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Interactive Discussion

Random leg vs Cruisers

Posted By: Mike Guccione
Date: Wednesday, 9 November 2011, at 8:56 a.m.

Random Leg racing is the hottest thing around right now. I also think it is the most random and least organized part of racing. I have been trying to understand random leg racers vs cruisers vs novice sailors for the last five years. I think I am getting pretty close to understanding it. I want to present a couple of ideas to start some discussion.

The Definitions:
The term Random Leg means an awful lot.
First, it can mean a point to point race (Malibu & Return) or a fixed course that does not change with the wind.

A boat fully fitted for cruising is often more competitive doing Random Leg Races.
For Example: Most Catalina boats will do well on reaches and not so well to weather. They are going to have a much better chance of winning a random leg race than they are buoy races because the course caters to their boatís strength.
Random Leg Races require a completely different skill set than buoy races. Many Random Leg Racers are there just for the challenge, and not because of their boat type. The last group are cruisers or live-aboards. Since PHRF assumes that every boat racer will strip anything off that he or she can. PHRF has devised a method to give them credit for their cruising gear, in an effort to keep all cruising boats racing level. Isnít it time we use it? Letís be clear. There are no weekend cruising races. There are Random Leg Races. Cruising Races are for Novices that are racing in Steve Curranís Golf Handicap Race. No random leg racer should be in that class. If PHRF is giving random leg boats special ratings for cruising gear then cruisers and regular PHRF racers should be able to race against each other. We canít associate Novice with Random Leg Racing because clearly the people that are dominated these classes have raced for decades. Let the local PHRF board monitor the races and have all of these racers join PHRF. Letís organize it into the sport. Itís a joke to have the ASMBYC Championships and then have random leg races where the top racers get to choose who they will race against.

The term Random Leg Racers has nothing to do with Novice Racers. If I want to do the Stein race instead of the Malibu and return I should be allowed to do that and use the same ratings that the other boats in that class use. Each clubs race officers is charged with determining who is qualified to race in these divisions and that question is always referred to the top racers in that class to make the determination. Itís like me saying to the race committee chairman of a race ďI donít want to see any Martin 242 in my class on any weekend races. They are not typical of the boats that race in fleet B and they are not welcome.Ē That is exactly what the random leg classes are doing.

Southern California PHRF has a rating system to take into account the cruising gear on these boats. I propose that we start taking many of the races, although not all, and make it one Random Leg class. Have all the boats be required to be a part of PHRF. Use the PHRF offsets for every boat racing in the random leg fleet. If the rating isnít fair, go to the local board and see Jerry Kaye and Friends and get your rating adjusted. We are never going to get the Random Leg racer, no matter how good, to move up to PHRF. Nobody wants to be in the top five in one fleet, and take the risk of being in the bottom five in the standard PHRF Fleets. We have to mix both groups so they can see that they can race together.

This has to be address now, because all of the clubs are switching over to Random Leg Races. CYC just added three PMYC changed all their races to Random leg and there must be three to one random leg racers to buoy on weekends. If you run a race and have 8 typical random leg boats and 3 typical PHRF racing boats you have no choice, this has to be done. So we better address it, and treat it consistently and bring it into the mainstream of our sport. It is time.

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