Pyefleet Week fiasco

Forums Club Racing Pyefleet Week fiasco

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August 11, 2015 at 8:02 pm #2389


I understand that this week the sailing committee are due to have a debrief about Pyefleet week. I thought I would get the ball rolling in the hope that a committee members somewhere along the line would pick up on the views of the actual sailors that took part in the event.

As you can appreciate these are my personal views. In the past I have found that the committees of the club pay limited notice to what sailing members want and do not take their opinions into account.

I thought this Pyfleet week was the worst ever for race management and start times. The lowest point of the week of which there were many was the final race day. For God’s sake we are not running a world championship, why was it such a cock up.

The best racing I had at this week in previous years was from the club line or from the line off Batemans. It is about having a weeks holiday and fun sailing.

I am fast losing interest and if I had a crystal ball and knew that 2016 was as bad as this year I will not enter.

As I said I am trying to provoke a response let me and the sailing committee know what you think. Shout me down I will not mind in the slightest, at least I would have got some sort of debate going.

Kindest regards,

August 12, 2015 at 7:21 pm #2390


Well it has been almost twenty four hours since I posted my original post. No response yet, this would indicate that a; nobody is reading the forum, b; nobody has any opinion or c; we are all innocent bystanders of events out of our control that we have no opinion on or wish to do nothing about. So …………

August 13, 2015 at 11:09 am #2391

Hi All,
Personally I think it is very unfair to say that the Sailing was a Fiasco as clearly the PRO and Crew can’t be blamed for trying to set a good course when the wind is totally unpredictable in both Strength And Direction, in fact delays are Inevitable in any Tidal Estuary.
However, and in light of this, I think Pyefleet Week should be a Proper Family Fun Racing week with the Starts Right in Front so Everyone can watch their Brothers, Sisters, Parents, Kids or Favorites as we always used to in the past, whether from the BSC line or Batemans Tower at Low tide . . . That is Half the Fun, just being able to watch what is going on !
Everyone wanted to see the BOD starts this year especially with so many New Teams racing, and all the other Classes too, both Fast and Slow with both Champions and Beginners and each with their own Special interest, and in particular the Lasers with 34 Full Rigs and Radials, Oldies and Newbies having Super Close battles at the Front and right through the Fleet . . . we all have our favourites.
Everyone I have spoken to agrees that Committee Boat Starts* offer Little or No Benefit to our racing, are very difficult to Organise and Man . . . and the general feeling is that we should go back to the Traditional Starting lines and bring back the Fun and Exitement for everyone on the shore.
Any Comments ?
* Without Proper Moveable Marks

August 13, 2015 at 12:48 pm #2392


I really enjoyed the week and didn’t hear much negativity at all.

I personally am a fan of the committee boat starts. With the predominant southerly winds last week it would have been the typical 1 good space on the start line if we went from the club line. At least with committee boat starts this problem is significantly reduced. All helps the youngsters progress as well and not be daunted at the start line at bigger events. I agree it should all be started as close to the creek as possible though.

On the whole I would rather wait a little while if we have to and sail in more stable conditions on a proper course – to me that is more fun than mounting each other on the start line (not in a good way) and then fetching out of the creek in a procession.

The last day was not great for timing but generally I think it all went well. Prize giving being late was more annoying than the racing delays!

It’s a bit harsh to call it a cock-up. These are volunteers who are running the show and I hope they come back next year.


August 13, 2015 at 1:04 pm #2393

John C

Pardon the intrusion of a former club member who raced in Pyefleet Week for more years than he cares to remember but, got to agree with you Tony…OK it is unlikely that I will race Lasers seriously again (did I ever??) but I would like to re-inforce your points which IMHO are all spot on.

Pyefleet Week is a FUN week. It is not a championship, it is not an international regatta, it is a week of decent fun sailing taken to whatever level of competitiveness the individual wishes to race to. Starting and Finishing in the creek is all part and parcel of the fun…I remember many years back with a fleet of 16 TOY’s beating out of the creek at low water in a force 4’ish…exciting? Yes! Hair raising? Yes! Excellent learning curve for boat handling? Yes!

When you then factor in we started 5 minutes behind a fleet of 30 odd GP14’s and you had the OYC boats moored abreast just before creekmouth…it was “interesting” to say the very least. But we all got out the creek, round the course and back home again with very little if any damage. What we did gain though were boat handling skills in confined waters.

Face it any idiot can start from a Committee Boat…masses of water all around, the entire river to meander over once you have started…it’s BORING. The old fixed mark courses were never 100% perfect, but there was never a blame factor to be thrown at the PRO for not getting the windward leg spot on…sometimes it would be a one sided beat sometimes it was on the nose, but the marks were ALWAYS where they should be!

We used to have a course (from recollection) Creekmouth P, Gazelet S, Cocum S, Pyefleet Spit S, Creekmouth P, TM P x2. There would almost always be a windward leg, a square downwind leg and a couple of blistering reaches somewhere on that course and I never heard anyone whinging about the beat not being true or the reaching leg was too fine…it was accepted for what it was, a course that taught boat handling and use of tidal flow.

I packed up racing the Laser when the course cards became too clever…umpteen variations of silly little windward/leeward courses with heavens knows how many laps…whose bright idea that was god only knows but it really made me consider what I wanted from my sailing and it certainly wasn’t that!

Anyway…just a few thoughts there from an ex Laser Sailor who still loves the little boat!!

August 14, 2015 at 1:37 pm #2398


Interesting – coming in as someone who spends a lot of time sailing on a relatively local pond my family and I thought the race management was so, so much better than we are used to.

Course lap lengths (a lot longer than were are used to) and race target times were spot on, yes Saturday’s took a long time to get away but better that than a horribly biased committee boat line giving the potential for more of those sickening wood on wood “THUMP!”‘ noises… That said club line starts (with Bateman’s Tower at lower tide levels) has an attraction as John and Richard suggests.

For my 2p the only criticism I have for last week was I would have put the BODs as a special case in the SIs for General Recalls, if their first start was recalled their class should have been restarted before the follow on classes – having BODs barrelling down waves through the Tera fleet was character building for at least one of the fleets. Other than that bring on 2017 (we’re away in 2016).

As for the week being a family fun week – we all thought it was exactly that and had a whale of a time.


August 20, 2015 at 9:12 pm #2414


Hi Richard,

I didn’t do pyefleet week although did sail on the BIG Wednesday race and I thought the race comitee were very good. Craig/Alan had a challenge and waited for a steady direction and decent wind strength to sail. Thank you Craig/Alan was a good sail that to me is good race management.

So do you think that comitee boat starts are not worth doing and club line starts all year round? I hope this is not the case.

I am all for committee boat starts as there are so many advantages also it is interesting that the biggest club race attendance was sailed starting from the comitee boat.

I think if we could do a couple of committee boat starts each month from April-July this would setup a nice bit of practice for members who have national championsips in late July or August. Also would help the younger members at the club and if they go else where to an open meeting.

This also has a positive with setting of course so you only need probably about 4 marks max.

Im not on the comitee Richard although from what I can see with the amount of boats doing pyefleet they do a good job.

I also think they do care as in 2014 we asked for some committee boat starts and now in 2015 we have had them added back to the program.

What do you feel could benefit the starting/racing?

I also think its quite hard to start well from a comitee boat to get front row and that’s why i would like to do more to practice that ecspecially in the merlin fleet.

I think the comitee will listen to suggestions in answer to your question.

Everyone has there views and ideal situations of what the club runs although i think a mixture is a good compromise.

Pete Nicholson

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