The Masters Rig Swapping Experiment

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by gouvernail, May 11, 2009.

  1. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Rig swapping...

    It was offered as an experiment and it seems to me it is well past time to see how the current rule is serving our fleet's needs....

    MY OPINION ....SO FAR
    It started as an experiment and I believe rig swapping should still be an experiment.
    Perhaps, for the next year, it should be available ONLY when the fleet majority agrees to allow it for the event. We should continue to look for the ideal balance. With that concept of, "Let's make this rig swapping thing work perfectly" in mind...

    Here goes>>>

    My research says rig swapping is giving 150 to 170 pound guys the chance to be very fast in light air with a big sail and very fast in big breeze with a small sail.

    This is creating a result where as sailors weights digress from that range the ability to be competitive in a general all conditions event is reduced more dramatically than before the rig chage option was allowed.


    The result??

    Big guys who used to occasionally win when regattas were 100% big breeze rarely win anymore and tiny guys who used to win when regattas were 100% light air never win anymore.



    I think the rig swapping option was and still is a great experimental concept for keeping the back of the fleet on the water...that part of improving the game for frail guys who formerly went home is working well.

    On the other hand, those in the top 50% of the fleet are using the rig swapping option as an unfair strategic weapon against less ideally sized sailors. Laser sailing has always been a game for 165 lb very tall sailors and others whose talent helped them keep up with the perfect sized guRig swapping is simply extending the domination of teh middle weight group...and perhaps extending the ideal overall conditions size range down a few pounds.
    My current belief is top sailors should not probably not be allowed the swapping option.

    I suggest sailors whose overall score is in the top 50% of the fleet should not be alowed to switch.

    Yes, I understand a sailor might sail big rig do well, then sail a couple overpowered races and drop down to the lower half, swap rigs, gain back into the top half, and be stuck with the small rig when the wind dies back down .

    That seems quite fair to this big guy who has the wrong rig up whenever the wind gets light and has no options to throw up an MC scow sail.

    OK Flame away!!!
     
  2. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Re: The Masters Rig Swsapping Experiment

    I support the rig swapping option, but then I am in the weight range where it helps me (65Kg) - so probably as many people I am not independent (heavier and lighter people don't like the advantage, others get, mid weight like the advantage - so most are not independent).

    However, I feel that if it is available to anybody (in a race/series) then it should be available to all. One of the great strengths of the Laser is people competing on equal terms and saying that you are in the top x% of the fleet constrains you to a handicap (on equipment options) would break that. Ignoring the practical problems (practical problems can normally be overcome with some thought/effort), the person who is ranked at 49%'th would be racing against the person ranked 51%'th, though the 51%'th has a significant advantage. I would undoubtedly be in the slower 50% so would have rig flexibility, but if I started beating all these "hot shots" I would feel no achievement - it would not be my skill giving me the results but the added benefit the rules have given me through past poor performance. I would rather beat just one other boat by my own efforts than come 1st by what would effectively be a broad "personal handicap" system (though worse than "personal handicaps" because it in get full benefit or no benefit).

    Ian
     
  3. Mike M

    Mike M New Member

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    Re: The Masters Rig Swsapping Experiment

    "Big guys who used to occasionally win when regattas were 100% big breeze rarely win anymore"

    Would love to see the data, as I don’t think this is correct. I'm 190ibs, won the mid week madness this year in wind and can't recall a rig swapping sailor winning a windy race in the last two years.

    While in theory it is unfair that heavy sailors can't put up, say, a rooster 8.1 in less than 10 knots overall I think the system works well - every time it is windy you hear lighter/less experienced sailors putting up the smaller sails and as a result many more sailors able to go out sailing than would be the case if they could not swap rigs - I think this ability for people to take part is more important in masters sailing.
     
  4. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Re: The Masters Rig Swsapping Experiment

    I agree w/Mike on this one. I remember at the 2007 Masters NA's James Liebel, (current Masters Radial World Champ) tried rig swapping and the radial sail did not help him. More often than not he got stuck out in the ocean in light wind with his radial sail up.

    When I think of all the top guys in the Masters class like Mark Bear, Mike Matan, Ari Bashri, (sorry about SP) they are always up there and they all are in the 190+ range. Some guys like Ryan Minth are smaller, but they never switch rigs and their skill keeps them in the top 10 or better.

    I weigh right around 200. My light days I'm at 198 and can get to 205. At the 2008 MMWE we had a big range of conditions from light to heavy. I did pull my best scores in the heavy conditions, but I also did pretty well in the lighter conditions. Sure I did notice some lighter guys were rockets in the light conditions, but when it picked up over 15 I did not see them anywhere. I can't tell you if they had a radial rig or not.

    So, I think having hte ability to switch rigs can screw you just as easy as it can help you.
     
  5. halibut

    halibut New Member

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    Re: The Masters Rig Swsapping Experiment

    As a 160 lb Master sailor who sails in many of the bigger events, I don't see the rig swapping rule as a big advantage. In fact, I no longer switch rigs unless it is totally nuking (20-25kts) because its far too easy to get stuck in the radial rig when the wind drops below 15kts -- at that point you are toast. Happened to me in the 2007 Masters at Wrightsville on day 1, and was very painful. Also at the Caribbean Midwinters this year, where I switched rigs three times before the first race before finally going with the standard rig...

    Many times I've seen some of our older or less physically fit Masters use the radial rig on a windier day, where otherwise they would stay on shore; for that reason the rule should stay!

    regards, Mike S / 121384
     
  6. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    Re: The Masters Rig Swsapping Experiment

    Not a fan of the rig-swapping to begin with. Specifying who gets to switch and who doesn't just complicates things IMHO.

    I know windsurfers carry several rigs around with them an cherry-pick which one they want to use. I don't want the class to get to the point where I have to drive around with a 4.7, Radial, standard, and Rooster 8.1 rig to get the maximum advantage.

    I still advocate medium size adults picking the Radial only and sticking with it. Not that I always do that personally.
     
  7. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    Re: The Masters Rig Swsapping Experiment

    Well, I don't think the Masters' Committee thinks the rig-swapping rule is still in the experimental stage since they did incorporate it into the Masters' Regatta Guidelines. But three of them (Bill Symes - the chairman of the committee, Peter Seidenberg and David Hartman) will be in Wrightsville Beach this weekend so you can discuss status directly with them.

    The rig swapping rule turns out to be very popular and not necessarily amongst the presumed target audience of light to medium weight sailors. I've been to several events where "big" sailors will use the Radial because they lose little to no speed on windward-leeward courses while not having to hike quite so hard... leaving them at the end of the day as happy sailors drinking lots of beer as opposed to lying in bed chewing advil candies. For example, here in San Francisco, Chris Boome, no slouch in a Laser having sailed them for 35+ years (including finishing 3rd at the first Laser World Championship), even at 195 lbs, likes the Radial option on the big breeze days. When we sailed the Masters' US Champs in Richmond in 2006 it was a breeze on regatta, with the wind the first day in the low to mid 20's. A good number of Master sailors opted for the Radial and I was pretty impressed at how fast they were with the likes of Peter Seidenberg, David Hartman, etc., arriving at the weather mark right in the top group, even occasionally leading, then not really losing anything on the runs (where they really got hurt was the reaches). In that event even I was pretty sold on the value of the rig swapping rule.

    Still, there does remain the open question of whether we should try to incorporate a separate Radial only fleet at Masters events, while still allowing rig swapping in the Standard fleet. It might surprise TLF readers to learn that there are strong opinions... The main argument against a separate fleet is that you can sail any rig under the current rules and including a separate fleet will result in smaller fleets overal, thereby diluting the competition. So, for example, say you have a regatta with 20 boats, you could end up with two fleets of 10 boats and the racing might not be as good. On the other side are sailors who say that the rig swapping only gives them an advantage in very specific conditions when being light is an advantage (e.g. 5-8 knots with a chop where big people can't get going) but that on average they are disadvantaged. They would like a separate Radial only division where they can compete more equally. And, of course, some simply point to the Master Worlds where, like in everything else, the Radial fleets are growing much faster than the Standards.

    As was mentioned, three of the four Masters' Committee members will be in Wrightsville Beach this weekend. Those of you planning to attend (sounds like everyone on this thread) should be sure to talk to them about the rig swapping rule, they can give you the very solid reasons for the current Masters' rules in North America, equally they will be very interested in your feedback.

    I'll be there too. I'll be the one laying on the couch chewing the advil candies because I don't have a Radial... well, presuming the sea breeze kicks in!
     
  8. pez

    pez Member

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    Re: The Masters Rig Swsapping Experiment

    I think rig swapping detracts from the spirit of one design, and I'm quite surprised that it's even an option. The boat is supposed to be the skill of the sailor. Part of that skill is exercising good judgement, and making the best of luck when it happens.

    You should be able to pick a rig at the beginning of races for that day... further races in the same series should require whatever rig you started the series in...

    Best whiney voice, "wait up, I need to thwap out my bottom thection and put on a new thail... it's too windy"

    Maybe such a person would be fitter if they sailed the full rig more.
     
  9. Cindy Taylor

    Cindy Taylor Member

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    Ok, I have to give my input.....

    I do like to be able to switch rigs at Master events. I am short and don't weigh as much as most men. Now, when it is less than 5 I do have an advantage but I have seen big guys sailing in light winds up at the top too. Skip Canfield knows how to move the boat in light winds. David Hartman does too. Once the winds get over 10 I like to be in my Radial if racing. At master events I like racing with my friends with what ever rig. Sarasota tried to have a separate radial fleet at MME this year but there were only about 5 boats that signed up so we ended sailing in one fleet. The winds turned out to be very light for this event and I sailed in a full rig. If Master events forced everyone to use a full rig I would not attend the events.

    And don't say that I need to get in better shape because I do exercise so that I can hike when necessary.

    Light wind sailing does take practice, if you work at it you do get better. I know that I have.

    Cindy
     
  10. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    This was probably the reasoning originally behind the rig-swapping rule. Though I am a strong advocate of Radial-only fleets, I suspect most Master's sailors feel the same as Cindy.
     
  11. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    This has had me thinking all day. Well I've been thinking about Wrightsville Beach too as I'm trying to finish up some work in the office.

    Anyway, I'm going to start a new thread with a poll about splitting fleets at Masters events.
     
  12. beaker

    beaker hi

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    I have not read the entire thread here but I know when I was racing alot back in 1990 and 1991 I used to ask at skippers meetings about using my radial. I never had any objections. I also weighed 135 lbs dripping wet.

    When I got to college I used to wear a fleece outside my drysuit to help me stay warm.:cool: It was tough being a light weight.
     

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