Portsmouth Numbers, Seriously?

Portsmouth Controversy 1/11/2011

In an effort to make general improvements to the racing program of the Lake Monroe Sailing Association, the officers and some of the members of the LMSA have taken on the task reviewing, analyzing and updating or changing the way the races (actually the series) are scored and the way handicaps are used.

First I must say that I think anytime anyone tries to make something better, there will be a controversy. Those affected by the “improvements” will ask “why did you do what you did?”Then they will ask “why didn’t you do this?” Next, the complaints, for example and in no particular order: That doesn’t work, that is not fair, and I am getting screwed. Then the justifications: that is not the way we used to do it, that is not how the other guys do it, I have never seen or heard of anyone doing it that  way.

Then come the what ifs, again in no particular order: What if… my sails are old, my bottom is dirty, I don’t have a genoa, spinnaker, backstay adjuster, the right mainsail, a bow sprit, I am just a beginner, my crew is just a beginner, I don’t have crew, my motor weighs 4000 lbs. Or even more specific, what if HE does this, while I am doing that and the sun is in my eyes and a fish jumps in the boat, hopefully you get the idea.

I suggest that the intended goals of modifying the way the series is scored are: To answer some of the questions and comments of the past competitions, To clarify how the races and series will be scored and, To clarify what adjustments will be allowed to the Portsmouth handicaps.

I suggest that the goals of having a series and scoring system are and have always been to provide a fair competition, encourage participation in sailboat racing, and provide an enjoyable opportunity for sailors to have fun sailing with other members of the Lake Monroe Sailing Association and other sailors as well. Another issue is the amount of effort it takes to manage a sailboat race, sailboat racing series, handicapping, scoring, and maintain some semblance of organization, value to club members, and your sanity all at the same time.

While I may not agree with some of the decisions that have been made, I will abide by them because they were made by the elected leaders of the association and those people that were appointed by those same leaders to assist them in making those decisions.

I would like to see the club take on the responsibility of submitting the scores from our races to the Portsmouth Yardstick handicap committee because the only way it will get any better is for clubs like ours to make it happen. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that, whenever a predominantly social club takes on semi-serious responsibility, petty squabbles, ridiculous dramas, and discontent soon follow.

LMSA has become a significant sailing club through the efforts of the officers and the members over the past 25 years, currently the levels of participation and the general attitude of the membership is excellent. To keep this balance and to continue to grow I think the officers and the members need to reevaluate the goals of fair sailing and maximum participation so that both are optimized.