Sailing is a wonderful sport. It gets people out into the open air, it allows people to lay back into a new dimension. Sailing is also a very complex sport, and it is very competitive.
Almost every Class Association, almost every Yacht Club, wants to do 2 things:
- It wants to have an active competitive racing fleet that is going to produce exemplary , competitive, serious racers who will persevere against the greatest odds, to win.
- It wants to have a wholesome family atmosphere that welcomes new sailors, helps them get better at sailing, makes them feel at home, and nurtures them.
These 2 “wants” are often in conflict with each other, and sometimes manifest themselves as a “racing” and “cruising” class.
B Fleet is a “Hobie institution”. It is the place where new sailors are introduced to the joys of racing, and where other sailors, who just want to go out and play, or take friends out, go and be relatively sure they won’t get embarassed or get yelled at.
The Main objectuve of “B Fleet” is to introduce new sailors to the joys of racing by nurturing them in a less serious atmosphere.
It allows them to sail in company, to gauge their skill level, and keep tabs on their own improvement and performance.
It allows them to compete without overwhelming themselves with finer complexities of the already complex rules.
It can allow good, but less serious, racers with older boats to sail in the company of novice sailors with newer, faster boats. These older sailors will usually be more consistent than the novices, and can provide a valuable gauge for novice performance and improvement. They can also provide safety and advice.
It gives budding serious sailors a goal of “getting thrown out of B fleet”. A diploma so to speak.
It provides race management with a “management window”. Race management can divide the fleet if it wants. It can start the fleets separately particularly if individuals in “B” fleet are causing races to be too long,
B FLEET RULES
There are the objectives above , and guidelines below, but there are no hard and fast rules for being included in B Fleet.
There are many reasons for this, such as that skill levels of the fleet change, and the size of the fleet changes.
The fleet will occasionally grow with the membership of a highly skilled group of people. This may push A fleeters into B.
On the other hand, sometimes A fleet stagnates. B fleet starts getting as good as A fleet, then suddenly, there is a large increase of new sailors. The result is that a large group of B fleeters will need to be moved to A.
Therefore, in the decision making process, if there is a conflict between “Objectives” and/or “Guidelines”, it is the objectives that must take precedent over the latter.
It is difficult to manage the transition between A and B, but ultimately, there must be a final decision, and that decision must rest with the Commodore of the fleet. It is his/her right to assign the decision to a committee, or take advice from a recomemdatory committee.
GUIDELINES for getting into B-Fleet.
The concept is for the bottom 20- 35% of the fleet to comprise that core nurturing arena.
B fleeters are those who comprise a “second pack” of boats, that usually finish long after the leaders.
Active sailors who are just learning to sail are often in this group for a year or so.
The list of B fleeters is reviewed before or after Major B fleet events. In the case of TLYC, those events are currently the National Championships, The Club Championship, and the Round Taal Volcano Regatta.
Older boats are sometimes less competitive and/or are prone to breakdowns. They are sometimes placed in this fleet.
As much as possible, an active B Fleeter should not be kicked out of B fleet, until he wins something in B fleet.
GUIDELINES for getting Thrown out of B-Fleet
When a B-Fleeter wins a Major B-fleet event, he is subject for review. It almost guarantees a move to A fleet. Even a second or 3rd place trophy is sufficient if a lot of sailors are being moved to A.
When a B fleeter starts beating the other B-fleet racers consistently, he is subject for review.
When a B fleeter is consistently placing in the top half of open events like regular club racing, he is subject for review.
If a B fleeter gets kicked up into A Fleet, he can appeal, but he should stay in A for at least 2 years.
Someone who is fighting really hard to stay in B fleet, probably belongs in A.