How many crash boats does a Radial fleet need?

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by Orange Boat, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. Orange Boat

    Orange Boat New Member

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    I am on the Board of a small Southern California sailing club that puts on two small two day reggattas a year, and about 10 other one day events.

    at our last event 40 Radials showed up, as well as 6 other fleets.
    afterwards several people suggested we needed an 8 to 1 ratio of Radial rigs to crash boats.
    that would mean 1 RC boat, 1 Marks Boat, and 5 launches to clean up the mess? I can see a School or teaching program using that number, I can also see it in colder water.

    I admit I am Old (45) and don't remember coach boats or any of that. I also feel 15-25 year olds are young adults, and not children.

    Seems one boat and the marks boat would be sufficient. The alternatives range from charging them extra to race, to simply un-inviting them.

  2. arm

    arm arm

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    the ratio between holding classes for beginners and running a regatta are very different. it is expected of those who compite to be better sailors and to take care of themselves better. the weather plays a big part on your preparations....ugly windy weather suggests more safety boats on the water. for the younger crowd, you sometimes get a couple of parents on power boats that like to see junior race and those folks can generally be used as helpers (though their own varying degrees of experience can be a hindrance).

    To run a regatta at least have an R/C, a mark boat and another boat to help out moving the pin, getting lunches (if lunch on the water), looking out for a stragler in the weather conditions warrant, then more power boats for safety.

    What a with the ideas and go for it...thanks race committee!

    be well

  3. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    We need more info to give proper advice.
    Are all these fleets racing at the same time? How many boats total on the water? How far away from a safe haven (10 min or an hour?).

    As pointed out by arm, if the weather goes 'bad' (winds above 15 mph; thunderstorms, etc), you will need more than two rescue boats.

    Finally, Radials are not just sailed by 15-20 year olds. Un-inviting them is not an option, IMHO. And charging one-person dinghies extra is bad PR.
  4. Orange Boat

    Orange Boat New Member

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    two courses, dingy and keel boat.
    15 min
    There are no radial sailors on the Board, in the sail policy meetings, stepping up for RC duty, they are silent on this. Clubs are looking at next years racing budget, cuts are coming.

    You make a good point, for radials over 15knts 20% are upside down in my past experience. are we suggesting wind limits for under staffed events?

    I'm on your side, they should race, but I am encountering some serious anti laser sentiment. Are there written guidelines? Am I off base and 8:1 is right?
  5. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    1 in 8 sounds about right for a regatta. I seem to remember that we needed about 40 support boats for the Terrigal (Australia) Masters Worlds last year for a fleet of 360 boats. Some of those support boats had other official duties (coach boats, judge boats, mark layers, etc) during the event but could be called upon to assist in a mass rescue.
  6. foxy

    foxy Member

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    In my experience, Lasers or Radials can usually handle themselves fairly well and self rescue unless something breaks or comes apart. In many races I go to, the club puts out a bouy behind the starting line to which broken boats get tied to until the end of racing. If a storm blows through and you have multiple rescues to deal with the sailors get taken aboard the rescue boats first. Then when the sailors in trouble are ALL out of the water, they get boats to the bouys . That greatly extends the capabilities of the crash boats. Your sailing instructions should clearly state that this is the way you are going to handle rescues and you should make it clear at the competitors meeting as well.

    The sailors should take responsibility for not going out if conditions are beyond their limits. Thats why we have rule 4.
  7. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    If the kids would be left in saboits until thye are actually large and experienced enough for Radials, there wouldn't be a problem at all.
  8. dyzzypyxxy

    dyzzypyxxy Member

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    Points to consider on this question:

    1. An upside down Laser or Radial most likely does not need rescuing. If there are 20 boats flipped over at a given moment, chances are 19 of them will be sailing away in 5 minutes or less.

    2. Unless you have enough crash boats to rescue every single sailor in a raging squall, it could be said that you don't have enough. If you had 4 or 10 or 20 crash boats, and one more sailor got in trouble and wasn't helped, you could still have an injury, casualty or a lawsuit on your hands.

    3. Sailors - especially Laser sailors - know they are responsible for themselves when they go out to race. It's still a good idea to put this in your disclaimer on the entry form that they sign even though it's in the Racing Rules. Just as a reminder.

    In Feb. we ran the Masters Mids regatta with a fleet of 80 Lasers. We had an RC boat, pin boat, mark boat and we anchored an unmanned dinghy in the start area with water bottles on board. It was understood that a boat disabled during a race would be moored to the water boat until one of the mark boats could tow them to the club. It was a 3-day regatta with light airs expected but we did have one more boat "on call" c/w crew if the wind had piped up.

    To be honest, I felt perfectly comfortable with that number of boats available for rescue. Here's why:

    Most of the sailors registered were vastly experienced in their boats. Experienced Laser (or Rad) sailors know their limitations. Even inexperienced sailors usually know to head in or stay ashore if it gets too windy for them. Unless the wind increases suddenly, your newbies will either not go out, or will head for the club in time.

    Our club used to host the Laser Midwinters with fleets of 250-odd boats. We ran safe races with no casualties for at least 8 years in a row with most likely only one or two crash boats per race course. Granted, we are in Florida, it's not usually cold, and we sail inside Sarasota Bay so even if someone did break down and wash ashore, it wouldn't take long to find them.

    No formula or guideline is going to help you to make this decision because every place and every race is different. You need to evaluate the conditions including water temp and air temp, and the race area as to safety. Also have have good weather forecasts available for the sailors as well as for your RC. If you're going to have a fleet of Lasers or Rads, you should definitely try to have somebody on your mark or pin boat that knows Lasers.

    Then get enough support boats to make yourself comfortable, and go run sailboat races! None of us wants to put anybody at risk, but sailing tippy little sailboats on the big blue sea is risky, no matter what.

    Fact is, your dinghy sailors probably are in a lot more danger driving to the club with their boats than they are out on the race course.

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