Flying 11 sailors try out new racing format

Flying 11s Nothing To Lose (1320, Charlie Gundy and James Glassock), the leader Hammer Time (1373, Jack Buchan and Emma Jones) and Intergalactic Cooki Monster (1338, Kirrily Biskupic and Harry Combes) in action at Gosford
Peter McIntosh
This year a new format was introduced to the popular F11 class at the first round of their NSW state titles aimed at giving all fairer race conditions.

Instead of all 86 boats starting at the same time on a long start line the competitors were divided into four smaller groups with each group racing against the others in turn.

Principal race officer Colin Chidgey said the big advantage was that shorter start lines gave everyone opportunity for a fair start without line bias or wind shifts playing a critical role during the five-minute starting countdown.

'While divided into groups each boat sails against all other boats twice during the championships before the finals.

`At the nationals the lineup of F11s last year was so large that the start line was 470m long, that's close to half a kilometre, giving sailors no chance to move down to the other end of the line if that end was favourable,' Chidgey said.

`That's what convinced me to go this way.

`Its all about providing fair sailing for the sailors and feedback has been all good so far.'

Dividing large fleets in this way has long been accepted by other classes including 29ers, 49ers and Lasers and despite difficult weather shortening scheduled races the first round of rolling starts on Brisbane Water, Gosford, ran very smoothly.

The second two-day round of the state titles will be held in Cronulla in late February and gold and silver fleets for the finals are expected to emerge from the sail-offs after the first day of racing.

This year the national titles will be held at Port Stephens in early January.

The coloured stickers on the sails indicate which group each F11 is racing in.
Peter McIntosh