Welcome to the Starling Class Website
January 2015 #2 Blog
The Starling class has a new National Champion. Congratulations to Matthew Wylie representing Canterbury winner of the National Match Racing championship.
With the new format and almost perfect sailing conditions from 3 kts to 15kts and everything in between we sailed 150 races over 3 days. That was 2 round robins of 12 competitors and a finals series which involved all the sailors. Just at the end the wind went silly and we didn't quite finish the full programme but by then everyone had sailed at least 22 races and that seemed enough.
At the end of the 2 round robins, Jason Hewitt on his third visit to this competition representing Waikato, was narrowly ahead of Jeremy Mitchell (N Harbour) on count back. Jason picked Matthew as his semi finals opposition, which turned out to be the wrong decision because Matthew beat him in the first two races. The other semi, between Jeremy and Nick Gardiner from Nelson Marlborough was also settled in two races.
In the final Matthew beat Jeremy 3:1 and in the petite final Jason beat Nick 2:1
Glendowie laid on a great event. They are to be congratulated for taking on this championship and giving it their special brand of hospitality and welcome. Its a great venue with sailing close to the huge club deck from which spectators could watch the action.
The class is indebted and grateful to the umpires, Mike Alison, Roger Purdy, Tim Short and Hamish Hay for generously giving their time and experience. Without them there would be no event and yet none of them have children directly involved in the class. Sadly from within the class we had no volunteers to help with umpiring and this is a topic for another time.
Thank you also to Brian Peet who once again provided 6 boats, all highly competitive with the absolute minimum of equipment problems. This doesnt come without considerable time and effort by Brian to whom, once again, the class owes a huge debt.
I should just mention that Zoe Bennett (Wellington) and Charlotte Porter (Auckland) were both taken ill during the event. Zoe returned but Charlotte ended up in hospital. We would not want you to think their results were typical and our sympathies go to Charlotte in particular and we trust you will be well soon.
Mat Connolly from Glendowie was a last minute stand in when the girls were unable to sail and made a very worthy substitute but unfortunately his results did not count.
So Matthew is the recipient of the Caltex Cup and one of the new Starling Crystals and the other results were as follows.
2nd Jeremy Mitchel (N Harb)
3rd Jason Hewitt (Waikato)
4th Nick Gardiner (Nel / Marl)
5th Shae Donahue (Northland)
6th Fergus Frame (wild card representing the South Island)
7th Rick Sanders (South)
8th Tom Maidment (BoP)
9th Cameron Wright (wild card representing North Island)
10th William Pitt (Taranaki)
11th Charlotte Porter (Auckland)
12th Zoe Bennett (Wellington)
I recently asked for feedback on the match racing event format and timing. So far I have had three replies. It appeared to us that the standard is rising with many more match racing skills on display this year. We hope it indicates increased interest in Match Racing around the country even if its only for the trails. We would love to get more feedback so that we can capitalise on this great foundation. Several people told me at Glendowie that match racing is not popular with some sailors because they are unsure of what happens, or that it seems too aggressive. Once you grasp the concept that it is about using the rules to gain a tactical advantage and not just a boat race it all becomes more acceptable. I am sure the sailors who attended the debrief after the racing each day have gone home with an increased knowledge of the rules, something they will be able to use in their fleet racing too. If anyone would like guidance on organising match racing at your club then please feel free to ask. The beauty is it only take 2 boats to make a competition and 50% of the competitors in any race are winners - something some sailors may have never done. It can all be done within a few 100 metres of the club with minimal race management.
Finally a reminder that entries for the Auckland Championship at Wakatere close tomorrow or you will pay the late entry fee. Its going to be BIG!
January 2015 #1 Blog
Match racing rethink
I am not at all sure we have the right recipe for the Starling Match Racing. Personally I think it is a great regatta, with national championship status. SCA have invested in trophies etc which we hope are attractive to win. The format involves using SCA boats which are maintained to a very high standard and have been very reliable. Sailors do not therefore have to bring their own boats and are guaranteed to be sailing in matched pairs of boats. We have had good quality umpires. We have been a bit unlucky with the weather last 2 years but we have changed the format slightly so that all sailors continue to be involved right to the end of the event, rather than the finalists being the only ones to sail on the last day. The atmosphere I feel has been one of fun ashore and on the water but with serious sailing.
I did wonder if only a handful of sailors really care, but when 2 wildcard places became available recently there was significant interest. There are pockets of interest where competition in trials is strong but in other places its almost as if the only person interested gets to come.
I would like your opinions as to whether my summary is correct and if there is anything we can do to lift the event to a higher level.
One of the biggest problems is the ebb and flow of centreboard sailing especially outside the major centres. For example Otago and Southland used to be 2 separate regions. Sometimes one or the other would send a rep. Rarely both and sometimes neither. When everyone brought their own boat that didn’t matter too much but for several reasons, mainly about efficiency, we want to try and keep to 12 entrants. For example we can do the draw and make up schedules without having to wait and see if a region is going to send a rep or not; something which we used to have to wait until the last minute to figure out.
Otago and Southland have been brought into one region “South” and so far that seems to have worked. I am not sure if they have trials and get entrants from both areas or quite what, but I have had no complaints.
On the other hand 2 of our regions will not be sending a rep this year and we have had to find wild card entrants to complete the 12. I think we need more flexibility in determining who or where is able to send representatives so that boundaries can be moved to meet the demand. There seems to be two ways of doing that. We could have 3 or 4 big regions which find their own way to select their ration of sailors. For example we might invite 5 sailors from Waikato / Bay of Plenty North to Cape Reinga, 3 sailors from everywhere south of Taupo which would include, E coast, Taranaki and Wellington, and 4 from the South Island. In effect that is what we have this year since neither E Coast, nor South Canterbury are sending reps, but our wild cards come one each from North and south islands
Alternatively we could do it by club or small region,, say one each from Northland, Murrays Bay, Wakatere, Kohi, Glendowie, Hamilton or Taupo, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Wellington, Marlborough, ChCh, and South. Each of those clubs / areas would hold trials which would cover the country. Each year these would be reviewed and re-allocated as necessary. Nobody would be excluded from contesting trials but the hosts would change with the ebb and flow of popularity of Starling sailing.
On the other hand has the event had its day? It is certainly a lot of work if its just for 12 reluctant sailors. Is it right to have the event in January when there is a lot else happening? How about holding it at Queens birthday – 1st Monday of June? There would be time after the Nationals to hold trials and do more match racing at club level. It would also be easier for Glendowie to organise and easier to find umpires. However days are shorter and cooler, but then we are not miles out to sea and races are short.
I would appreciate answers to some specific questions if you can and then feel free to make any points you like
Which region you are from.
Did your region have trials?
From which clubs did the trialists come from in your trials?
If you didn’t have trials how did you select your rep?
Were they the only sailors interested in coming?
Do you think match racing would be attractive in your area during the winter months?
Is being a representative of your region / club a matter of pride for the sailors?
Should we continue with an inter-regional event or simply invite the top sailors from wherever they are until we have 12 confirmed, perhaps based on the last nationals?
Any other ideas?
Second hand gear.
From time to time we get enquiries about the availability of second hand gear like sails spars and foils. These are usually new entry sailors who have lousy gear and want to upgrade but not yet to buy new. If you have any gear you would like to sell let me know. At present I have someone looking for a reasonable sail.. You would be better to sell it than take up space in the garage.
The Traveller series was introduced to encourage sailors to sail in the Starling throughout the season, so there is reward for just attending an event as well as doing well. It has worked well in that it has provided a recommended programme of events around the region. Usually the North Island champs (this weekend at New Plymouth) ranks for x 1.5 points but all other events are equally ranked. That in effect encourages sailors who are keen to do well in the series to attend the less popular events, which in turn gives them more visibility.. This year shows a bit of a drop in numbers at many of these regattas. Having said that there is a drop in several classes so maybe its been the weather. The time may have come when we need to revisit the format to see if it is still providing the outcome we are seeking or would something else be better. There are 9 events with the 6 best results to count. The current points table is attached, reflecting all events up to and including the Wakatere one day regatta in December. If you have some ideas please let me know but please I need something more concrete than just "why not include our regatta" . With the Nationals in April and wanting to keep away from exam time we have a good spread through the season and I would be pleased to see that continue.
Most of this newsletter is about getting feedback from you so please be forthcoming.
Good luck to everyone going to New Plymouth this weekend, lets hope you have some great sailing.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 20 January 2015 14:07)
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Details at; http://www.sportsground.co.nz/starlingnats
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