Although the 9 boats presented will all race “fairly” under handicap, there may be reasons to choose one fleet over the others. Here is a list of thoughts:
- Riptide 50: Obvious choice for first to finish. Beside being one of the most modern boats on offer, 10 feet of extra length buys a lot of speed. The race will require some tight manoevering though, and in handicap racing fastest doesn’t always win!
- Schock 40: The canting keel adds some extra punch on the tight reaches. This boat will require extra attention to get the most out of it, with a relatively “complicated” polar diagram.
- Flying Tiger, 1D35 and the two 30 footers will provide pretty level racing. These boats are biased a bit toward downwind speed, but are good in all conditions.
- The IOR boats tend to be fast upwind, but between flying conventional spinnakers and their rule-enforced hull shape they can’t compete with modern machines downwind. While this might seem like a obvious strike against them, that round polar gives lots of leeway in the islands, and a windshift mid-race could catapult the older designs to the front on corrected time.
- The two “little boats” should provide close racing. The J’s territory is downwind in heavy conditions, while the 1/4 tonner can probably get to the windward mark first. Either boat could spoil the day for the big-dollar fleet under the right conditions.
- Because of the way that handicapping works, wind changes late in the race can have a significant impact on the corrected times of the fleet. A dying wind will favour the boats that can finish early, while more wind after they have crossed the line helps the slower boats to catch up.
- The winds in this area tend to make this a windward/leeward race, but it’s possible that they change directions! A windward/windward or leeward/leeward will slightly favour one fleet over the others.
- The islands present a bigger problem for the faster boats.
- Boats with less drastic polars may be easier to drive on DC
Please keep in mind that this is the first time this is being tried… The fleet is probably a little too spread in performance for absolutely fair racing, but I wanted to present some interesting options. In test races, the 30-40 foot boats all race especially evenly. Consider this a test race to find out what we enjoy and what doesn’t work.
My personal thoughts are to choose the boat that calls your name. The racing within your fleet will be as tight as always, and we’ll get to see how the different boats sail differing strategies in the same wind. Above all it should be a fun race, and your odds of winning just went up by a factor of 9!