or threequarters of a 'whole lap'. If the 'part lap' is ignored, then the results will not be accurate when it comes to dividing the time by the number of laps completed.

Ian  (Yorkshire Dales S.C.)

Posted By: Scooby_simon
Date Posted: 13 Feb 05 at 9:33pm

I assumed that the would be only complete laps.  Not really possible otherwise.  Start and finish line are the same line and the SI state you MUST go thru' the finish line each lap.



Wanna learn to Ski - PM me..

Posted By: redback
Date Posted: 13 Feb 05 at 9:36pm

Hi we've done it for years we sail on a reservior of 260 acres and we always have on the water starts and finishes at the same location.  You cannot have part laps so we always set a course with a "gate", which is the start/finish line.

It works really well and caters for our range of boats which include Opies and Olympic aspirants in 49ers.  The 49ers often lap the Opies 3 or 4 times so you need to keep track of laps completed, but at 75 minutes of racing we hoist the shortened course flag and time the boats across the line.  Generally all classes start together, and all get about the same length of race.  Our computer is set up so that the Race Officer has to merely enter the start time, the sail number of each boat, the finish time and the number of laps.

I can recommend it.

Posted By: bigwavedave
Date Posted: 14 Feb 05 at 10:56am
I can vouch for the success of average lap racing at Bough Beech.  Works very well.


Posted By: Doctor Clifford
Date Posted: 14 Feb 05 at 11:38am
works well for the Scotland and North of England
Catamaran Class Association too.

If you can set up a start line that doubles as a
leeward gate, you get far better racing on a windward
leeward course than a gate a third of the way up the
course, as is often seen. More choices up and down.

Dr. Clifford

take two tablets twice daily

Posted By: Pierre
Date Posted: 14 Feb 05 at 11:41am
It's done at Weir Wood as well.

Posted By: Contender443
Date Posted: 14 Feb 05 at 12:27pm

We do it at lancing for our early / late series plus our Wednesday night races. It works well as long as the lap length is kept to 20 or 30 minutes maximum for our slowest boats.

The problems arise in light decreasing winds where our slowest boats have taken over 40 minutes to do one lap - do you send them round again? It can be hard for the race officer to set an appropiate size course.

Nine times out of ten it works well. We generally use trapezoid courses for this type of racing.

Bonnie Lass Contender 1764

Posted By: catmandoo
Date Posted: 14 Feb 05 at 1:22pm

Yes Average lap racing becomes a joke in falling breeze , which can often happen in midweek , midsummer evening races . There is nothing more demoralising than getting beaten by a boat of the same type(or dog slow other !) sailing within a handicap class on average lap time that hasn't even got close to you ,winning by virtue of being so far behind that they are stopped a lap behind you ! whilst you soldier on on a dying vespre.

This scenario is recognised by some clubs,menoge associations and rules are introduced whereby the R>O recognises this situation and results are adjusted , but  it can become a nightmare and most R>Os will ignore the adjustment.

Another solution is to introduce a fixed period time limit after first finisher we use 1/2 an hour , so if a faster leader doesn't finish his final round after a slower boat has been finished a round behind the leader counts his last round completed within time limit, this helps above problem to a degree.This is only relevant in club racing ,most regattas do this anyway but usually allow too long a time to finish.

All in all whatever you do Average lap racing is a compromise and people will loose out or gain due to "LUCK " and factors outwith their control the race winner won't neccesarily win because of their performance across the water perhaps their lack of it .

Av lap racing gets more races in and less time waiting around it's convienient for those running races, but doesn't consistantly produce the best racing/results  . A one design class can have enormous time seperations within the fleet , but no one in their right minds would put them into average laps.


Guess as a competitor sailing a faster boat I don't really like it !

A fast boat too can win unjustly when a slower boat that had been winning (on Hcap) is shortened early and wind rises .



Posted By: redback
Date Posted: 14 Feb 05 at 3:59pm

Nothing is perfect but generally speaking average lap racing means most people sail their race in the same wind as the others.

In truth our good Race Officers tweak the 75 minutes to finish when the leading fast boat is about to cross or when it would make a nonsense to send the slow boats around again.  So a little judgement can make an almost good system into a better one still.

Posted By: Scooby_simon
Date Posted: 14 Feb 05 at 4:27pm
I've actually found it usually pays to finish the handcap fleet once the first few (really) fast boats have gone thru' the line so they get an extra lap (They should catch the slower boats in front.

Wanna learn to Ski - PM me..

Posted By: redback
Date Posted: 14 Feb 05 at 6:23pm
Sorry that's what I meant - you express it better than me.  Basically by using a bit of discretion you can organise it so that nearly everybody has a sail of equal length.

Posted By: Black no sugar
Date Posted: 19 Feb 05 at 9:31pm
And as a Topper sailor, it's with an immense pleasure you send those Contenders back for an extra lap!

------------- - Lancing SC

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