Crew Weight Limits

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Postby Guest » Sat Nov 16, 2002 3:27 am

What are some of the designers thinking about when they recommend crew weight limits. And when they design the boat and or write class rules, are they thinking about average weight of 186.25 lbs per person or less? Most designers are thinking marketing and there part of the share. If you look at most classes they designe to a average of 180-188. Is this why these rules are written this way? Are they tested and proven correct or a close guess. Looking at other classes that have proposed or made changes to rules generally have a better idea than the orginal thought. The general plan for the boat was a Family one design racer. Well lets look at that concept and lets see what's really going on out there. Most of the kids and wives are at the dock, the rock stars are on the boats, and amatures are left with what's left over.

And people are sitting on the dock saying damm we where only 20-25 over the limit, is this right. Coming up with a number that is not whole is just taking an average not what the real deal is.

Just a thought towards a light weighted topic

Postby Guest » Sat Nov 16, 2002 3:33 am

Hey all one last thought. Is there a way we can Poll all the owners every where and see what the average is and maybe we can get a better idea of what we all weigh as a class...

Postby Guest » Sat Nov 16, 2002 1:38 pm

Dave, what is your email ID?? does not work..


Postby Guest » Sat Nov 16, 2002 2:01 pm

You are all correct. Its about attendance. Fleet 1 sails twelve Thursday nights and a lot of mixed OD/phrf events every year. Thursday nights are typically three races so we do 30-36 races a year in our spring and summer series. We are not on San Francisco Bay, we are on a large lake in New England. Typical attendance is 10 boats/night and growing.

Many of our boats are FAMILY boats. Husbands and wives, kids, friends, neighbors. The sailing is competitive and very friendly. We are all aware of the class weight limits and try to comply even as crews are changing constantly. We have some heavy owner/drivers. They have recruited compensating crew members. Nobody seems to be complaining.

Raising or eliminating the weight restrictions would make those family boats uncompetitive with more "serious" racers who would trade-up their crews to gain advantage, real or perceived. We would then see just what you are describing: Wives and kids left on the dock.

A successful class is more than attendance at Key West and NOOD Regattas. They all have the same formula - the "tent" with lots of booze, every night. Maybe that's not what families want to do together. I believe that its time to stop making decisions based on the numbers at these visible events and to consider building local fleets that are the backbone of a class.

I don't think that we should be so typically American and dismiss the European portion of the class. As an international class we all sail by the same rules. They are a few years behind us but have a supportive builder and enthusiastic owners.

Postby Guest » Mon Nov 18, 2002 9:59 am

I am absoultely suprises how many responses there are about crew weight. Do I miss somethings? I do sail in a mixed fleet, but never did I think I lost or won a race because of crew weight only. My boys sails skiffs and happen to be the lightest crew (no limit)and they do quite well in mainly heavy air.
Gentlement with all respect I do think you over state the importance of crew weight, may be at world championship level, but I daubt very much that more than 20 boats out of the six hunders really have the crew weight as their ONLY limiting performance factor. There are plenty of other things and please do not forget you can tune you rig and cut you sails to match you overall crew weight.
I believe there are many other factors which affects the grow potential and only to zero in on crew weight is a very limited view of the overall issues.
Well that how it looks from down under. Next to the average races I just did a fist and fastest in heavy wind and crew SKILL not crew WEIGHT was the important factor.



Postby Guest » Mon Nov 18, 2002 1:24 pm

You may miss the point. The "average" crew weight allowed for the 80 is the lowest among popular one-design boats, using 4 crew. This can make sailing with long time friends/crew impossible and leave skippers searching the dock for skinny replacements.
USA 56

Postby Guest » Mon Nov 18, 2002 2:37 pm

I think this type of debate is a sign of a healthy class. The fact that so many people have made postings is an indication of how controversial and relevant the topic is. I think we would all agree that the goal of the rules should be to encourage participation without giving anyone an ufair advantage. We do need to make an effort to look past what seems best for each of us and try to focus on what is best for the class as a whole, and that includes areas outside the US!
One method of regulating crew weight to prevent unfair advantage while also accomodating heavy drivers would be to set a maximum weight EXCLUDING THE DRIVER of 254 kg (560 lbs, 75% of current limit). This compromise may please most of the people most of the time. Thoughts?
Perhaps we could also begin collecting data on each boat's typical driver and crew weights.
I'll start: Driver 170 lbs, Crew (3) 560 lbs. Under this proposed rule change I would lose the ability to carry heavier crew weight on the rail to make up for my lighter weight.

Postby Guest » Mon Nov 18, 2002 8:42 pm

You may be on to something..

My boat, Driver 225#, Crew(unknown)


Postby Guest » Mon Nov 18, 2002 9:57 pm


Driver: 215lbs
Crew (3): 415
Crew (4): 520

(IMHO, the extra pair of hands helps more than the rail weight)

Postby Guest » Mon Nov 18, 2002 10:15 pm

I feel that I need to join into this discussion. In response to wives/family members being left on the dock. I am the wife/owner & I am left on the docks. I'm 6 ft. tall (not all women are 5'6" and 130 lbs.) and at this time, between Steve and myself, we are over half of the weight limit. In order to make the limit, we need to find 2 people that weigh no more than 170 lbs. each. Not an easy task. Upping the limit isn't going to prevent "rock stars" from being on the boats, they're already there. What it might do is allow people (for which the boat was designed for) to participate in the class regattas.

Sheryl Strout
#290 Ghost Dancing

Postby Guest » Tue Nov 19, 2002 1:26 am

I know its a cliche, but "Size does matter". If every pound on the rail doesn't matter, then why are the top boats always right at maximum weight with cheeks to the teak? Sure, skill matters more, but the idea of one-design is to measure that skill, not crew weight or other potential variables. You have to set the mark someplace and 745 is pretty reasonable.

If the weight were raised, then what happens to the compliant crews that are now lighter? If we made the Strout's weight a benchmark such that their combined weight (745-170-170=405) were half of the limit, or 810lbs. Then I would need to find three 205# people to match them, and I weigh in at 190. If I don't throw my 155# son off the boat, I need two that total 465#!

If the Europeans do indeed average 165, then they would have to pay travel and lodging for five to come to the worlds. Where does it end?

Someone asked where the 186 came from. I have a guess: The J24 crew weight is 880lbs - 176lbs per person with the standard five. Maybe Rod Johnstone thought that the aging J24 folks would move to an 80 and spotted them each 10 pounds for the middle age roll.

Postby Guest » Tue Nov 19, 2002 10:55 am

I have seen Warrior win regattas at less than 700. I think they are more often closer to 700 than 745. I could be wrong, I don't worry about other crew weights.

I don't think picking another number will solve anything. It will shift the "weight issue" to a new group of people, as Bob's example shows. I would like to just say "get three friends, and come out racing!" I realize it will probably never happen.

The 1999 brochure I got from Jboats when I started looking at buying a boat said class weight was 715 lbs. The Johnstone I bought the boat from said it was intended to be raced with three. Later, a different Johnstone told me that 745 was halfway between a typical European and a typical American. I have heard other theories. A boat designer would have to assume a crew weight or total weight to size the rig. Its an educated guess. A lot of classes of changed the crew weight over time. I know the 24s have.

I make weight, its how the game is played. I still think it's hurting class growth, but... Maybe the new officers can pursue the question

ps, for those of you who don't know us, I work in Denver, live in Ft Worth, and commute every other week. Sheryl and I are not intentionally double teaming.

Postby Guest » Tue Nov 19, 2002 12:10 pm

I like where Steve is going with this one.

Here's a wild idea:

Let's skip the weigh in function before the regatta. "get three freinds and come out racing". If after or during the regatta you would like to protest someone's weight, you can do so...., if not, so be it.

What happens in the back of the pack is a race is lost for obvious mistakes: going the wrong way/side, blowing a manuver, lousy start, etc. Most of the mid fleet guys could care less about weight and they are just trying to get around the course. If a heavy boat does break into the top 5, well, they are at risk of losing a protest. At the same time it would be an experiment to see if weight does matter.

During the early stages of a class we should experiment a great deal. Try new things, go where no man has gone before......


Postby Guest » Tue Nov 19, 2002 10:54 pm

As a back-of-the-pack guy that struggles to get enough crew to man the boat, let alone get anywhere near 700 lbs (despite my own 200+ displacement), I am delighted to read all these posts. Finally, a good excuse for our poor results!!!

Postby Guest » Wed Nov 20, 2002 12:34 am

I think there is another issue being overlooked and that is the whole weighing in process is or can be seen as humiluting and degrading to some people.

I have left some earlier posts on this topic and but judging from the response to this thread, this is a serious topic needed to be addressed by the J/80 class. I doubt if the issue will go away. I personally do not like the concept of the weighing-in the crew. As I have stated, large crew size is a double edge sword. Lighter crew are clearly faster in light medium winds. Lighter crews get up on a plane in lower velocity winds and thus can go faster and lower heavy crews.

The J/80 class should make it easier to attract participation. Having to worry about making weight will drive people away. I might decide just to stay here on Carlyle lake and PHRF race and not worry about making weight. For me to make any of the main class regattas, I have to travel 800 miles to Texas or 900-1200 miles to the east coast. The local marina here charges $125 to hoist the boat out and another $125 to put it back in. With this any all the other expenses involved, to show-up at an event and find out we are 15# over or have to crash diet to make a weight is more than I want to deal with.


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