Is it just me?
Thought I would share my thoughts from the F15 worlds, having just returned from Morgat. Now we only did the worlds, giving another week to the pre-worlds was never a possibility. That said it still took 10 days for us. In my view simply too long. This is not a criticism of Morgat but a view on what appears to me to be somewhat archaic F15 championship rules. The intention was to run one race per day, maybe two on one occasion (7 in total), the last Friday being a spare day (of use if you have to pack a container but unnecessary to anybody else really). Now we were unlucky with the weather – too little wind and then too much so some days were lost. But my question is why do we as a class insist on one race a day, the PRO had a target time of 90 minutes with max 120mins, not much actual racing time. We ended up using the inside course every day at Morgat (why?) so the race course was circa 20mins for the beach, with a 1pm start! I believe we need to change as a class, over a week we could easily set a timetable to have 2 or even 3 races per day, starting in the morning, maybe 12 races, 2 discards? And also why in non-planning conditions do we insist on reaching? We did a few races where in the places 5-15 or so from what I could see (and maybe others) there was no place changing for both reaching legs – so boring, processional, just burning time. Windward leeward has to be the way forward in those conditions, surely? I believe we need to modernise as a class, more races, less time needed, better formats, and that’s before we start on any changes to the boat/rig (for another day….). We made a comment that the bulk of the competitive UK fleet appear to have been in the class for a significant number of years, some have done 10-15 worlds…..where is the next generation of F15 sailor coming from and what will attract them to the class and the championships? What will the class be like in 10 years time and who will still be competing? Can I urge the class to re-think and look forward. Now I won’t do the next worlds – 2 weeks or more in New Zealand in February (school term time) is just not going to work for me unfortunately (maybe for the current demographics of the class this doesn’t matter to most?) could we not have had it in Perth, Western Australia over New Year if we are going down under?
Don’t get me wrong, Morgat was good and it was fun, the club and everyone involved did a superb job and the wee town produced some great social, in my view it just could have been so much better for the time invested – weather not withstanding……
Final comment we do need to improve our PR and championship reporting, having a wrap up report at the end is all very well but surely we could manage daily reports to Y&Y or the like to keep those back home involved? It might also attract some new faces to the class, who knows?
Is it just me?
so a few comments on the last section of the post from a sports development student.
As far as the next generation of the class, there is next to no movement in younger people to join the class in anything other than classic level, me and three friends all own and race classics. there needs to be a push to get more younger people involved in the class. Realistically it is not going to be possible for a younger person on the whole to buy a brand new boat and drive it. so having a matching programme where boat owners can go for experienced and trained crew would be beneficial.
For example if the class where to run training events for younger people who are keen to be involved in the class, thus building up time in 15s and understanding of the systems then there would be a large database to pull names from if new owners or people who are short of crew can phone up and find someone in their area.
The location of the worlds, having the worlds closer to home this year has made me and a few others consider the cost as it would be less to reach them in comparison to having them else wear. I’m aware that they must move to where the fleets are but I think this should be pointed out when trying to increase participation from a younger generation into what can be an expensive class that having the worlds further afield is a barrier to participation.
As far as PR goes, having a PR rep for the week who would work for the class is something other class such as the half tonners have used and it works well to promote the class. having daily updates on the top end of the fleet, but also of the battles that happen throughout the fleet. by using video footage of the class making it look appealing, and then promoting it to the correct demographic will give the class exposer, but promoting through just Facebook and a website is no longer good enough. the class need to engage with other outlet forms to increase exposer and to increase participation.
I am in agreement with Hamish’s comments, we should review our Championships format. For us the French trip took 15 days door to door and I think we sailed on 7 days a total of 13 races. The stay in Morgat was enjoyable and we were made very welcome however this was poor use of time. I do not think we need more races, we just need to fit in more over a shorter time.I would be in favour of a 2 races a day schedule for the World Championships which could therefore be sailed over say 4 days maximum. I think the target time should be 75 to 80 minutes for the first boat and agree that we should only use triangles when there are the right conditions. There should be provision to sail 3 shorter races on a day if necessary.
One other point is the amount of time taken by Scruiteneering. We should open a debate about how we deal with this. It is very time consuming to carry out the full Scruiteneering process and this is difficult to manage as there isn’t an even flow of work. the Scruiteneering process this time effectively took 4 days . is there a better or more efficient way this can be accomplished whilst still complying with our ISAF status. I don’t know the answer but like all involved would like to find a way of making this an easier process for all.