posted on November 26, 2011
Just been reading your article about handicap racing without a spinnaker. I have two observations.
1. I club race at Ripon SC (not in a Fifteen!) and the winds there are very variable. Asymmetrics do OK, but spinnaker boats such as Merlins can struggle as the wind is rarely stable long enough to make it pay. From that point of view I can understand the plight of Fifteens in handicap racing on restricted water. I sail an Albacore and one of the reasons is because it doesn't have a spinnaker and therefore is not penalised by a handicap that a spinnaker boat has.
2. On the other hand..... I have sailed my Fifteen a few times at Broxbourne at Fifteen open meetings. Again this is a small piece of water, especially for Fifteens. It is wonderful. The short legs really force you to learn to handle your boat, and become especially slick with spinnaker handling. In other words, stick with it and it will teach you a lot about handling your boat in close quarter racing and you will get a lot from it. The winds there can be variable too, but they manage. Of course it is fleet racing rather than handicap, but as they say, the more you practice, the luckier you get!