Sydney-Hobart won by multihull!!

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by bad dog, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    Horses for courses.
     
  2. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    Sorry, Ray, but that's demanding a type of "fairness" far beyond what we demand from other sports, and from multihullers.

    For a start, the event got its basic name years before multis raced offshore. Secondly, you are taking potshots at monohullers for a perfectly normal use of language (English and others). There is no rule or convention that demands that an event name includes all the restrictions on gear.

    The Tour de France is NOT called the "Tour de France for conventional bicycles", despite the fact that recumbents are not allowed into the event.

    The Formula One World championships are NOT called "The Formula One car world championships" despite the fact that it's restricted to four-wheel cars.

    The Cricket World Cup is just called that - there's nothing in the title to say that it's just for men and that it's not for Twenty20, sixes cricket, CricketMax, Indoor Cricket, beach cricket, French cricket, and other variations of cricket.....

    The Boston Marathon is NOT called 'the Boston Marathon for Runners and Wheelchair Athletes".

    The FIFA World Cup is not called 'the men over 21 years' world cup for what we call football and a lot of you call soccer', despite the fact that there are other international federations for other types of football and even FIFA has World Cups for women and youth.

    The biggest tennis tournament in the UK seems to be called "The Championships Wimbledon", NOT "the Wimbledon championships for Lawn Tennis" despite the fact that there are other forms of tennis.

    In other words, it's a perfectly normal thing to leave out something like 'monohull' from an event title.

    And what about multihullers?

    The organisers of the world's biggest multihull race call it the Ronde Um Texel or Round Texel. It is NOT called the 'Round Texel CATAMARAN race' - and it doesn't let in monos, kites or windsurfers.... funny how major mono races are criticised for not letting in multis when major multi races ban anything but multis. They advertise the related regatta as 'the Dutch Open', NOT the 'Dutch open for off-the-beach catamarans'.

    The Notice of Race for the next "A Class World Championships" does NOT call them the "world A Class Catamaran championships", despite the fact that there are other, older "A Class" sailboats like the classic A Class keelboats or Auckland and the Barnegat Bay A Class catboats.

    The "Tybee 500" does not have anything in its name that reveals that it's restricted to off-the-beach cats of two types - it's not the "Tybee 500 Nacra 20 and F18 race".

    That's the first three multi events I tried - the fourth (Corsairs) does include 'trimaran' in the event title.

    Since it seems that multihullers don't normally include the words 'multi', 'cat' or 'tri' in their event name, why criticise monohull clubs for not putting the word "monohull" in the title of their events? Is it just so people can take potshots at them?
     
  3. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    You might not be taking into consideration the long history of yacht clubs arbitrarily excluding multis-- a self-serving tradition that goes back well over a hundred years. (By the way, is Sydney-Hobart really sponsored by a club with exclusively monohull membership?)

    It's fairly obvious that the main reason multihulls have been so often excluded from major ocean races is that monohull owners don't want to be beaten. Of course, their fears are usually proven accurate. This reluctance to be trounced is understandable, and the clubs who sponsor these races are entitled to make their own rules. That doesn't make what they do admirable.

    Eventually, I think the major ocean races will have to include multihulls, or be superseded by races that do. The sport is called "ocean racing." Not "ocean racing for a narrowly-defined subset of sailboats." The latter is a less-interesting sport, in my view.
     
  4. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    What about powerboats, then?
     
  5. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    I doubt the multihull guy's want to race the monohulls per se', they just want to be recognised.
     
  6. catsketcher
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    catsketcher Senior Member

    feet in both camps

    Gday Ray and Bad Dog

    I can assure you that multis don't enter into the mono racers mind much, for one really good reason - multis are poor race boats for most sailors. Why race a large multi when there are so few to race against and when sailing a mono requires heaps of skill and technique and a multi much less so? As multi sailors we will kid ourselves if we think that multis do race as well for the average sailor.

    I have raced multis on Sydney Harbour and it was not as much fun as racing lasers or yachts. I love multis for cruising but think that racing a typical racing multi is pretty stupid. Speed per se is not where it is at in racing.

    Racing is about competing with others on a level playing field. I have raced a few Tornados in Sydney and felt much less of the cut and thrust compared to the starting line with 160 other Lasers. I know a lot of mono racers who happily acknowledge my choice of cruiser but wouldn't want to race a boat that has almost no sisterships or comparable boats to pit themselves against.

    Multis have had 43 years since the first Hobart race they shadowed to get a decent fleet together to repeat the act. There have been many attempts but there is no Sydney to Mooloolaba or even any regular offshore scene. Multis will go to Hobart when there are enough sailors who like racing them offshore. We don't have enough. My reason is that monos are better race boats. I have owned, raced and cruised multis for 25 years and built 4 of them. I race monos. If a died in the wool multi lover like me likes racing monos more there must be plenty more out there who prefer racing monos too.

    Live and let live guys. I hated it when mono sailors would mock my choice of boat in Sydney Harbour back in the early 80s. I can assure you those days are gone. Just as I want my choice of boat to be accepted we should extend the generosity shown to us by our fellow sailors and applaud their choices and achievements. If we can muster a real fleet and also race to Hobart they will probably applaud us too.

    cheers

    Phil
     
  7. bad dog
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    bad dog bad dog

    I hear you Phil - fleet size has an awful lot to do with it. At Palmy we have a nearly all-Hobie 16 fleet, and much as I love to bag out Hobies (gently), I can see the attraction of all being on the same boat so it's just down to who can sail better - tactics, guts and hopefully glory. I imagine a fleet of 200 Lasers would be the same buzz.

    But in a faster cat like an A or an F18, with sufficient numbers, it gets down to the same thing. That's why national titles and other big regattas, and the Extreme 40 events are such fun - lots of cut & thrust, guts and glory (and glorious spills).

    I also think racing in a big fleet of monos would be like racing HQ Holdens (for you northern hemispherians - until the 1980s, in the Land of Oz we were blessed with cars designed like 3/4 scale Yankee Chevs and Fords: didn't go round corners, didn't stop, used fuel enough to make the average sheik smile, but were blessedly simple to fix) - the racing has a high level of difficulty, so the skill of the driver makes all the difference.

    But as you say - each to their own.

    To return to the logical conclusion of my original point, which Ray nails nicely above:
    "Eventually, I think the major ocean races will have to include multihulls, or be superseded by races that do. The sport is called "ocean racing." Not "ocean racing for a narrowly-defined subset of sailboats." The latter is a less-interesting sport, in my view."

    I suppose I also think it's a bit sad that Channel 7 (TV broadcaster) promotes only the maxis et al to a public who know nothing of the potential of the oceangoing multis - and thus never will - and thus perpetuates the status quo. A shadow fleet of even one ORMA 60 would kind of pop that balloon...
     
  8. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    Oh, you can't be serious....

    That's like saying 'the sport is motor racing, so every single major race in the world has to be open to Sportscars, dragsters, F1 cars, monster trucks, motorbikes and jet cars'.

    That's like saying 'the sport is surfing, so every event has to be open to jet skiis, surf kayaks, long Malibu boards, windsurfers, kneeboards, SUPs, and boogie boards.

    That's like saying 'the sport is bicycle racing, so every road bike event has to be open to mountain bikes, time trial bikes, recumbents, tricycles, and BMX bikes".

    Okay, so your personal preference is for races that allow in many different types. That's fine - but why abuse those who dare to have different tastes? Why not let them run the races they like, while you run the ones you like?

    So much of the whole anti-mono thing is based around some idea that most mono sailors hate multis. It's a load of rubbish. Some do, but then I've been abused and patronised at cat regattas by cat sailors who found that I also sail monos. And look at any sailing forum to see the abuse heaped on 'slug owners' by multihullers, or the sneering comments like "why would anyone want a mono?" from a cat designer's blog.

    There are lies that mono sailors spout about multis, but there are many lies that multi sailors say about monos. This 'mono sailors and the establishment have always hated us' stuff is just factually wrong. From the very start, the very 'establishment' Royal Society got involved with Petty's cat of 1662.

    The most common lie that gets thrown around is that cat development worldwide was slowed because Herreshoff's Amaryllis was banned from racing. In fact, Amaryllis was DSQd from ONE race where she went up against sandbaggers - not really a surprise since it was a cat versus boats that were still (often literally) working boats. And Amaryllis was given a special prize for that race! If the organisers were the old-fashioned cat-hating scum they are often made out to be, they wouldn't have bothered. Cats were then allowed to race in their own class, just like cabin boats raced in a class for cabin boats, schooners raced in classes just for schooners, and knockabouts raced knockabouts.

    By the next year after Amaryliss' debut, the cat Neried WAS allowed to race with the New York Yacht Club, probably because as a cruiser/racer, she was more akin to the normal yacht of her class. In 1877 "the catamaran fever....raged along the shores" of Staten Island. In 1878, the first race of the New York racing season was a duel between the cats. That same week, it was decided that the first all-club regatta of the NY season would include a special class for catamarans (one of just 5 classes).

    So the NYYC allowed cats in, the Commodore of the New Jersey YC owned a racing cat, the commodore of the Brooklyn Yacht Club had a cat, and the cats got some very favourable press among yachting writers at the time. And yet still, 130+ years later, some people blame the New York sailing 'establishment' for harming the cause of cat racing..... it's seem that the people would rather run around with a scapegoat to hate than do some research about the facts.

    When the first modern beach cats were developed, the head of the Royal Yachting Association (Prince Phillip) went out and gave them a lot of publicity. There's just no evidence that there was any significant bunch of cat haters running the sailing world.

    Sure, at some stages there have been anti-multi movements. But at some stages, offshore multis had a terrible safety record. In 1966-67, the same time as the only multi Hobart, there were 9 deaths in tris off the Australian east coast. That wasn't a freak, yet at the same time Piver was spouting about how his boats could surf around the entire globe on one wave.... no wonder the combination of hype and deaths caused resistance.

    One of the reasons I get so wound up about this sort of stuff is that it really seems to hurt the multi cause. There is no big hate, there is no huge conspiracy....

    I love multihulls, but this 'all those narrow-minded slug-owning dinosaur-sailing bigoted mono sailors hate us' stuff is very tiring - and I'd bet it causes most of the 'problem'.
     
  9. bad dog
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    bad dog bad dog

    Ok CT, you mount a good argument, and I'm pleased you have experienced little discrimination, and saddened that you have found discrimination working the other way. I can also read a fair bit of passion in your post - and that's good!

    Others of us have experienced a bit of discrimination, but not enough to make me cry in my coffee either.

    But tell me - step back from your own deep personal experience of yacht racing and the CYC and the scene we know well, and look at it as if you were a 'know nothing TV news watcher". Would you not assume that onlt monohulls do ocean races, and that the biggest, best, fastest are called Wild Oats and Alfa Romeo? Doesn't it seem just a little strange that the absolute leading edge of sailboat design remains an absolute unknown to the average bogan on the couch?

    That's really what I'm on about here - making ocean racing multis known to the masses. They may choose to have another suck on their VB and forget it all anyway, who knows, but if we never ever show, we'll never ever know.
     
  10. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    Thanks BD (or is that SB?)

    Yep, if I was that bogan I may think that Goats and AR were the biggest, best and fastest - but the same applies to many other sports, like cycling, car racing, etc. To what extent does a section of a sport have an obligation to allow in other sections of the sport into big events, just so they can get a share of the publicity??

    Certainly the major offshore multi events don't go out of their way to give monos attention - I was at the finish of the singlehanded transat one year and while it was fantastic to crawl around the 60' tris, I can't recall any one trying to share the bright limelight of the massed French TV crews with any other part of sailing.

    Which reminds me - as far as I know, despite the enormous publicity the big French multis get, the multis are still a small % of the general French racing fleets. So there seems to be issues apart from publicity. What saddens me is that I get the feeling that these issues are not aired because people blame the small size of offshore multi fleets on bigotry (an accusation which comes up time and time again), when there seems to be other reasons.

    About your earlier points:

    "I mean, what logical reason could they have for not allowing multis in the SH? ...except that the existing maxi owners would get their noses out of joint?"

    The maxi owners would be as annoyed, and with as much justification, as champion motorbike racers would be if a Formula 1 car was allowed to race them and beat them in a motorbike race. But a lot of sailors (like me) don't have much sympathy with those who use boats that need engines running....it would be cool to have a multi show what a real sailboat can do and then we could get back to racing against the conventional fixed keelers that we like racing!

    But forget about the maxi powerboat owners - the big effect may be on the rest of the fleet. Just today I was working on my own little old boat, which used to do the occasional offshore race. It's not worth racing it any more because Sydney has had such a huge shift towards fast boats. It's much more of a shift than anywhere else - the average size of IRC boats here is larger than anywhere else in the world, and the downside is that fleets are generally down because keeping up with the fleet costs too much.

    Today I heard why one of the oldest and smallest but most successful of the Sydney offshore fleet is no longer racing - it's because while they still win on IRC, they are left too far behind the fleet to get good racing. It's also no fun to arrive in good time (for your little old boat) to find that all the 100' canters have motored back home and the party is petering out. The owner apparently isn't having as much fun, he can't afford a new boat, so one more entry drops out.... Sure boats have always become obsolete, but not to the extent that they currently are, and that seems a terrible waste at a time when technology means that even old yachts last almost indefinitely. Adding ORMA 60s to the front end of the fleet will only increase this problem and make offshore racing into more of a rich man's sport.

    It all underlines what Dragons, Lasers, Hobie 16s, Optimists and Mirrors already showed us - increasing speed does NOT increase popularity, and it often really hurts a class or a race. That's one major reason why no one's keen to see a bunch of 60' tris in the Hobart. Oh, and if we did let multis in, it's hard to see how they would be any cheaper once competition picked up.

    BTW the media concentration on Goats and Alfa annoys 90%+ of actual Hobart racers as well. It also seems to hurt sailing - for example, one (very smart) mate who only knew about yachts through the media assumed that he had no chance of being able to afford ANY yacht, despite the fact that he has a higher-than-average income, because all the media rant on about supermaxis and ignore small yachts. That's gotta hurt sailing in general.



    "Have you read Uffa Fox's biography?"

    Read the bio and all of his books. Can't recall any complaints by him about bias, apart from the Q Class' attitude to the mono Vigilant and remarks about weight in dinghy classes and monos. Like many leading sailing figures, of the time, and even the 'establishment' mag Yachting World, he was an unashamed cat fan who also loved monos....again, little sign of anti-cat bias.

    "Looks like Alfa Romeo is going to win. Tha"t car maker's share of the Aussie market is what - 0.006%? Yet someone at Alfa thinks spending mega-bucks on a yacht is good value. Must be an opportunity for a big tri or cat somewhere..."

    The person at Alfa who thought sponsoring AR was a good idea was the same person who knew that the head of the Australian Alfa importer was AR's owner....sponsoring the boss' boat is a good career move!

    The significant part is that Alfa's owner, like most of these guys, is a very smart mover when it comes to generating publicity. He arranges good PR ops, sends out great pics, and a barrage of press releases. He doesn't sit back and wait for opportunities to come to him.


    PS Having done a few seasons of small cat racing and a little bit of big multi racing, I agree with Catsketcher about the racing in monos v multis. It's great that lots of people love multi racing but there are more people who find that they prefer monos for various reasons. For example, I don't find cats to be as close to each other on the course as monos, and that was confirmed by the elapsed times the only time I've done a statistical comparison. The pity is that many multi sailors assume that anyone who prefers racing monos is bigoted or scared, and therefore they don't ever seem to try to pick up ideas from the monos about how to make racing more popular.
     
  11. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Wild Oats XI

    "Goats"? Gee, I don't think thats fair or accurate and it seems to represent a certain bias, huh?


     
  12. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    Jeezers, Doug.... I've sailed on one of the Goats a tiny bit, know lots of Goat crews (like most people who race offshore here do). We all use nicknames for big boats. There's Skanky, Maxibus, Goats/WOXI.... back when maxi nicknames were centred around hull colours there used to be the Tomato, the Gherkin and the Parsnip.

    It's a joke and everyone knows it's a joke - no one is trying to insult others (as is sometimes the case when remarks are about other types of boats).

    That's the way it is in the Sydney offshore scene - everyone knows it's a joke and no one has ever said that they are offended. That's why one ex-Oats bunch call their new boat 'The Sub Zero Goat" - it's a reference to their old boat's 'Wild Goats' nickname. One of the younger Oatleys and his crew always seem to call his own small canter "The Rum boat" and not by its real name. Hell, the Wild Oats name itself is a pun so no one's too serious.

    BTW the Goat label has been around since the fixed-keel IOR Farr 43 of the '80s, so in no way could any reasonable person think that it is showing bias against canters.
     
  13. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    There are two topics that are related but different. Good racing and Faster Designs.

    Good racing = One Design
    Faster Boats = Open Design

    All sail racing falls somewhere in that bucket. As soon as you add an opportunity for design to factor in, you are opening the door to debate about the merits of the design vs the merits of the sailors. In the subset of sail racing that is not One-Design, you have design rules that are either so restrictive that the boats can race without time allowance or that must use a handicapping system in an effort to produce good racing.

    Simple handicapping systems (any single number system) do not do a very good job of making racing fair or close. They certainly do not work very well for fleets where there is a large range of actual speed on course. Your point about finishing first on corrected time but after the party is over is very well taken. I have what might be the fastest Catalina 30 in Mexico, but it is a 5 knot boat, absolutely not "good racing" against the 6-9 knot boats in the fleet. I'm hardly ever in the same water/wind as the 40-50 foot boats that are having a "good race", not much fun for me and not much fun for them to wait around to see if they have saved their time.

    What I see in the upper end of sail racing is a quest for Line Honours. That prize is for fast boats. The IOR 70 footers and modern Maxi's are designed to win outright, to be first in fleet. They are built with the intent of being faster boats to the point that they now require engines to sail. In that context, designing and building the fastest boat, why would anyone choose a ballasted mono over a multi? IMO it is simply an evolution of designs that the handicapping system of the day could rate somewhat fairly. The handicapping rules did a pretty good job for heavy boats that are "stuck" in the water and are limited in speed by their displacement speed. As soon as you add ultra-light planing types or multi-hulls the rating systems barf. The performance of the boats is so dependent on wind speed that no single number system can produce "good" results for a mixed fleet.

    IMO the current breed of ultra-light monos have sailing polars that resemble the polars for a multi more that the resemble the polars of the moderate/heavy boats they evolved from. This is why the exclusion of multi's from racing against mono's that have very similar performance bothers me.

    You make the point that recumbent bikes are not allowed in the tour, but that is a poor analogy. The two types are so different in performance that they can't race in a mixed field on an equal basis. It would be more accurate to keep boats with unusual performance potential out of the SH to make the analogy work. That would mean limiting the SH to boats that are displacement speed limited.

    Outside a racing context, what keeps the majority of bike riders and sailors in traditional designs? Why haven't the recumbent bikes taken over the recreational market? They are demonstrably more efficient than the traditional type used for racing. The same holds true for sailboats dos it not? We are herd animals, we follow what the leaders in our sport do. The guy on the road bike is Lance Armstrong when he sprints for a block on his ride, I am Ted Turner when I race my Catalina. We are all Walter Mitty at some time or another.

    As far as the quality of racing in Multi's ... for the most part Multi sailors are far behind the curve. They would be lower half of the fleet if they were sailing mono's. In the iShares Cup that Alinghi dominated, an aging ex-Laser sailor named Ed showed the best "Multi-hull specialists" his transoms ... Good sailors are good sailors and partly because multi's have been separate from mono's for a century, we don't have the same quality of sailing in multi's that we see in mono's. From Opti's to the Olympics to the AC (until now), the road to success in sailing is in mono's.

    If you want good racing, you race against good sailors. Until there are good sailors in multi's, you will find the good racing in mono's. It has NOTHING to do with the boat type. ULBD's and Multi's use the same strategy and tactics, those tactics are different than those for traditional (heavy) mono's. The top sailors have demonstrated that they are top sailors in all types.

    One common opinion that the sailors in this America's Cup have made is that they think it might be hard to return to slow boats after sailing fast boats. If/when the top sailors are racing in multi's I think we will see a larger demand for the inclusion of multi's along with the ULDB "Sport Boat" types in Regattas like the SH.

    The sailors that are racing multi's now will be taken to school when the top sailors start racing against them. The quality of the racing in multi's will improve to provide "good racing".

    I'm all for good racing, I think that the exposure of top sailors in leading edge designs in AC33 could have a very positive effect. To the public, the SH maxi's look pretty much like what they are used to thinking that racing sailboats "should" look like, when the general sports news has shots of big multi's in the AC, the "fast" boats in the SH will look old and slow.

    The only reason that the line honours boats in the SH are mono's is because multi's are not allowed to race. Do you really think for a second that the egos that are driven to race for line honours would chose mono's if they had the option to chose a multi?

    If SH can provide trophy's for more than one class, why not allow a multi-hull class?
     
  14. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Very well said,Mr. Hough!
     

  15. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    RHough covered it well.

    I have to say, all the defensive lobs put up about C-class cats not being allowed to race wheelbarrows are just silly. Is a C-class cat an ocean racer? Naturally, no one would want to race an all-you-can-eat buffet against a garden rake, but all this seems like nothing more than an attempt to distract from the issue at hand. The issue isn't "Do they have the right to exclude multis from the S-H race?" Of course they do. It's this: "Would the race be more interesting to both spectators and participants if multihull ocean racers were allowed to compete?"

    I think it would. For example: one of the most interesting races over the past 40 years or so has been the OSTAR, especially in the early years when all manner of boats were allowed to compete. No one tried to enter a C-class cat in the OSTAR, as far as I know, because ocean racing is its own filter; certain boats are suitable for such events and others aren't and it has nothing to do with how many hulls they have. Eventually, rules were devised for the OSTAR that attempted to rein in some of the competitors a little, which made the race safer. But it never occurred to the race rules committee to exclude multis on some arbitrary basis, so far as I know (though I guess I wouldn't be surprised to hear than some monohull sailors had made the attempt.).

    Or consider the Transpac. They've allowed multis for some time now, but the multis aren't eligible for the Barn Door trophy. You can enter a 26 foot mono in the race, but a multi must be a minimum of 45 feet to enter. That's fine; it still makes the race more interesting to me to have multis in it. Can you tell me how the race has been harmed by the inclusion of multis? Apart from the bruised egos of wealthy monohull owners, I mean.

    More to the point, can you tell us how the Sydney-Hobart race would be harmed by the inclusion of multis? If not, why not let the multis compete in their own class? After all, the race currently allows small cruising monos to compete, as well as 100 foot monsters, which shoots down the whole "You wouldn't want to race go-karts against Formula 1 cars, would you?" argument. You're already doing that.

    As you admit, there are members of the club who own and race multis. Why exclude them from an ocean race sponsored by their own club? It doesn't seem fair. Or admirable.
     
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