Occasionally one of our race days is going to be inconvenient for one fleet or another. Two years ago, for example, we held a substitute race day for just the el-Toro fleet, because their Pinecrest event conflicted with one of our race days. The cost of running separate races like this is the need to man more race committees.
We could set fewer race days, to better avoid sailing conflicts, but this give members with busy non-sailing schedules fewer opportunities to race. Also, it is not obvious which day(s) we would skip because the seasonal pattern of race attendance is different for each fleet.
Having races as often as we can attract a critical mass would be the way to maximize racing opportunities for members.
One downside of racing often is that busy sailors will miss race days, and missing one day uses up all your throw-outs for a series, worsening your series and season scores. This is just an artifact of our scoring system.
We are apparently not the only club in this situation, because US Sailing suggests other methods for scoring a series that spans several months (like our Season championships) at http://raceadmin.ussailing.org/Rules/Long_Series.htm. An extract follows:
Over the course of a long series, many entrants in a series will, for any of a variety of reasons, find that they must miss one or even several races in the series. Under the High-Point Percentage System, a boat 'qualifies' for a series if she sails XX% of the races in the series. Her series score is based only on the races in which she competes, and therefore, provided she sails in sufficient races to qualify for the series, she is not placed at a disadvantage if she misses some races. Also, the High-Point Percentage System has the advantage that a boat that wins a race in which a large number of boats compete is rewarded more handsomely than a boat that wins a race against a smaller number of competitors.
In the High-Point Percentage system, each race offers the potential to earn points equal to the number boats competing. If seven boats compete, then the first-place finisher gets 7 points, the second-place 6, and so on. A DNF or RAF, etc., earns 0 points.
A skipper’s Season score would be his total earned points, divided by the points he could have earned by finishing first in every race he sailed. This ratio is expressed as a percentage. An example of this system is shown in the table below, where “too few” indicates the boat did not sail enough races to qualify.
The High-Points Percentage system looked the best for us, out of those I reviewed. No system is completely fair (whatever ‘fair’ means) but this one does a good job of removing the quirks that other systems have when there is variable attendance. The High-Points Percentage system applied to our results from the past two years, http://k-ohara.oco.net/Fremont/scoring.html, makes only small changes in the results, so there is not too much risk to trying something new. The question is whether the club finds this method reasonably intuitive, and interesting.
If we were to adopt this system, we would choose the fraction of races required to qualify; 50% looks about right to me, given attendance patterns over the past two years. We would also choose whether to have a throw-out, and whether to count guest sailors in computing available points for members. The board could easily settle these details. In practice, we would assume every boat registered for a race day competed in each race that day, unless the skipper noted his DNCs on the sign-up sheets (just like we already ask you to note your DNSs or DNFs).
If we adopt a different system for the Season score, I suggest keeping Spring, Summer, and Fall Series scoring the same as it is now: best six results out of nine races. Our present system encourages good attendance, because you get to throw out your below-average sailing performances if you start all nine races. Also, if we make a change, having a mix of systems seems more fun.
I did not propose this to this board meeting because I didn’t know if the membership wanted a change. So for a different scoring system to be considered I would need to hear from you. If I hear interest, I will present a proposal at our general meeting on 2 May.