Crew Weight Limits

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Postby Guest » Tue Nov 12, 2002 1:42 pm

This is a very volatile topic and was debated amongst the southern circuit sailors last season. The southern circuit relaxed this rule for a few years to promote growth. We have a bunch of big barbecue eaters and beer drinkers down here. Our J24 compradres called us the "fat boy" class!.

I, as a 225 pound plus owner, did not have an opinion about the weight limit as I decided to take a "wait and see" approach as to how the 745 pound limit would work this year. It did make it more difficult to put together the various members of the "Team Boomerang" crew pool to make weight. What really helped was that each one of us contributed a few pounds (I personally lost 20 plus pounds to the delight of my Dr.) and we made weight and raced with four males. The southern circuit experienced record growth with over 30 different boats competing at one or more of the six stops. One boat did not return this year with weight limit as part of the reason.

At the same time several other J80's race with wives and girlfriends. In some cases this is to offset the weight of the big guys while others "its the way it is!". Some of these crews weigh in below 700 pounds. A few boats even raced with five. It is also my understanding that the European crew weights tend to be on the lighter side and heard a rumour that they were interested in lowering the class weight limit!

745 appears to be the right compromise. Some teams that weigh in below 700 are not that far away from the upper weight limit that they would have a dis-advantage in certain conditions while if the weight limit is raised to 800 pounds then the disparity could become over a hundred pounds from the lighter crew to the heavy. This can make a difference upwind and could make the lighter crews feel dis-advantaged. I'm sure the counter argument could be made for lightness and downwind sailing.

What I do have a strong opinion on is supporting the class rules and the weight limit so that this class continues to grow with the reputation as a great OD class that promotes fair sailing.

Rule changes can be perceived to be fair to some competitors and unfair to others. People that feel the game becomes unfair sell and get out. We should be very careful about any rule changes. Whenever a perception arises that a rule can make the racing unfair/uneven the class suffers. By raising the wieght limit we essentially widen the weight differences between crews-not good! Check out the classes that have tweaked the rules a few time too many-They die off!

The owners that bought the boat to compete OD bought it knowing the 745 rule and to change it after 500 boats have been purchased is a very risky proposition. I also do not want to get in a situation where I would race with five people. I think a total team of four is ideal on the boat and ideal to travel with. Its one of the reasons I sold the Hobie 33-got tired of the logistics of a 6 or 7 person team. BTW-several years ago at a Hobie 33 OD event one boat had 1800 pounds on the rail and flew their #1 while the rest of the fleet used #3's. They pulled out huge leads on every windward beat. Shortly after this the class put in place a 1145 pound limit. This was viewed as fair by all and improved the class.

I'm also against the skipper exemption rule as employed by the J105's. This boat has a much more "dinghy" like feel and is weight sensitive then a 105 and even though weight aft is a dis-advantage, weight upwind could be an advantage and once again a sense of unfair advantage could develop which is detrimental to class development and growth. Lets leave the wieght limit alone and keep this class growing.

Scott Spurlin
USA 334
"Boomerang"
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Postby Guest » Tue Nov 12, 2002 1:45 pm

I'm not much to mess with a set of rules that seem to be working. By the same token increasing the max allowed wt. by 30 lbs would not give any boat a distinct performance advantage, (<1% of total wt.) but it would alleviate a lot of the 4 day crash diets and frustrations invloved in crewing up for a regatta. How many skippers out there left someone behind because they would be over wt. by less than 30 lb's. If we increased the total by 30lbs I could sell my stock in STACKER 2 and get some sailing lesson's.

Just a thought

Robert Miller
JESTER
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Postby Guest » Tue Nov 12, 2002 4:50 pm

The 745 weight limit seems just about right. I prefer to have one very light, agile person on the boat. That person can go down to lee or up on the bow without affecting trim. Approaching a tight windward rounding that person can come off the rail a little early and setup. An average 185# crewperson on the lee side cancels another crewmember on the rail. A 130# person has much less impact.

Regarding allowing the driver to declare a standard weight, I think that most J105's have a wheel and the skipper has to stay close. In a breeze, with my long tiller extension, I frequently put my 185# forward of the traveler with my butt near the rail. I wouldn't want to spot a 300# skipper a hundred pounds in that position.
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Postby Guest » Tue Nov 12, 2002 5:57 pm

Bob,

I couldn't have said it better myself. The Europeans already think the crew weight limit is too high and would certainly be opposed to any increase. My advice to heavy crews: find a woman or junior sailor who can join your team. One crew member at 130 lbs allows an average of 205 lbs for the remaining three.
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Postby Guest » Tue Nov 12, 2002 9:03 pm

I respectfully disagree with the other posts. First off, the J/80 has a Skipper/Owner rule. This is the one position on the boat that is fixed. Under the current rules, the hyperthetical 300# skipper mentioned in another post has only 445# remaining for his other 3 crew members for an average of only 148# each.

Explain to me how this is equal to a 155# skipper who can put 590# on the rail, each weighing over 196#? Nothing against 145# crew members, I know few who will be as strong as 196# crew.

I fail to understand how one could believe that if this same 300# skipper was able to declare himself as 220# and now able to have an additional 80# on the rail for a total 525# (three 175#)on the rail, that his boat would be advantaged. I don't care how far he can get himself forward, he still has to operate the traveler and the backstay. In addition his weight we be aft on a boat that is very stern sensitive can not be an advantage.

Furthermore, it does not take much in the way of calculations to show that the even though the 300# skipper has 80 more pounds of crew weight, the skipper weighing 155# is able to put more than 65# outboard on the rail where it really counts!!!!

And one last point, this same 300# skipper with the 80# extra crew weight if allowed as suggested would be disadvantaged heavily in medium/light conditions that is sailed maybe 70% or more of the time.

Please don't get me wrong, I am not advocating a change in 745# class weight limit, just wanting a break for fat skippers. The whole point is to get as many participants as possible to an event.
Terry Burke Hull#405
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Postby Guest » Tue Nov 12, 2002 9:27 pm

Hi All,
It was nice to see this conversation re-ignited.
Not that I see the outcome changing anytime soon.

From what I gather, If your a light weight owner, it's easy to meet the limit. Hence, no complaints. If your over 200#, it's not. So, light weight owners have an advantage over heavy weight owners before the sails are raised.

And yet, no one has mentioned the 3 crew/unlimited weight option. On the flip side, if you get beat by a 3 man boat in light airs, would you vote to set a minimum weight?

What does the forth crew member do anyway, Tactics?? A 130# weakling is not much use to me in a blow if I get pushed to windward at a crowded leward rounding. I know they aren't capable of releasing a spin halyard with any presure and the sheet might pull them off the deck.

I'd like to see the weigh-in records. Just how disparate are the crew weights today?
Has any boat crew weighed in under 700lbs at a regional or national event?? Are we really looking at putting any one boat at a measurable disadvantage?

Cheers to those captains that have assembled a capable light weight crew. They are worth there weight (or lack of it) in gold..
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Postby Guest » Wed Nov 13, 2002 1:27 am

Well, I guess its about diversity. I didn't mention that I had a 205# in the crew, who muscles the outhaul and incompletely hoisted spin halyard. Like the man said... "What does the fourth guy do anyway?" There are things that are made for a lightweight (hardly a weakling), and things done better by a big guy, but on balance, mixing it up gives you more options than trying to starve four big guys into a regatta. We usually weigh in at 715-720.

I don't have any experience with the history or equity of the 105 skipper weight ceiling rule, but I would guess that there are a lot of big guys that own 105's.

There is no way to introduce exceptions like that without abandoning the fundamentals of one-design racing. Bottom line is after the races people sit around and talk about the differences in weight just like they argue about phrf ratings.
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Postby Guest » Wed Nov 13, 2002 3:29 am

In June 2001 Sailing world had an article about crew weight. It had a table showing velocity predictions for a 7 lb per person increase for an IMS 50 and an ID35. I think that the crew weights can be scaled to the J80 and an equivalent ~30 lb increase for our crew weight. At least for some general points to ponder. The heavier weight gave about a 3 second advantage at 14 knots of wind, but had a 3 second disadvantage at 8 knots. ie the "optimum" wind speed is somewhere about 11-12 knots. (above that, keeping the boat flat becomes part of sail & crew control.) That break point seems about right to me for our boats. I would guess that this is a design parameter. The boat designer doesn't want to high a break point, or the boat will always be sluggish, nor would he want to low of a breakpoint or the boat becomes difficult to control.

The points I took home from this table were:
- Weight doesn't really matter very much. In similar conditions a 30 lb heavier crew would see a 2 second advantage in heavier air in our typical 5-6 mile races. I have no trouble giving up 2 seconds in a single bad tack, and there are so many variables of sail control, crew position, steering skill, that it really doesn't matter.
- much of the times we sail, weight may actually be a disadvantage.

I believe Warrior often weighed in closer to 700 than to 745. I have seen them flatter faster and heigher than me with 690 lbs versus my 740.

I agree, weight becomes an issue when finding crew. No matter where we set it, some people will be unhappy. If raising or lowering the weight will get more boats sold, more owners in the class, and more boats on the line, then lets do it! But I want more information first. Are people turning to melges or J24s or PHRF or whatever because of the weight? Do most boats have trouble making weight and need to diet or swap crews? We need our class officials to pursue that sort of information.

I hear the Europeans are light and opposed to an increase argument all the time. I don't know if its really true. I don't know if we have a boat for boat or a class association for class association say in changes. I don't know if the ISAF rules require a weight limit, or if we could do a simple 4 people only rule. I'm not opposed to that or to doing something similar to that Extreme Race thing where its 4 people with at least one of either gender. Provided we believe that it will get more boats on the line.

Steve
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Postby Guest » Wed Nov 13, 2002 5:06 am

Wow, I've read some great arguments about this topic and so fast. I would like to say that I missed the NA's becuase we couldn't make weight with the crew that was being assembled this year.
The point of little(r) owners bigger crews vs. big owners lighter crews is a direct advantage to them becuase of more weight on the rail and a possible lighter total weight.
745 current rule
Example 1 Owner 150#'s average crew weight allowed 198 #'s
Example 2 owner 225#'s average crew weight 173 #'s.
Example 3 187 crew 186
Now the other side,
775 #'s
150 owner 208 crew average
187 owner 196 crew "
225 owner 183 crew "
800 #'s
150 owner 216 crew "
187 owner 204 crew "
225 owner 191 crew "


One of the reasons I feel the SoCal fleet has not cought on is the weight rule. Thier are other boats with better allowances. I think that this could all be equalized too. Having a 275# person is not a help but a henderence, even if they were 250 it's still a henderence they dont move fast enough a 775-800 lbs rule would not hurt anyone.

More food for thought how many crews weighed
in at maximum vs. being lighter, how many wanted some else who may have elevated the level of thier racing but couldn't go becuase they weighed 5 or 8 lbs to much. Does that promote better sailing. I understand that there is 2 sides but which is better.

As far as the 4th crew member sailing there is always somthing for them to do. It would be interesting to see at a top level regatta a little change as a test to see what thoughts and what actually happens.
I also noticed that a lot of the top at Galvistan Bay Nood the owners were on the lighter side of 200 lbs (corrections here welcome)and a boat had a crew of 5. I wish I could have 5 crew and luanch the kite out of the forward hatch. (just dreaming)a total of 4 is fine for class racing I thank you all for your comments and look forward to more.

David Hammett
#87 DnA
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Postby Guest » Fri Nov 15, 2002 2:44 am

Plain and simple...If it is not broken, don't fix it.
I vote for 745#
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Postby Guest » Fri Nov 15, 2002 2:52 am

But it may be broken and just not known yet.
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Postby Guest » Fri Nov 15, 2002 3:03 pm

It's funny how all the little guy's think the rules are perfect and how all the big guy's would like to see a change. Maybe we need to address this from an educated point of view backed with substantial fact's and not empty theories. Does anyone really know what the performance advantage would be raising the total wt. 30 lbs and how much difference would it make to most of the crew's. I don't think we need to worry what the 165 lb Europeans think, that comes into play once or twice a year. If we could eliminate 75% of crew wt. problems and there is not a performance advantage would we be quilty of ignorace by not changing the rules. Just because some of the crew's are lucky enough to have a 130 pounder on thier boats doesn't mean the rest of us can snap are fingers and have someone appear. What we need now is for people to think of what's best for the class and not whats best for them. I'm new in this game and have only been to 2 regattas, the first one the original crew was 16 lbs over wieght and I had to fly someone in to make wt. The second regatta we were 18lbs overwieght and had to leave one behind ( a j-80 owner ) and use someone that has no intentions of ever getting into the class.
How many owners are having this same problem? How common is this? Could a 20 to 30lb wt. increase put a stop to this? There is no perfect world, the boats will never be the same, the crew wt. will always vary, the winds will always shift, theres nothing we can do about those things, but putting people in boats that support this class we can do somthing about.

Robert Miller
JESTER
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Postby Guest » Fri Nov 15, 2002 9:27 pm

J/80'ers,
The weight limit controversy will continue as long as current rule is in force. On one side, light and medium weight skippers have little problem putting together crews and thus like the rules as written.

Heavy skippers tipping the scales at 220 are frustrated because they are forced to find crew strong enough to do all the jobs yet be light weight.

I am new to the J/80 class, but I am not new to sailing having raced on Lightnings since 1962. In the Lightnings, crew weight has even more importance to the overall performance of the boat, yet there is no discussion of minimum or maximum crew weight.

This is because crew weight is a double edge sword. Everyone wants more weight in heavy winds and less in light winds. The only problem is that in the Lightning class, one has to have three crew members and one has to keep the same crew through-out class sanctioned events.

I am sure Rod Johnstone could easily predict performance advantages based on crew weight in different wind conditions. He may be able to calculate how the skipper's weight in his normal position effect or detracts from this effect. Has this question every been poised to the man who created the boat. I predict that since the boat is so narrow and so much of the over all boat weight is on keel bulb, that the heavier crews might have a slight advantage in heavy breezes, but whatever advantage gained is offset in light/medium winds under 12 mph that most racing occurs.

From the posts I have read, it would appear nearly all J/80s sail in San Fransico Bay. If you'll race in central Illinois where I am, the class would be wanting to have a minumum crew weight.

I guess, the J/80 class has to decide what sort of class it wants to be. If it chooses to be inclusive family oriented, it needs to be more flexible. It not like there have been huge 80 boat turn-outs at J/80 class events. The class should try to find a compromise and get more people attending.

One last point: if you haven't noticed, sailboat racing is in decline. Over the past 30 years, the decline has been steady. The peak was sometime in the mid-1960s. Any exclusionary rules are counter-productive. The no weight restiction for three person crews is absurd! It would take a pack of gorillas to get much more than 600# on the boat with only three.
Terry Burke #405
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Postby Guest » Sat Nov 16, 2002 1:25 am

Okay, enough with the jokes. I admit it, we are a pack of Gorillas. My 4 person(1 lady) phrf crew weighs in at 820#. We were 840#, but the lady got so embaressed when I pulled the scale out at the dock one night, she went on a diet. I guess fat attracts fat and slim on slim..lol...

If your boats light, I've got a couple of 225#'ers available. Anybody want to trade???

I have not made one event this season and it's not for lack of interest or trying.

Even with a 30# adjustment to the rule, I still need to replace my entire crew or go with 3. And yes we break 600# easy. So watch out on those light air days..

Terry, I think your spot on. It's all about attendance. After all, this is supposed to be for fun, right?
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Postby Guest » Sat Nov 16, 2002 1:27 am

It may not have come across well, but what I tried to say was that with the evidence I have, crew weight will not make that much of a difference. When I first started challenging the need for a weight rule I reviewed a bunch of different class rules. The implementation I liked best was something like:

Optimum crew weight is 745 lbs. For any class event the same number of persons shall sail throughout. No changes to crew shall be allowed except with written approval of the class representatives prior to sailing, posted on the official notice board.

It takes the burden off of crew selection/dieting etc. And removes one coordination hassle from event management.

On the flip side, there are a lot of other rules that affect performance or safety (such as headstay length, installed equipment, perhaps lifeline sag, required safety gear, and so on) that should be checked a little more often.

I advocate any changes that will get more boats on the water, more owners in the class, and more boats on the line.

Mr. Hammett's statement that "One of the reasons the boat hasn't caught on in SoCal is the weight rule" bothers me. I can add that one of the reasons a lot of PHRF people don't do class events is the weight. --the other big one is travel--


Steve
Ghost Dancing
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