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14ft Yardsticks


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What are the accepted yardsticks for 14ft'ers. (No, this isn't sour grapes, i'm the first to admit i sailed a crap regatta on the weekend, i started poorly and made bad decisions and yes my capsize in 12knts was costly but the thing that caused it will be fixed with a piece of bungy cord.)

Koonawarra do a comprehensive set of Yardsticks, VYC do a comprehensive set of Yardsticks and Kurnell Cat Club do a comprehensive set of Yardsticks.

But the problem being that if a class or rig configuration of a class doesn't race for a period of time, what happens to the Yardstick?

Ie. Maricat Supersloop now being at 90 on Koonawarra (thinking back to the days of Cookie and Larkham from Canberra the S/S Mari was around 88 or 88.5, can't find Koonawarra results from back then), 90 for GRP and 88 for Foam at KCC, 88 at Sugarloaf SC and VYC don't list the Maricat S/S, though the Hobie 14 Turbo has stayed at 88.5? Also Windrush S/S varies between 87 and 87.5?

Also does the class of sailor over a period of time effect the yardstick. Ie. Windies have come down over time (since the adjustment for Mylars/Foam) with guys like Mark Quadling and Gary Schneider because they dominated regatta's? And has the Mari S/S yardstick gone up because guys like Cook and Larkham left the class and there hasn't been anyone sailing Mari S/S of that class for some time? The Mari Sloop yardstick has come down over time with Tony Zahra.

So to open the can of worms, what is the accepted yardstick for each 14ft class? The variation seems quite wide.

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ha! this old chestnut! get a Mari!

There's an almost identical thread over on Sailing Anarcy after the single hander regatta at Sunshine over the long weekend.


How do you handicap a foiling moth when the wind is low - they are dramatically different when they 'fly'.

On the same forum you'd probably find similar threads in the Sportboat section and also for the yachts too.

Couple of years ago we slogged around the HCW One Lap Dash in our Careel - last over the line but if I can remember about fourth on handicap, seconds (on corrected time) behind a Melges 24 - there sure were some unhappy faces there!!

Possible the only way to approach it is what they do on races like the Manning Marathon where they have class divisions (ie if more than x boats in one class turn up) and then the main mixed divisions, similar to this weekend when the Windy States were run.

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I'm no expert on yardsticks and I am happy to leave it to the people who have the data to fix the yardsticks. Lets face it at this stage in under 15knots we would be on a par. Once the traps come out it's a different story.

The Mari is a diferent boat to trap on. The gunwale is a lot lower to the water and in a chop means your more likley to get your feet washed off. Horses for courses. I am still getting use to sloop and no dought I will be quicker in the near future.

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Quite true. I've seen a moth fly in 4knts... (Nathan Outteride got it up for a short burst in 4-5knts at the States this year)

A Mari and a Paper Tiger will be faster in

A yardstick as i see it is a handicap based on results from boats over a period of time and varying conditions. So yes some designs will be faster than their yardstick suggests in certain conditions but it should even out over a series of races in varying conditions.

So my question is if 10yrs ago, one or a couple of sailors whip the pants of everyone and then leave the class (yardstick appropriately compensated for this performance from a class) and are replaced by some sailors that aren't of the same calibre, does the yardstick change? Noting that todays sailors may not be able to sail the boat as fast as the guys 10yrs ago?

Hence if you take Cookie and Larkham who were fast Mari S/S sailors (sailing at 88 or 88.5 can't confirm what it was) and you put Mark Quadling in with them (Windy S/S on 87.5), they were faster sailors then the present sailors (in my opinion). So should the yardsticks change?

Windrush went through a period where there wasn't much activity from Maricat sailors but was a good rollout from the Windrush with guys like Gary Schneider winning alot and our yardstick sits at 87 or 87.5 (depending on the club). Paper Tigers we're also well represented during the past 10yrs or so by some of their top guys too.

On the flip side to the Mari S/S yardstick, the Windrush Sloop yardstick has ballooned out to 94 (according to Koonawarra when it was widely accepted at 92 or even 90.5 (according to VYC). The Windrush NSW fleet hasn't seen a top class Sloop sailor since Gary Schneider and his son Blake we're competing in the early 2000's. So what happens when someone comes along that is that calibre and wipes everyone off the planet at a yardstick of 94? Noting that its a 7 point difference in yardstick between S/S and Sloop Windrush, you'd have next to no hope as a S/S against someone that can sail Sloop well.

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Koonawarra Bay are always listening!

Despite some of the points raised above, our 14ft Cat Regatta results over many years have been amazingly close between the various classes. Whilst Gary Schneider has won the regatta many times, it has most often been by only a point, and often followed by a boat of a different class. We often see three boats separated by two or three points at the top of the fleet.

We established our own set of yardsticks about 17 years ago as we were frustrated by the systems that were available at the time. While we have yardsticks for loads of catamarans, we concentrate almost exclusively on the 14ft cats. We welcome other clubs using our yardsticks.

It should be noted that Mannering Park used our yardsticks at their regatta, but modified them based on the weight of the sailor and the construction material of the boat. This method of adjusting the yardsticks is not supported by Koonawarra Bay. It is also not supported by the Paper Tiger class. Paper Tigers compete as "one designs" amongst themselves and do not give any advantage to different materials or skipper weights.

The Maricat Sloop yardstick has never been as low as Michael says. However, Cookie did win the regatta in his heyday, but the yardstick was very similar to the current one.

We have made it a policy to change the yardsticks gradually and slowly. We understand that sailors of varying calibre compete across the years, so we don't want to react to individual years and the variations they can provide.

It is important to note that NO HANDICAP SYSTEM CAN BE PERFECT NOR WILL IT PLEASE EVERYONE! As you say, varying wind strengths advantage different classes at different times. To take this into account results in a system that is so complex, no one wants to use it.

We don't suddenly change the yardstick because the quality of the skippers has dropped off. People have to understand that being the best in their own class doesn't necessarily mean you are the best at the regatta.

We all have to face these facts. We believe our yardsticks are very close to being as good as they can be and the results of our regatta have backed this up many times. We are still open to input and criticism however.

Other important points are:

- The best sailors usually win.

- The top sailors in the stronger classes are mainly interested in how they went against their own class (rather than how they went against the various classes).

- Handicap system frustrations can be escaped by getting into a class that is strong enough to provide one-design racing.

As I said, we are open to input, but please take these points into account. Mannering Park will be providing us with their race results, however these will be six races (in one event) out of around 200 that we have referenced over the last decade or so.


Dave Stumbles

Koonawarra Bay SC

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I understand everything you say Dave, but to justify my points i was talking in relation to the Maricat Supersloop (Not the Sloop yardstick) and Windrush Sloop yardsticks seemingly being higher than they should on more than JUST the Koonawarra yardsticks.

"Koonawarra: Cat 94, Sloop 94, SuperSloop 90

VYC: Cat 94, Sloop 92, SuperSloop 88" - Pointed Reply 4/5/08

I also understand there is an argument, that the majority of Maricat Supersloops don't use trapeze. But I'd say that the class rules (correct me if I'm wrong) allow a trapeze as an option, hence putting it to the skippers discretion whether they use it or not.

I agree that one design racing is best but its not always available.

Anyway food for thought and i'll justify it again, this isn't sour grapes. I sailed a very poor regatta at Mannering Park (not helped by no time on the boat this year, only 1 outting prior to Mannering)


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Another 2 cents worth, the adjustments made to the Koonawara Y/S at the Mannering Park 14' cat regatta did not effect the results, it did effect numbers with a good roll up of older boats and sailors. The best, most consistent sailed boat (Marko P/T) won, the super sloops were sailed on S/S Y/S +2% if they sailed minus trap (This is as per VYC). The lack of stronger (Trapeze) breeze, saw an advantage go to those without trapeze, I have no doubt that another 5kts would have changed the results. Having owned Foam and solid GRP Maris I know that the Foam boats are not less than 2% faster, I believe that in the not to far distant future this will be seen and adjusted at Koonawara. Overall good results. Regards Darcy.

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