Junior Sailing Input Desired

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Daniel Hearn:
Before Discussion Board activity fades to a trickle with the close of the season upon us, the North American Ice Opti Racing Association would like to invite input from all interested parties to guide decisions that will be made for next season.   

The overarching goals of the association’s “unofficial” organizers are to facilitate the development of a class that will allow kids to:
•   get into ice sailing as inexpensively as possible
•   learn to love the sport and participate safely
•   compete on a level playing field
•   gain skills that would allow them to advance to other ice sailing classes
•   have a very positive and fun experience

Guiding Principle
Keep things simple (eliminating need for all kinds of technical rules) and as inexpensive as possible.

With these things in mind, your input on the following topics would be welcomed:
1.   Runners
-   What should be allowed/disallowed?
-   Perspective:  Juniors should be limited to one set of runners per regatta.  The runners should be any plate runner that would be considered legal within the DN class.  Insert runners would not be allowed.   (Yes, this would prohibit the thin, Macur-style runners used in Europe).
2.   Sails
-   Should multiple sails be allowed?
-   Perspective:  Juniors should be limited to one sail per regatta, except in the event of damage requiring a substitution approved by the race committee.  Sail changes on the Ice Opti are more of a hassle anyway.
3.   Ballast
-   Should Juniors be allowed to carry weight; and add or remove the weight prior to different races in a regatta?
-   Perspective: Carrying weight should not be allowed.  Doing so defeats the purpose of requiring that the boat floats in open water.  Practice would give an advantage to lighter weight skippers in certain conditions who would then be able to manipulate this variable depending on conditions.  Would also add more hassle with additional equipment that would have to be taken out/returned from the race course. 
4.   Sail Height
-   Should the height of the sail be restricted on the mast?
-   Perspective:  Yes-- Juniors should be required to carry their sail in the normal Optimist Dinghy sailing position.  (Luff grommet should be within 4” of the top of the mast).  Want to avoid potential practice of carrying it down low, like the DN, and thereby creating a safety hazard due to compromised vision.

Daniel Hearn

Geoff Sobering:
Quote from: Daniel Hearn on March 19, 2009, 04:53:49 PM

1.   Runners
-   What should be allowed/disallowed?
-   Perspective:  Juniors should be limited to one set of runners per regatta.

I would suggest that the only way to eliminate the "runner quiver" is to restrict sailors to "one set of runners per season".


Geoff S.

Ken Smith:

I like all the restriction ideas you listed. 

If picking one runner, given no other considerations, I would pick 3/16 plates for the opti.  Reasons:  lighter weight, more versatile (better in snow), and adequate in all conditions.
Drawbacks:  Not in production, not available used, and not legal on a DN (But I think they should be, don't hold your breath).

Second choice is the same as your first choice.  DN legal plates. 

Runners and sails:  One set per regatta.

Ballast:  Must be fixed to the boat for every race and should still float.  I can make a table (spreadsheet) if you want for a few key offsets that would give you a buoyancy estimate.  If buoyancy is greater than weight, plus a fixed margin, the boat will float with the skipper.  Your no ballast option may be OK too, but if its howling, the light skipper is at a disadvantage big time.

Sail height.  Are they doing that?  Is teh mast length fised and measured?  No opinion here.

Daniel Hearn:
Geoff, Ken:

Runners:  I would be even more pleased to see the restriction be one set per "season."  Agree that the best "one set" would be 3/16" plates, but lean toward choice #2--legal DN plates-- because of the availability issue.

Ballast: Thx for offer, Ken.  (Let's wait for more input and see what the "people" think.) Your buoyancy estimates could very well eliminate the safety concern.  In my mind, safety has to be the top consideration regarding ballast, with performance a distant second.  Regarding performance, if we go the permanently attached route, then I would think that should have to apply for a "season" also.  Agree, it would help the lightweights when it's howling, but a heavier skipper can't shed weight for a regatta that is forecasted to have light wind conditions.  (goal: compete on level playing field)

Sail Height:  Not happening yet, but as the parent of a lightweight, I've thought about it.  The standard Opti rig could easily be dropped down quite low.  Again, our safety goal comes into play.  On this one, I'd just like to see us avoid a potential issue before it even happens.  In Optimist Dinghies, I assume mast length is fixed and measured.  I'm just assuming everyone is using a "standard issue" Opti mast.  It is my opinion that we should discourage activities that push the technological envelope to gain competitive advantage.  Particularly if such an activity could compromise safety.   

DN 805:
Sail position on the mast in the International Optimist Class (soft water) is determined with a short stripe on the luff of the sail needing to align within the space between two stripes around the mast.  I don't know the exact location of these stripes, but this system is easy for all to comply and easy to see and enforce.

The Ice Opti rules with respect to hull construction are loose.  They don't have to look like DNs, though the Ice Optis in North America currently look like DNs.  I'm not sure about the rules, but if a hull can be built that is essentially an open boat with no sizeable area enclosed  it seems the best approach to assure flotation capabilities is to not allow ballast.  And no ballast means  less hassle for the sailors.

Absolutely the runners should be DN plate runners falling within DN specs.  Used ones readily available.  And the weight on the ends of the plank stablizes the boat.

It is difficult to regulate the number of sails and runners per season.  The way to beat that game is to buy or build a new boat every couple of weeks, which would certainly not be good for Class development.      Better to regulate per regatta to one sail and one set of runners. 

DN 805


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