Crew Weight Limits

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Postby Guest » Fri May 17, 2002 12:58 pm

At 746.48lbs, the optimum crew weights would be 1 @ 146, and 3 @ 200. This seems generous enough, but being an older guy, tipping the scales at 220 on a good day, this is one of my biggest "off the water " challenges.
Does anybody else have difficulty finding a lightweight crew? Is this keeping you participating in class events? Would a small increase in crew weight, say 5%, increase participation?

Greg Locke

Postby Guest » Fri May 17, 2002 3:05 pm

This topic has been debated endlessly over the last several years on the Southern Circuit, and we have experimented with different limits. As an international class, we need to realize that what best suits us here in the States may not be universally welcomed. Most Europeans are smaller than us large Americans and prefer to keep weight limits down. In my personal experience, adding at least one woman to your crew roster normally brings the average down enough to let you fill the other spots. Promoting the inclusion of women is good for the class and the sport, IMHO.

Chris Morlan
Fleet Captain
J-80 Fleet #2
Houston, Texas

Postby Guest » Fri May 17, 2002 9:47 pm

Not that it matters for us but you gotta love the J/105 class. Working on the theory that a lot of weight in the back of the boat is not advantageous, they allow the owner/driver to either weigh in or declare his weight to be 200 lbs - no questions asked. The rest of the crew then actuallly weighs in.

Postby Guest » Sat May 18, 2002 12:09 am

Actually the "declared" owner weight is 100kg. From the J/105 rules:

"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."

I presume that most owners actually get on the scale...???

Postby Guest » Tue May 21, 2002 9:24 pm

Allow me to weigh in.

I have found from discussions with non-class members that weight/crew is a frequently cited reason, particularly when the boat races PHRF. But you hear lots of reasons all the time. Trailering is also a big deterrent.

In my mind, we have two issues: [1] Is 745 the right weight? (i.e will the boat sail better with more or less weight, and will more boats participate at a higher or lower weight). [2] is a single pre-regatta weigh-in and strict enforcement the best way to implement the rule?

This issue comes up all the time as Chris stated. Right now it's just opinions. We should collect some data, both from the competitors and from the non-participating boats. Then decide a course of action. If a rule change is in order, we propose one to the executive committee and they can carry it forward internationally.

Ghost Dancing
# 290
(dieting for the circuit stop in Austin)

Postby Guest » Thu May 23, 2002 9:51 am

Even with hard data, it would be difficult to directly correlate crew weight to the amount of silver on an owner's mantle unless we always raced in heavy air. No matter what the weight limit is, some crews are better than others. Keep in mind, jolly old fat sailors don't always finish first and 70 percent of American women are plus size.
If, as Chris mentioned, the southern circuit has experimented with different limits, could the USA also do so without impacting Europe and then fall back to the "Class" limit for world events?

I think the idea of polling owners to see if local participation would increase is appropriate and I'd be willing to help.

Greg Locke

Postby Guest » Thu May 23, 2002 10:27 am

The Star class is going through similar problems with its weight rules. You can look up the particulars on their website.

However essentially in an effort to keep weights down, all weights of skippers competitive and participation numbers up, they have adopted a system where crew weight counts more heavily against the maximum than skipper weight. Also the weight limit is only applied to certain predetermed events. I believe it wasn't applied to either the Miami Olympic class regatta or the Barcardi Cup. This system has flaws in that the top boats sailing at weight are beaten by heavier crews at events the weight isn't enforced at.

How does this apply back to the J-80?

I think that some of the system that the Stars are using could work better in the J-80 class because it isn't an Olympic class.

Have some regattas where the weight limit does not apply. If a heavier boat beats a lighter boat, that is something to learn from. But the lighter boat is not going to lose sponsorship dollars b/c of a poor position as might happen with the star.

Also even at some regional and national events, waive the crew limit for certain boats if that is a hindrance to them getting to the line. Perhaps boats that have not raced at a NOOD or NAtionals before can enter without weighing in but not be eligible for the overall prizes. This could be a one time waiver or could be based on results where until you reach a certain level of results you do not need to be at weight for certain events.

In a way it could be unfair to a boat competing at weight to have a heavier boat sit on them up wind, but a windshift or seagrass patch is "unfair" as well. Plus it would be a small price to pay to see fleet sizes really grow.


Postby Guest » Fri May 24, 2002 6:14 pm

My experience has been that the J/80 likes extra weight on the rail. This would give heavy crew an advantage. I think there is enough classes around where only gorillas can success and the J/80 offer lighter and female crew an opportunity to compete fairly. Increasing the weight would in my opinion not help to boost numbers, we may would gain some, however we may also loose some. The J/80 is a moderately desiged boat, without going to the extremes and the current weight limit supports this philosophy. For those of you who battle with the limit, you may want to consider having a female crew or even better find a junior dinghy sailor, they are usually light and fit and can do wonders for you spinnaker trim and downwind speed.
I would like to see the weight limit stay in place as it is, however the idea of having special dispensation from this rule at particular events may be worth considering further.

Bob von Felten

Postby Guest » Tue Jun 04, 2002 10:21 pm

It seems that the J105 class has recently increased it's crew weight limit by 8%. See J105 Class rule changes below.

Submission #13 (Passed 23-4-0)

Replace first sentence of Rule 7.1 with the following sentence:

"The maximum crew weight (in swimming apparel) for one-design racing is 475 kilograms (1045 lbs.) with no limit on numbers of crew."

Discussion: The 970lbs weight limit has met with increasing criticism over the last few years. Proponents of an increase argue that even for five adult males, the 970
lbs limit is not very generous given our middle-aged owners and crews. For six — the number of crew many prefer — it takes serious efforts to recruit the requisite
light weights to counterbalance even one 200 lbs crew member. Proponents of the status quo point out that the existing weight limit was intended to further the
recreational nature of the J/105 by encouraging mixed crews. They also argue that increasing the weight limit will force most owners to sail with six people rather than
five. In the view of some, any weight limit is bound to be too high for some and too low for others — everyone has to find the right people to fit the bill.

Postby Guest » Wed Jun 19, 2002 1:13 am

Hi all I was asked by Bob to say a few things about my crew wieght on the Ensenada Race in '02. Well the answer is 935 lbs. and I sail that way all the time in light,medium and heavy air with 5 bodys and about 800-950 lbs. total wieght. As I had mentioned before that we sail with 155% kevlar headsail and Pinstripe kevlardacron main. We carry the #1 up to 13-14 true.

Dave Hammett

Postby Guest » Thu Jun 20, 2002 1:11 pm

A sampling of average crew weights from other ISAF Classes.

Melges 24..4......198
MUMM 30...6......192
FAR 40......Capt..209/ + 7 @ 209

With the exception of the J24 Class, if you race with 5 crew, which is debatable according to a couple of my contacts, the J80 Class is the lightest.

Greg Locke

Postby Guest » Thu Jun 20, 2002 3:00 pm

When I raced J-24's (prior to buying my 80) nearly everyone sailed with five crew, and some
J-22's sail with four.
I think the problem is that, regardless of the basis of the existing limit, it is very difficult to change once in place. I made the same argument regarding hull weights when we began weighing boats, but the reality is that once in place, inertia tends to keep rules like this unchanged.
The J-24 class talks every year or so about revising their limit, but it never has any support outside the US and is always shot down.

Postby Guest » Thu Jun 20, 2002 4:14 pm

I agree that most J24s race with five. I won't be buying one anytime soon. I used 3 crew for the J22 because that was the crew size that won Annapolis NOOD this spring and most pictures on the J22 site show 3.

Postby Guest » Mon Nov 11, 2002 7:29 pm

To the Class. Why is not possible to change Class rules as far as the weight limits go.
It is very hard for me as an owner to fit in the limit and have 3 of my friends. I feel that we should at least discuss the possibilties as a Class and see how they feel.

Postby Guest » Mon Nov 11, 2002 9:51 pm

As a new J/80 boat owner, I believe the class should consider a rule similar to the J/105 class that allows the boat owner and driver to declare his weight as 95 kg (209# 100kg) and not be subject to the weighing in process. A skipper of less weight could of course weigh in. The J/105 rule is 100 kg, but their max weight allows for a higher average crew weight.
The logic here is that more weight in the back of boat is not of particular advantage. So why should the heavier skipper be penalized by either having to sail with three or find some real light weights. The whole point of the rule was prevent undo advantage to bigger crews in a breeze. I have and continue to race Lightnings. In that class, the lightweight crews have a real advantage in the light medium wind conditions. There has been real consideration of having a minimum crew weight. I would think that in less than 10 knots, a light weight crew in a J/80 would have a big advantage over their heavy weight competition...Should they be penalized?
Terry Burke #405


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