The Big Debate
As I have said before, we need to address the increasing age profile of yawl sailors, the decline in entry numbers and the lack of new boats being built.
“These “what if” scenarios need to be addressed so we can identify the wishes of the membership and act accordingly.”
If a situation occurs when there are less than 20 boats or less than 8 boats in one fleet, then we race together with one start. There would still be prizes for red and blue fleet boats. The ultimate decision would be down to the Yacht Club and it would depend on the state of the tide, how busy the harbour is, strength of wind, etc. The idea being that it would be good to race together as one fleet, give less pressure on the watch house and rescue boats, provide better integration in the bar afterwards and generally unite the fleet on and off the water.
With the popularity of the blue fleet and the excessive cost of a new red fleet yawl, there may be a possibility that the blue fleet racing list may rise above 20 which is more than is allowed on the start line. Do we look at seeding/promotion/relegation? Do we reassess the status of some yawls above 141? Numbers would not be sufficient, nor demand exist for the reintroduction of a green fleet.
Should we look at making a yawl more accessible and affordable by looking at a fibreglass yawl to keep costs down? Research has been carried out and it would be possible to take a mould off an existing yawl or create a mould off an existing design and build fibreglass yawls in a way that would ensure they performed in the same way as a timber yawl. The stiffness would be the same, the weight distribution would be the same, the weight would be the same and the shape would be the same.
They could be left on a mooring, they would have significantly less maintenance, they would be cheaper, there would be no racing advantage, they could have timber decks and even timber top planks and transoms if the owner decided.
Being less precious, it would promote loaning, hiring, borrowing, etc. which would encourage more participation. There are a number of classes that have successfully gone down this route and the class has flourished.
Old photographs show yawls sailing with high cut clew on the jibs and straight cut leaches on the mains. This provided competitive racing and a manageable rig. It was less easy to be overpowered or capsize.
Should the classic fleet sail with restricted sail area measurements? The differentiation between the two fleets would therefore be sail area not hull shape. It would allow older sailors to continue sailing. It would reduce the advantage that a red fleet hull may have..