Following on from the racing format review, the Sailing Committee is now intending to review the approach to course setting for club races. Good courses are critical to the success and enjoyment of our racing at SYC but, as many sailors commented during the race format review, we often do not make best use of the estuary or fully consider the conditions when setting race courses. Whilst the Committee believes that we can improve course setting, this is not a criticism of anyone who undertakes OOD duties and we do need to be mindful that most sailors only do a couple of duties each season.

Another consideration is that one of the objectives from the racing format review is to facilitate shorter courses for the slow handicap fleet, particularly on days with lighter winds and strong tides. Also, given that asymmetric and fast handicap fleets will now be sailing the same course, we need to ensure that these fleets are given courses which include a run whenever possible and, on occasion, are set a windward / leeward course. Finally, whilst the wind and tidal conditions can sometimes be difficult, we also need to ensure that the courses for all fleets include a true beat (windward) leg.

The Sailing Committee has already received some suggestions on how we could improve course setting which include –

  • Requiring OODs to select from a limited ‘menu’ of pre-defined courses designed for specific wind directions and tide heights.
  • Separating the task of course setting from OODs and assigning this to a nominated group of experienced course advisors.
  • Using a mark with a coloured band (white?) to help facilitate shorter courses for the slow handicap fleet.

No decisions have been made at this stage and the Sailing Committee is keen to hear from a wider range of sailors to ensure that all views are represented. If you have further suggestions or would like to get involved with improving course setting, please contact either David Lee (Sailing Secretary) or Robin Charles (Vice-Commodore). You are also welcome to comment on the SYC forum - the Sailing Committee will review all feedback.