Participation was similar-to 2017, with 30 boats registered for the 2018 series including 9 boats competing in the IRC class. This resulted in 162 boat starts, an average of 18 boats starting each race.
19 boats completed 5 or more races to qualify for the series, but I would like to give a special mention to the dedicated 7 boats and skippers that started all 9 races – Dan Dare, Geronimo, McGregor III, Blue Moon, Evolution, Ned Kelly and Rocket – the hard core of a successful race series. I should really include Carolanti in the group, but unfortunately, they did not quite make the start for the Paget Cup in very light winds
New boats included our first trimaran “Nice Tri” and there was a new skipper and crew for Ned Kelly.
Race Length — the average race length over the series was close to 6 ½ hours, with the last boat taking well over 7 hours on average. We had 3 races when the last boat took round 8 hours to complete the course. It is therefore recommended race officers take a more active role in selecting courses and making in-race corrections to achieve our target average boat elapsed time of 5 hours.
Finishing Times — average correct time race finish spread was still too high at over 1 hour 20 mins – only one race was close to our 30-minute target time. Again, this is something that may be addressed by more careful course choice and active in-race management
Race Office Guidance — we now have now developed a comprehensive instruction pack and process for Race Officers. The importance of being able to make in-race adjustments cannot be underestimated which hinges on selecting a relay boat to understand how the race is progressing
Marconi Line — thanks to Marconi as we used their new box on several occasions this year and was very useful when we could not get a committee boat at Osea.
Race Results System — the adoption of the on-line Halsail results software brought some significant advantages, including preliminary results available on the evening of the race, all latest and past results automatically uploaded to the website, and a range of tools for analyzing handicap performances. The system even has the possibly of recording the results as each boat finishes – something for the future perhaps. I propose we continue with the system for next year
Passage Races — unfortunately, no passage races this year due to a number of reasons – perhaps too late in year, close to Maldon Regatta, only as far as Brightlingsea. The race schedule for next year shows this now planned for August and the usual passage to Harwich.
Courses and Handicapping – I have asked Kevin Whittle and Guy Hawkins to discuss these under a separate agenda item so we can continually look at ways of making the BJRC series interesting and competitive but I do want to make some comments.
Firstly, I think having a performance handicap is fundamental to the success of the series — we have had half the fleet get on the podium this year. However, our corrected finish times are still too high – and perhaps some of this occurred this year due to not managing tide gates better and the unusually high number of easterly winds.
I am generally happy with the process of establishing starting handicaps by triangulating performances in various ways. However, I still think there is work we can do around handicap adjustments during the series.
We have a fairly course system of penalizing winners based on their finish position (irrespective of the actual finishing time) and we make no adjustment to those performing below their handicap.
I don’t particularly want to push my opinions on the handicap committee but I do want to encourage them to look at ways of bringing down the spread of corrected race times
Firstly, it’s important to say that it’s a credit to all skippers that we had no major incidents or injuries during the season despite some often-challenging conditions. All races were completed as scheduled without any protests. Poohsticks suffered a mast head failure and lost their back stay, but quick reaction by Barry Ely and crew managed to limp the boat home.
Unusually this season, 6 of the 9 races had windward starts. With an easterly component to the wind, the resulting sea breeze produced changing wind speeds and wind shifts in many races. This, combined with tides, and varying sea states, is what makes the BJRC series a real sailing challenge. Throughout the season skippers had to deal with wind extremes from no wind at the start of the Paget Cup to over 30kts in the Krohn and Smith Cups
BJRC Handicap (PY) — In BJRC local handicap there were eight winners out of nine races and I am pleased to say half of the fleet achieved a podium place of some sort.
The series winner went down to the last race, where Evolution or Rocket could have won.
Evolution came out worthy winners with 2 first places, and an outstanding season in a relatively small boat. At the final count, only 5 points separated the first 5 places
IRC Handicap — Evolution also dominated the IRC class with 4 race wins, close followed by Monkey Business with 3 wins. Evolution showed that even a 20-year-old 24-foot boat is capable of still competing well.
Maldon Regatta — 3 BJRC boats competed for a BJRC trophy at the Maldon Regatta and was won by Soprano
Over 100 skippers, crew and guests attended the annual dinner and prize giving at the BSC and my thanks to Jan Nuttall, Andy Ellis, Barry Foulds, Donna and many others for making it such a successful event
Next year’s dinner is planned for Saturday, February 23, once again at the BSC. Ticket allocation will follow a similar process to last year but adjusted to reflect the average number of crew carried on each boat. I also recommend that all race officers be given a free ticket to the annual dinner
Thoughts for 2018/2019
Race Reports – There were 9 race reports during the season and would like to encourage more skippers to comment on their race (including incidents) via email when I send out the preliminary results. More input makes the report more interesting
Photos on line – we all enjoy photos of the season, particularly when we show them at the annual dinner. We have on-line over 400 photos of the season – but mainly taken by the crews of Sophie and Rocket. I would like to encourage you to go on-line and add any photos you have. The link is in the reports
Constitution — We have taken a close look at the constitution and after broad consultation revised it significantly (12th revision) to bring it more in-line with actual practice. On agenda for your approval
Social – I recommend that we have 4 social events during the year. The pre-season briefing (planned for Wednesday April 24), the passage race (back to its more normal position in August), the AGM, and the annual dinner
The success of the BJRC down to is what you as skippers contribute, so I would ask you to continue to come up with ideas on how we can best grow and improve the series.
I am well aware that the average age of competitors is quite high and we need to attract new boats to the series. To that end, please spread the word about our series and encourage friends and colleagues to give us a try – particularly from other clubs
Once again, thanks to all who have contributed to the committee, and to the running of the season, particularly Andy Ellis as my voice of sanity, and also the race officers who give up their day for us.
Steve Shape November 23, 2018