Crew Weight Limits

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Postby Guest » Sun Feb 09, 2003 6:47 pm

My last two trips home I first sailed in 12 - 15 knots with 3 people and about 570 lbs, then the next time crewed on Javelin in 20-22 knots (and gusts to 30) with about 920 lbs on board.

In the light condition, I was able to occassionally & briefly hook a plane. The other fully crewed boats could not. A lighter boat planes at lower wind velocities.

In the heavier conditions, we were debatably faster upwind (more on debatably later) However downwind was a different story. Side by side with a boat near class limits and both boats planing, every time a gust hit, the lighter boat jumped forward. The acceleration difference was tremendous! All told, the lighter boat was faster around the course. This is because we can plane.

Upwind, when near each other I could see a noticible difference between us and a boat with about 800 lbs, but not between us and the 745 lb boat. A good skipper can do a lot to optimize the boat for the given wind.

In the heavier air the importance of talent is significant. The effect of bad rig tuning, bad tacks, bad steering, etc. is magnified. Also, tactical mistakes become disasterous if one boat can achieve a 2 - 3 knot speed advantage. Given equal skill levels, the benefit of extra weight upwind is overshadowed by the downwind benefit of being lighter.

At this point I advocate a 1250 lb or higher weight limit. Anybody that wants to load up to the ceiling will finish behind me, and I can use a few more of those. <g>

Of more significance is the thread in another section that said TPI cancelled the fall run. The class won't grow or exist for long if J80s aren't being sold and owners aren't participating. Our rules need to entice people to compete as well as keeping the boats equal.


Postby Guest » Sun Feb 09, 2003 8:30 pm

Two points:

1) The previous post supports my position that three is a viable option for heavier skippers.

2) My guess is that the overwhelming reason for lackluster J80 sales is the economy.

Postby Guest » Sun Feb 09, 2003 10:43 pm

I support the current Class weight rule. I purchased the boat knowing what the rule was and it influenced my decision. When we were looking at buying a new boat my first choice was a J-22. We did not fit the weight profile for that boat. We would need a 275 lb crew to be at the weight limit. So that was not a good option. Four people on a J-22 was not what we wanted either. I also do not want 5 on the J-80. This would effect our costs by extra dinner tickets, another room while traveling, and so on. These are facts to me. Also I do not believe we have an owner driver rule and neither does the J-105 Class. We will all want to fit the rules to our best advantage. That is human nature.

Craig W.

Postby Guest » Sun Feb 09, 2003 11:51 pm

I would love to sail a crew of 5 people just to get the kite out of the cockpit would be a wonderful thing

Postby Guest » Mon Feb 10, 2003 1:02 am

How about not weighing the Owners and limit the crew weight on the rail. That will help equalize the difference between a over 200lbs owner and a 160lbs owner and say something like unlimited bodys and max weight of 600-560lbs I thnk that would help the class, also in reading the J 105 Class Web site and in there discussions regaurding the samething was "Middle aged owner's that are not as small as they were this offset set that advantage.

Here is the rule
7.1 The maximum crew weight (in swimming apparel) for one-design racing is 475 kilograms (1045 lbs.) with no limit on numbers of crew. An Owner who is the sole Driver for a regatta may elect a weight of 100 kg (220 lbs.) for that regatta, in which case he or she shall not be subject to weigh-in or other weight check. If the sailing instructions require a weigh-in prior to the start of a regatta, a boat complying with the weight restrictions at weigh-in shall not otherwise be subject to a weigh-in during or after the regatta, except for weighing substitute crew.

Postby Guest » Mon Feb 10, 2003 1:28 pm

The previous post seemed to provide a nice compromise.

That being, owners could be allowed a maximum RECORDED weight, even if their actual weight is higher, say of 220lbs.

It works out to be a partial weight exemption for a heavy owner and no one else on board.

Not that anyone cares, but the boat I crew on looked at the weight issue as reason to drop some pounds. Our goal has been to be competitive which takes work and sacrifice. This includes weight. The lighter the owner and first mate, the easier time you have of getting last minute crew.

I realize that our goals aren't everyones which is why I think the above compromise may help.

Just a crew's .02

(string puller on USA334)

Postby Guest » Mon Feb 10, 2003 8:47 pm

I agree, some kind of compromise is in order because you can't sail all regattas with a 3 man crew. Key West requires 4. I would guess the reason is safety related which I agree with. This is also one of reasons the J105 class increased it's limit.

Greg Locke

Postby Guest » Mon Feb 10, 2003 8:58 pm

P.S. We do have some restrictions regarding the Owner/Driver.. I think the earlier post suggesting a Owner/Driver weight cap could still be applied.

C.2.1 Definitions
(a) Primary Helmsperson - a person who is a current class member in good standing, who steers
the yacht exclusively during an event during the period from 5 minutes prior to each start,
throughout each race, until the yacht finishes, excepting for momentary absence due to
personal or shipboard needs.
(b) Owner - a person who owns either the entire yacht or is one of two equal partners in terms of
financial investment in the purchase of the complete yacht and the cost of its accessories,
such as trailer, sails and operations.
C.2.2 All J/80 one-design events shall be designated as either “Memberâ€

Postby Guest » Tue Feb 11, 2003 10:16 am

Most all J105's have a steering wheel and the driver typically stands behind it. His/her weight is not a big factor on the rail. There is a difference between that and a 300+lb driver in a J80 who sits forward of the traveler with his butt on the rail. This is not a hypothetical. Real or not, there are plenty of people who would feel they are at a disadvantage against such a boat carrying 820+lbs - all on the windward side.

I can tell you for a fact that participation would drop.

Postby Guest » Tue Feb 11, 2003 5:32 pm

That's not what I'm trying to say Bob. My point is that there is and are ways to come up with a compromise about this issue. What I've seen so far most if not all of the top J80 owners seem to be protecting this weight rule, with a attiude it works for me, didn't you looked at the rules before you bought the boat, sail with 3 crew,
It seems to me that there is currently more in support of a increase in the weight rule, than there is against it.
As far as a Owner weight exclusion
it may be more of a fair compromise with a Owner/driver exculsion of 186.25 lbs. that would equalize the playing field. leave the existing weight limit the same. or at least try it and see what happens. If they relaxed the weight rule in years past and the class grew doesn't that tell you something. if the weight rules was 800lbs in the last circut did it change or favor anyone piticularly, did it promote the class.

Postby Guest » Wed Feb 12, 2003 12:44 am

First, if more weight = faster boat and faster boat = more fun, shouldn’t we all be advocating raising the weight limit?

Unfortunately more weight does not equal more speed. In extremis, a boat would be faster and faster until it finally sunk because there was not enough buoyancy. We all know that’s not how it works. The origin of the weight limit was aimed at boats that carry large headsails. A boat with more crew weight can carry the larger sail at higher wind conditions. In general more sail area is more power, more power is more speed. Also, standing straighter reduces leeway. Extra weight gave a distinct advantage to a crew that could carry a larger sail. With fixed sail size, only the second aspect is relevant. Perfectly straight up isn’t fast either, you need some heel. If both boats are within their effective sailing angles, the lighter boat is faster. [maximum speed is a function of the drag forces, drag is a function of weight].

So here we go, --assuming the crews adjust sails to get maximum benefit, but every other aspect is exactly the same except weight—

With increasing windspeed, a lighter boat will be faster up until the lighter boat cannot remain in the effective range of its keel. At that point the lighter boat will decrease power (and speed) to stand up, or suffer excessive leeway. This favors the heavy boat. However, the upwind advantage is very small due to being in a displacement mode.

The heavier boat will be favored until such the boat where the lighter boat can plane. At that time advantage goes back to the lighter boat.

As the wind speed continues to increase the heavier boat will also plane. But will be slower. At this maximum condition, it’s a toss-up on which boat is faster overall. But the larger the weight discrepancy, the faster the light boat will be relative to the other boat.

If you think about it, you want to always be lighter until both boats are overpowered up wind. At that time you want to be just a little bit heavier.

If we eliminate crew weight as a rule completely: A heavier boat will be slower in 80% of the conditions we sail race in. (all other things being equal). Without a weight limit you will need to tune your crew weight, just like tuning your rig. If you are on the road, you can’t be swapping crew members on the day of the regatta, So you have to pick ahead of time. If the wind is blowing, you don’t want to load up either, you just want to be a little bit heavier than the other guy. If you want to develop and stick with one team, 745 is not a bad weight to be.

This year I will be trying to get a better handle on tuning. The intent will be learn how to push the upwind performance as high as possible for a lighter crew. The weigh limit is only a factor because it may prevent me from having someone on the boat that I desire to be there (like my wife).

As far as I’m concerned people are welcome to field heavier crews. The performance advantage isn’t there. On the flip side, we know the weight limit has prevented boats from attending. If changing the limit gets more boats on the water we should do it. (Oh, I would give up any advantage in a heartbeat if it meant I could pick my crew based on friendship and skill, instead of weight!)


Postby Guest » Wed Feb 12, 2003 10:23 am

Steve Strout recent post is right on and something I have been trying to state all along.

In general, light weight crews are advantaged in nearly all conditions except in the very strong winds. This fact is obvious since it takes more energy to move more weight around. This us why Hummers get 5 mpg and Metros get 40.

And yes, one can sail the J/80 with three crew. The big issue is the when sailing with four, one gets two extra hands that can be crucial in certain situations on the race course. If this wasn't so, everyone would sail with three!
Terry Burke

Postby Guest » Wed Feb 12, 2003 10:28 am

As long as there is a weight maximum, there will always be a crew that is crash dieting to make it, or that couldn't come out and play because of it, or that was humiliated by the weigh in (the higher the limit the more the humiliation).

I looked at all the postings in this thread and came up with 9 advocates, 8 opponents, and 4 undeterminable participants.

First it was heavier is no advantage. Now heavier is actually slower. Look for me next season - I'll be the guy sailing solo.

If this ever comes to a vote - count me no.


Postby Guest » Wed Feb 12, 2003 9:44 pm

We could discuss the model I proposed,
- fix it or refine it,
- come up with consensus on where the transition points are, and what the scale of the differences is,
- discuss the benefits and consequences of different rule configurations,

THEN decide what is the best implementation of a weight rule.

Once there,
_If it is different than the current rule_, we can propose a new rule to the class executive committee. My understanding is that they are building a formal process to pursue rule changes.

A proposed change with a discussion of why the proposers believe it will benefit the class would seem a reasonable starting point

Or I guess we could just vote now.

Postby Guest » Wed Feb 12, 2003 9:47 pm

At Key West, I notice Jay Lutz was pretty fit and trim. All you guys complaining about weight should call Jay and ask him what he is doing to improve his physique. Once you learn his secret, this thread may be closed.

Michael Lague
USA 31


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