Regarding the Starts

We did two types of starts this past weekend. In light to moderate air we did a dial-up start, which is similar to soft water starts. The boats get into a counter-clockwise rotation while there is a horn at three minutes, two minutes and one minute. At the one minute horn the flag is up and it drops at the start. We were at the most 15 boats and there didn’t seem to be a problem with traffic.

When the wind piped up on Sunday the speeds were to high to safely maneuver, so we did a standing start. Both starts were on a beam reach, which is really fun because once you start, the boat just takes off like a rocket. But we had to lay the boats head to wind along the starting line so they wouldn’t run away without us, or capsize on the line. It was odd the first time, and it took some brainstorming to figure out that it might work, and it worked great. Everyone pushed a little upwind, jumped in and bore away. It was very easy to avoid others because you weren’t constrained by going upwind.

It would have been very challenging to have upwind starts because there wasn’t enough room for a fleet of short tacking boats all bunched up together. So we really learned something here. And one of the great benefits of both these starts is that it is no longer a sprinting competition. I think in small fleet DN club racing it will be fun to try both of these approaches. The downside is you need a timer, or a watch on the outside of all your winter clothes. Counting manually, at least for this writer, was a flop: the flag dropped at forty seconds more than once. The upside is that there is plenty of good air and room to move back there so it really wasn’t an issue after all.

Notice how the lee side of Jim’s plank is dead nuts level, the boat is barely hiking, the springboard is in full deflection, and the windward end of the plank is doing all the work. Just superb! The mast looks pretty nice as well. Sadly, it did not survive the day. Final standings to be published soon.

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1 Response to Regarding the Starts

  1. daveross59 says:

    Bill,

    I’ve been wanting to write you about this post and starting in particular. I think your diagnosis of the outsized importance of sprinting is exactly right, and I think your modified start procedure is brilliant. I think it should be considered for all DN racing. Sprinting on ice is the same as paddling at the start of a race on water!

    I’m thinking that your “pushed a little upwind” could be codified in a race by either having a line spray painted onto the ice, say, 10 yards upwind of the start line, at which the sailor must be in his boat. An alternative could be a second signal, a horn perhaps, at, say, 5 seconds after the start, by which time the sailor must be in the boat.

    I guess my first question is whether you think this idea might fly? Do you think the DN world would be receptive? I wonder if Warren Nethercote would be a good sounding board at this stage?

    Full disclosure, I’m 70 and my sprinting speed, never good to begin with, has slowed to just more than a crawl! But that’s not my main motivation as I’m not racing much any more.

    David

    On Tue., Sep. 15, 2020, 2:04 p.m. Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club wrote:

    > billbuchholz posted: “We did two types of starts this past weekend. In > light to moderate air we did a dial-up start, which is similar to soft > water starts. The boats get into a counter-clockwise rotation while there > is a horn at three minutes, two minutes and one minute. At th” >

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