Club racing and cruising in Multihulls, how to grow the niche?

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by Corley, May 27, 2013.

  1. Corley
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Corley epoxy coated

    I've been thinking about this thread for a while and it touches on my thoughts as to why multi's are not more successful in the broader sailing community. I'd love to hear from other multihull sailors who are active at a club level about their thoughts and ideas. By the way we have over the last couple of years halted our membership decline and returned to a positive state of membership growth.

    My involvement at a club level gives me a different perspective about racing we have had to wind back our more enthusiastic racers and find a place in the club for multihull cruisers and attempt to organize events to get them involved. There are lots of production cruising multihulls being purchased and constructed from kits by home builders they are not zealous but have found multihulls to suit their wants and needs in the cruising context. The racing part of the membership is perhaps the most outspoken and active but we are trying to integrate more events for the cruisers and builders to make them feel welcome in the club.

    The interesting thing is too that our most successful club racers tend to be in less radical boats with less fiddly handling and who consistently turn up to races and compete. The more complex boats seem to spend more time with broken gear, looking for crew or logging DNF this is one area where the f-boats have been wonderful. A well conceived and not particularly radical trimaran trailer sailor that can live in the space of a trailerable monohull in sailors backyards and yacht club hardstands and be launched skinny at a standard ramp. The whole concept and execution has a lot to recommend it and I think Ian Farrier with his F-22 trailerable trimaran is really onto something and will most likely sell a lot of boats as the formula just makes sense for sailors. Also the ability to tow the F-22 behind a modest family sedan is attractive and saves potential owners from having to invest in a new tow vehicle.

    It's also been interesting to find that we have been contacted by sailors interested in getting into larger multihulls after sailing and paddling on hobie adventure Island kayaks and entry level off the beach multihulls like the Hobie Wave. It's great to see multihulls generating that level of interest at a grassroots level.

    My question is what have other multihull clubs worldwide been doing to grow their membership and what has proved to be the most successful?
     
  2. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    I'm not currently active in multis, Corley, but can I say you've hit quite a few nails on the head with that post! Putting the emphasis on the "race machines" makes the sport too elitist in reality and in perception.

    Time and time again in sailing we have seen a section of the sport become popular when the equipment was simple and accessible to beginners as well as experts; then as people become more experienced in that sector of the sport, the designers and organisations start concentrating on the experienced users and fail to cater for newbies, which then shuts off the vital flow of beginners.

    I wonder whether even Farriers may not go too far towards the racing machine to achieve wider popularity; is it as easy for a person new to sailing to raise the stick on a modern Farrier as it was on an old Trailertri?

    It's great to hear that you are getting flow through from people who have had poly Hobies. The poly boats seem to be the modern version of the simple ply and glass boats that made sailing into a popular sport decades ago; if only the sport could embrace them it could spark new interest IMHO.

    From where I sit, the most important thing to grow a fleet is to put a strong emphasis on welcoming the new sailors, offering coaching if they want it, and if necessary allowing them to drop the last lap of the course or otherwise ensure that they don't finish miles behind. It sounds like you're on a good track! :)
     
  3. Corley
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    Corley epoxy coated

    It's funny there was a time when people were totally dismissive of the feed from poly boats into "real" boats. Lots of people's first experience into paddling and sailing is now coming in the form of these boats. I think you're right they are the "stitch and glue" boats of the modern era.
     
  4. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    Getting cruising multi's out for club level FUN races is a pet crusade of mine. It has to be fun. It has to have a social component.

    We have found that after a few fun "were cruisers and we don't care about handicaps" events, people want handicaps ... on more thing to chat about at the bar.

    We use the Texel Formula for cabin multi-hulls. Since there is no subjective part of the handicap no local handicapper has to take it on the chin for handicaps.

    We've had good results and people are happy because everyone is handicapped using the same system.

    Another thing to consider is setting multi friendly courses. Reaching legs. Nothing will turn a multi fleet off faster than sending them off for a 30 minute beat at the start. Many of them get passed by the two monohull starts behind them and they get crapped out.

    Do destination overnights. "race" to the anchorage making sure the course is short enough that every has energy for a party on the beach. Try a reverse start for the trip home. Not formal, just spread the fleet out over a few starts so everyone gets home about the same time. Make sure the club bar is open that evening.

    If you have a couple of better sailors (they always win and the other boats don't want to play) ask them for their "speed secrets" and maybe have them do a "How I figured out my catamaran." informal seminar one weekend.

    We've found that once we get them out and make sure that Wives have as much fun as hubby we get them to come back again and again.

    It is fun. It is usually a but different crowd that sails/races multis.

    We had enough boats to split the multi's at the Banderas Bay Regatta this year. The average handicap of the fast multi division was within a few seconds of the fast monos. We hope that in a few years we will see the bigger cruising cats become our 'A' division.

    I hope you have the best of luck. Your club will be better for it!

    Randy
     
  5. keysdisease
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    keysdisease Senior Member

    Our sailing club adopted Hobie waves a few years ago. For a year round warm water venue these are great boats, fast, very rugged and they have an active class association here in the States. We have hosted several regional events for this class. It probably helps that some "new blood" at the club are cat peeps and our recent past commodore has a Maine Cat.

    http://www.upperkeyssailingclub.com/index.html

    The club Wave fleet is very active with all boats spoken for most weekends and in the summer for the Wednesday night series.

    Our previous fleet were Flying Scots which were great boats with just enough racing stuff to be a lot of fun. We also have a couple of J24's.

    For an olde multihull guy like me I enjoy watching people 'discover" multi's.

    Works for us. Steve:cool:
     
  6. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Somekinda rating , handicap is needed.

    Im getting ready to do a club level, three race , one night on the anchor, cruiser regatta next week.

    Big boats...at 22 meters , Im the smallest in the fleet. The handicap is "Homemade" with top secret ingredients. It seems fair. It will be the 17th year that we have participated in this event

    To have fun and want to return year after year Its critical for club level events that the boats sail in "Cruising Trim"...... this means
    anchors, roller sails, dingies, stores...everything onboard.

    Its critical at club level that the maximum crew number does not exceed the number of bunks...4 bunks mean 4 crew...no cheating by counting settees, forepeake, cockpit or other unsporting scams. Crew win races...the more crew the more aggressive you can sail, the faster the boat.

    Its unfortunate that competitors are always looking for an edge. Im next to a competitor now who is stripping the boat...inner forstay off, transom and forpeake emptied, Black Mainsail fiited, propeller change........ Creepy trophy hunter type. at the starting line Im gonna buzz him like a thirsty mosquito and ruin his day.

    We only clean the bottom and make sure the sails are fitted with tell tales.

    We sail to the spirit of the rule and have fun

    You must ensure that " spirit of the rule" is enforced or competitors rapidly loose interest.

    I find long long sausage courses or point to point like..around the island race, the best. By long Im mean 5 miles plus legs....perhaps 15 to 20 miles total course. Avoid drag race courses that bury slower boats in bad wind and present no tactical choices. Slow boats with good tactics can win.
    Midday start...home at sunset. Finish in the area of the club so families and mates can greet them with honks

    Starting is complex for non pros...devise safe and easy starts...long line, full VHF contact from 30 miniutes until start , skip flags and guns, add "helpful " VHF comments to specific competitors like

    " RED BOAT WITH ALL THE GIRLS" .... "Get back down to the line or youre gonna be late"
     
  7. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    You might find this article useful for the discussion

    http://sailingcatamarans.com/index....cles/41-the-development-of-the-micromultihull

    I suggested using the TR back in the 1980's as it did then, and still does, seem to give the "best" - meaning fairest - results especially for smaller boats. Obviously it's been used for over 30 years in the Round Texel race, but in various modified versions is also used in France and Australia and no doubt elsewhere

    Why people don't race multihulls but still sail sportsboats is still something of a mystery. In part its because you need a certain number of entries to have a sensible race. If 6 multihulls enter a series that's viable. But if one owner goes to a wedding and another is away on business then 4 boats do not a good race make. However if 60 monohulls are racing and even 20 are away the 40 boats left still have a good race.

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs

    www.sailingcatamarans.com
     
  8. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    It is very interesting to note that BAMA (one of the biggest multi-hull rating organizations on the US west coast) uses Texel. Their website links to one of the Australian versions of the rule.

    We have found that running the formula with a weight number about 10% 'too high' gives a bit to the cruising multi's and makes for some very good racing.

    R
     
  9. Corley
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    Corley epoxy coated

    I agree there needs to be handicaps but it always seems to be an area where getting everyone 100% happy is a battle. Getting cruising boats weighed seems to be the biggest obstacle. I've often wondered whether you could set a basic handicap on the boats design weight and apply a performance handicap based on results it might just make the whole situation more difficult and get everyone offside though.

    How do you establish a boats weight under the Texel rule? In the OMR rule which is the Australian version of the Texel rule all the boats are weighed on a load cell to establish an accurate weight. It's surprising how much variation in weight even the same model can exhibit. If I recall correctly there were two Corsair Sprint trimarans weighed at a Queensland event and there was more than 100kg's difference between them with the same gear onboard.
     
  10. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    In the UK MOCRA bought a load cell years ago to measure the boats. Craning was cheap enough if everyone was weighed the same day.

    If the designers help out it is easy to estimate weight from freeboard measurements at bow and stern.

    Last time I had a grp Strider it was weighed at 700kgs in racing trim (anchor, cooker etc). Sisterships weighed up to 200kgs more, yet the basic hull layup was the same for all Striders. My boat was a standard one, I bought the hulls at an executors sale when the owner died before launching his boat

    The only person happy with his rating is the winner.

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs

    www.sailingcatamarans.com
     

  11. CT 249
    Joined: Dec 2004
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    I have to agree, you should be able to use designer's weight since most boats end up heavier. Those who use designer's weight get a disadvantage but if they want to get weighed they have the option to do so....take your choice or pay your money.

    IRC is designed to be able to use designed weight - it's only Oz, I think, that requires weighing for all events (although major events in other countries require weighing). Although obviously not directly applicable to multis, it's proof that major rules CAN use designer/catalogiue weights.

    One nice tip I've seen is that if someone complains about their rating, you can back-calculate the rating that they would need to finish first, or third, or whatever. Normally that shows that the rating they would need to do well is extremely low, therefore it is NOT the rating that is the issue but the sailing.

    It's a pity that Oz is the only country without a major yardstick/PHRF scheme for big boats. There is an ISAF emprical handicap committee that has formulae that allow you to make comparisons between mono handicaps in other countries and they may have one that would work for mutis. Maybe you could use that as the basis for a multihull PHRF system???

    Steve B who you mentioned on SA is a great bloke and a multi measurer; I assume you have his contact details, if not PM me.
     
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