Delta Lloyd & Formats

June 12, 2013 in News

June 12, 2013

Delta Lloyd & Formats

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Delta Lloyd Regatta 2013 © Sander van der BorchDelta Lloyd Regatta 2013 © Sander van der Borch Winter has returned! Well at least it had when we arrived in Medemblik for our first EUROSAF event of the year. As if being bombarded by rain and winds up to 30 knots was not enough, a hailstorm also made an appearance. Despite the weather, racing was great fun and provided another opportunity to see how much progress we had made during the last training period. This year ISAF has been trailing a number of different scoring formats in the hope of making sailing a more attracting viewing experience. The idea is to make it easier to understand and more exciting whilst still producing a worthy winner. In my opinion they have not succeeded on any front. The format chosen for the 49er at the EUROSAF events is as follows; 2 days qualifying (4 races per day), 2 days final series where the fleet is split into gold and silver (4 races per day), the top 8 then take their position forward into a 3 race theatre style series to decide the podium positions (i.e. 1st starts the day on 1 point, 2nd on 2 points, etc.) What this essentially means is that the first 16 races held on the 4 days leading up to the final day count as 1 race, or in other words 75% of the regatta is decided by the final 3 races. In my opinion the simplicity of the scoring and ensuring a worthy winner have both been undermined by this format. The third point mentioned above was to make it a more attractive viewing experience. Whether the scoring system has any relation to the attractiveness of the sporting event is debatable; it is the marketing, the quality of the media coverage, the commentary and the characters themselves that define whether or not it is appealing to a sailor or non-sailor audience. One change that did make a beneficial difference to the racing was the introduction of two windward marks. Having both a windward and leeward gate kept the racing close, made for exciting viewing and produced a worthy winner. More than can be said for the scoring system. In spite of the format we still managed to focus on what was important for our progress, mainly pre-start practice. The conditions also highlighted areas for improvement; with gusty/shifty breeze and short steep chop resulting in a number of capsizes from promising positions. The most prominent of which occurred on Day 3 whilst leading by a solid margin in 16 – 20 knots. Frustrating as it was, it is great to know that we can produce race-winning performances once we cut out the mistakes. Looking back at the results from the 3 big events this year we have placed as follows: Palma – 40th, Hyeres – 24th, Delta Lloyd – 14th. I think we can safely say that we are headed in the right direction. Next up is Sail 4 Gold starting on the 9th of June, with 20 entries so far it is looking like it could be a great warm up Regatta for the Europeans. Team Asher Sterritt