RS:X Europeans & Youth Europeans, July 2013

Brest, France
238 sailors from 38 countries arrived at a drizzly and miserable part of Brittany for these championships.  There was an unusually high entry in  the Youth championships with 73 men and 44 women - almost as many as in the senior fleets (78 men and 43 women).  There were 2 groups of men and 1 of women in each of the seniors and youths.  The plan was for the class to further test format whilst attempting to maintain fairness to ensure that the winners were deserving.  So the regatta was to be run with shorter races (20-25 minutes target time), three races per day irrespective of conditions and three medal races scored without any weighting but non-discardable.

SolentXtra was represented Robert Lamb who was the Class Race Director (CRD) in charge of racing on both courses.

The forecast initially was for light winds, so with some tide the conditions were excellent for training with Rio in mind.  

When Rob explained his plans to use a trapezoid as was usual practice at major RS:X events, the coaches at the pre-event meeting quite correctly pointed out that, with the shorter target time of 20 minutes in non-planing conditions, the reach between marks 1 and 2 would reduce real racing to a minimum.  So Rob had to persuade the local race officers to run the racing on windward leeward courses - not what they were told to expect beforehand!  But they agreed and the race management teams spent longer out on the water than they originally thought.

Nathalie Peberel, who was on the RS:X team with SolentXtra at the Olympics ran the racing for the youths and it was nice for Rob to meet up with her again.

LER 2CB Windward Gate

The upside of using windward leeward courses was that the opportunity to test a windward gate emerged.  Testing showed that the optimum width was 60 m compared to a 40m leeward gate.  So, on the senior's course two marks were set upwind for the ladies with two more at a greater distance from the start line for the men.  Target time was then eminantly achieveable for men and women racing at the same time.  From the race management perspective the learning point was the time at which a second fleet could start after the first, in order to minimise interaction on the race course between the two fleets.  Ultimately, the system that worked best for races of 25 minutes was to display the orange flag (10 minutes from the start) as the first sailor in the group racing rounded the windward gate for the second time.  Thus, 10 minutes later, most of the previous fleet had finished when the next race started.  In races of 20 minutes duration it was best to display orange a little before this.

Feedback in the board park from sailors and coaches was generally in favour of short races, more races and the windward gate.  But more formal feedback will be sort.

The negative side of the regatta was the processing of results which was painfully slow and resulted in the Class team spending way too much time on this after racing each day.  The Class will inevitably now undertake the scoring themselves rather than rely on the local organisation to do this.

© SolentXtra 2012