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Championships - the future

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John Shelton View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Shelton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Championships - the future
    Posted: 19 June 2009 at 09:42

So, Abersoch is off, and we have to move on. We can dwell on why it didn't work, or we can move forward.

There's no doubt that there were a few things against it - expensive venue, full week, recession, distance - but we should at least thank Harry for setting it up, as I think it would have been a good one, if the numbers were right. But the class would have lost a lot of money with the purported numbers, and money is what we don't have.

I'd like to raise an issue which seems to be kicked around at AGMs, but nothing really seems to happen, and that is championships over a long weekend.

I sense the main resistance to this idea is a kind of loss of status for the class - somehow, breaking the tradition of a full week admits that we are a minority class.

Well, let's face it, we are a minority class, so let's get over it.

A championship over a long weekend has many positives:-

a) it gives us a MUCH wider selection of clubs, and we can include 'amateur' clubs who don't have full time staff to give up a week in the summer. I would include Shoreham in this - we would be happy to have a weekend champs, at a great venue - but you also open up possibilities like Lyme Regis, and I'm sure you could list many more

b) It makes it easier for sailors of other classes to attend. Several of us in the fleet also split time with big or sports boat sailing, or other dinghy classes, and finding ANOTHER week in the calendar in the summer is a challenge. The Hornet will probably get lowest priority

c) Similarly, it makes it easier to get the odd rock star to come, and although they probably end up winning, it forces us mere mortals to pull our socks up a bit. And it doesn't do any harm to be able to say someone like Mike Hart or Mike Macnamara is our champion

d) and one big consideration is expense. I think we are all sailing our Hornets on a budget - this is one of the attractions of the class, but also one of our potential weaknesses. It would certainly make it easier to find cheaper venues, and keep costs down.

Anyway, that's what I think about short championships, and I'm sure we voted in favour of that at the last AGM, but not much happened.

Another issue is also important I think. I've been away from the class for a while, and when we came back, I was surprised to see so many races making up a championship, and short ones at that. Now that might be the way it's gone over the years, but I really would like to see fewer and longer championship races. The beats can be more tactical, and if you stuff it in at the gybe mark, it's not the end of your race - there's a chance to catch up and get a decent result.

I think we were restricted for water at Stone last year, so it's understandable, but I'm sure some of the races were less than 45 minutes. My pulse has only just got above normal by then. OK, there were issues in trying to get through all the unsailed races in the time available, but to be honest, it wouldn't have done any harm dropping a couple to make them longer.

A shorter championship by definition reduces the number of races, so why not make them good long ones?

Finally, we shouldn't be afraid to share with other classes. Again, maybe it's a perceived status thing, but we have to cut our cloth accordingly. Clubs are much happier handling two small classes than one small class, as it makes the economics more sensible, and I'm sure we can form a good relationship with another class that could be a feeder for new blood in Hornets (Graduates?)

Anyway, a few ramblings, and I'll duck for cover now

Cheers

John

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huey lewi View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote huey lewi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 June 2009 at 16:53

big classes like the 49ers, 29ers, musto skiffs etc all have long weekend nationals. im all for long weekend nationals.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote huey lewi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 June 2009 at 16:55
also recently National 12's have been struggling to get more than 30 boats for a weeks nationals, this year they changed to a long weekend event at Thorpe Bay and got 82 entries!
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Paul Jacobs View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Jacobs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 June 2009 at 17:32
I would also be in favour of a long weekend champs. When I had an SB3
which is a newish, popular class, the format is long weekends and normally
gets big numbers.

Valuable holiday time is zapped up in a week long event and personally I
would find it easier to justify a long weekend.
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Brett View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Brett Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 June 2009 at 15:31

I would be in favour of a long wekend champs be it 3 or 4 days.

I disagree with John on long races, I would prefer more and shorter races.

For me the best days at the champs have been when we have got 3 or more races in on one day.

Races are really about the start and the first 2 beats, after that it gets quite strung out.

Also there is quite a spread of boat speed across the fleet, so the longer the race, the more hanging about for the front runners and I know from experience it's no fun being last with the whole fleet waiting for you and no rest between races.

Brett 

 

 

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CLINT View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CLINT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 June 2009 at 17:27

We have had weekend champs in the past. They were run as a National Champs over a Bank Holiday weekend when the Euros were in Holland. From memory they were well attended and good fun. There was one race Sat pm, 2 Sun and 2 Mon I think. (Ah John, the good old days of a few long races! GBR2081 is in agreement about long races but this is normally due a crap start and needing as much time a possible to catch up!). I think we did vote about the length of Champs at the last AGM but was it was just a general show of hands to get an idea? John does make some very valid points about the pros of a weekend champs and I must admit I did vote for this mainly because I cannot commit to a week every year.

As for week long champs I have noticed that generally, the best attended in recent years have been when the host club has an affiliation with Hornets (Thorpe Bay, Sandwich, Stone). Whether this is due to wanting to support the Hornet sailors at the club or knowing the venue, I don't know. I will admit that I have been to a few week long champs where at the end I have wondered if I was really worth it (can only cross the start line on one tack, spinnys up the 1st beat, no beats!) . Generally this has been down to poor race management and maybe people don't like to risk the time and money if they don't know a venue and how they run races. The problem is you can't keep asking Hornet clubs to put on week long champs in rotation every few years. Perhaps a long champs every 3 years might work?

Not sure if I've helped at all but though it important as many people comment as possible. Hope we manage a short champs later in the year and we would make every effort to be there.

Clint

 

 

 

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Jono View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jono Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 June 2009 at 17:57
In terms of Clints comments on venue, i agree that those have worked really well, i think that part of that is because of what the venue offers e.g. great close social scene and free camping!! which reallys cuts the cost down and keeps everyone together. Thats the sort of thing i think of when someone mentions the hornet fleet anyway
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stevec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 June 2009 at 09:34

As has been implied earlier in the thread, although it would have been a fantastic venue for the actual sailing, the expense was going to be prohibitive to a class which seems to pride itself on being the inexpensive alternative to other symmetric boats eg Fireballs and Ospreys. Their development routes have taken them into serious money for a new boat, but the enthusiasm has been regenerated in their classes and they have had upturns in their attendances, possibly by attracting a new type of owner. If we are portraying ourselves as a cheap class, we have to align our venue expectations accordingly, and accept that we are not going to have week-long Nationals at prestigious places like Abersoch, Weymouth or Hayling. I am fortunately able to say I'll go to the Nationals wherever they are, (assuming I can get a crew!), but some in the class have chosen it because the boat is cheap to buy and run, and couldn't/wouldn't afford to go to an expensive venue, which is what has happened. Perhaps we have to approach the matter from a different angle; set a target cost overall/per boat for the event and then see which Clubs would be able to run it at that price? I don't know if that is a viable option but I'm trying to "think outside the box"! Perhaps also we need to look at the reasons why people are not attracted to our class; Mike the Lark tried to start a discussion on this a year or two back, talking about marketing etc., but do we even think what is our possible target sector? Fireballs have worked really hard in recent years to attract the young disaffected RYA Youth scheme dropouts from the 420s and 470s, the OK class, another small and up till recently dying class, have revitalised their youth champs by getting class members to loan boats for a weekend and give up their own sailing for  day or two, to attract the potential youth Laser sailors and so on. I know myself from my involvement in my hockey club that it sometimes seems a lot of trouble for so little gain but on the basis that we have one player converted from 12 starters isn't this some reward? This needs a high degree of effort from some and the willingness from all to try it, but is it not worth trying in some way? If we traded on the goodwill of Devon Composites for instance and had a trial boat at each open event with a prior effort to have a local non-hornet team to fill it, and forget the bit about being a member of the association (isn't that archaic in our struggling times?) it might convince a few that the boat is not a dinosaur. Ask the FD fleet how they have kept their class going and even investing in newer boats. As far as Nationals format is concerned, I think we have to consider clubs that can't necessarily run Olympic triangles but can put on a well-run event and would be venues with accommodation within walking distance including camping which seems to be popular now! Duration of four days seems to be the concensus format for most classes these days for good reasons of holiday time and cost to both participants and host members. Just as an example of once srtong classes that have suffered like us and are adjusting their expectations, the Graduates, another National class, had their Nationals at Chipstead, a small gravel pit reservoir, relatively long and narrow but still only a few acres overall, with trees all round and sheltered in all directions: they had 31 boats as the host club was 18-strong! What about Starcross for us?

Like John I'll now stop ranting and duck!

more power, more prizes!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stevec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 June 2009 at 09:41
Just as an alternative un-nationals, Stone Week is being held in the same week as the aborted Nationals, so for those of you who had booked time off with the intention of sailing for a whole week with or without the family in attendance, you still can at Stone SC; 70 gets you a race and a meal a day and entertainment in the evenings - free camping as well if you can find a space! If we have 6+ boats we get a class start, and there are 6 club boats so there's a good chance, so come and sulk away the lack of a Nationals with us. How about it Mudmen?
more power, more prizes!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote iain marshall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 June 2009 at 21:46

I sail Snipes as well as having a hornet and we have had long weekend nationals for as long as I can remember and they have always been a success.  Our other money saving tip is that we always try to utilise venues that are able to offer camping facilities.  Having gone to Abersoch last year, I found it to be a very expensive long weekend !!

We have combined our nationals with torbay week this year which as i understand has resulted in substantially reduced cost entries due to the event being subsidised.

Iain

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