Fast Fleet, Slow Fleet.
Gold Fleet, Silver Fleet.
What’s it all about?
First of all, the Fast Fleet is the Gold Fleet & the Slow Fleet is the Silver Fleet. These are just different terms that have been used over the years.
Currently, we’re using Slow Fleet & Fast Fleet as they are unambiguous terms!
We (The Sailing Committee) have determined that the Slow Fleet is for boats with a PY of 1207 & above. (The Laser 4.7, Byte C1 & above). Other clubs & events determine their slow fleet differently eg. 1143 & above. (This would put the Solo in the slow fleet….there is a Solo at the club that goes ‘faster’ than the ‘Fast’ fleet. It might have something to do with appendage attached to the tiller extension, We can’t confirm that though.)
Within the racing calendar, there are numerous trophies to be competed for.
Some consist of a series of races over many weekends. (eg. The Aries Cup)
Others are one-off races or a series of 2/3 races on the same day (eg. Commodores Cup)
Now, there are a few members that would like to have dedicated starts & smaller courses for the Slow Fleet.
The Sailing Committee (We) do take this in to consideration & make decisions with an eye on the bigger picture.
- We are restricted by the numbers of experienced members on our duty teams.
Setting up 2 courses with 2 different starts does make the job of Race Officer more complicated.
We want to make duties easier & more enjoyable for our volunteers so we get more!
- We have encouraged different starts & courses this year, on the days when there is a one-off race, or one-off series. This is up to the Race Officer on the day.
However, up to the end of June 2019, we have only averaged 4 Slow Fleet boats competing.
It would be a lot of extra effort for the Race Officer to cater for a separate fleet of 4.
- The reason we have encouraged smaller courses & separate starts for the Slow Fleet on the selected events mentioned in (2) above, and not on every weekend, is very simple.
Take the Aries Series. We have the Spring Series which runs in parallel for the Slow Fleet.
If we had a smaller course & separate start for the Slow Fleet, 2 races would have had 1 starter only, 2 races with 2 starters, 1 race with 3, 1 race with 4, 1 race with 5 & 1 race with 6.
- These Slow Fleet competitors can currently win 2 trophies! Eg we have, in the past, had a cadet win the Aries series AND the Spring series. That can’t happen if we have separate courses/starts.
- Slow Fleet boats, mostly, are helmed by cadets. We believe/like these helms to compete against adults/faster boats as it encourages & helps their progression in to accomplished sailors
- In the round, on the whole, looking at the bigger picture, (slow fleet competitors change from year to year, some will be highly competitive, others less so) we believe that it is best to carry on as we are, for the club as a whole.
- It should also be noted that we only ever set small courses for our club racing, despite having a huge area to choose from! So we have already reduced the sizes of our courses, with consideration to the slower boats.
- Finally, it really is a chicken & egg scenario. If we find that we regularly have a minimum of 10 Slow Fleet boats on a Sunday, then We would look at it again.
- So….get more Slow Fleet boats sailing & drive the issue!