By Sailing Scuttlebutt
January 29, 2015
The Fast 50 Class is a new fleet in Southern California which saw its first season last year. The membership consists of roughly 50-foot race yachts (the smallest being 46’ and the biggest 52′, currently), who formed together to create a class with an annual championship circuit of the top regattas in the Southern California region.
Spanning 200 miles from San Diego to Santa Barbara, the fleet and the circuit travel as a group with a calendar of eight events per year. Half of the events are windward/leeward buoy regattas (the Inshore Championship) and half of them are point to point coastal races (the Offshore Championship) which scored all together create an Overall Championship for the year.
During the 2014 inaugural season, the fleet saw a steady increase in membership and participation, a trend which is continuing into 2015 with a few new race yachts already signed up.
The class used only one handicap system, PHRF, to score the fleet in 2014, but for 2015 the Fast 50 Class voted to initiate dual scoring using both PHRF of Southern California and ORR as their two rating systems.
The majority of the teams favored ORR for its merits as a purely measurement based rule. Also, when compared to other measurement systems in use, such as IRC and HPR, the group found the ORR system appeared to do a better job of handling the diversity in the fleet, which ranges SC52s and older IMS racers to more modern day TP52s and similar custom ultra-fast race machines.
An additional benefit is the standard use of ORR in West Coast ocean racing such as the Transpac and Cabo races, which many of the fleet members participate in.
The implementation of the new system was a joint venture between a few of the class members, the class administrators, US Sailing and a few local yacht designers. Working as a group, the details were ironed out such that the ORR system will be simple to apply yet quite accurate in terms of rating the boats for appropriate wind speeds and angles for the various events. Wind gradients were selected using historical data, with one set of numbers for the inshore events and slightly different numbers set in place for the offshore events.
Separation of the two rating systems proved simple as the class will award one set of trophies for results under the ORR system and a second set under the PHRF system. Yachts may choose to compete under either of the ratings or under both ratings.
The 2015 season kicks off in March with the Islands Race. The rest of the events for 2015 consist of Newport to Ensenada, Yachting Cup, Long Beach Race Week, Santa Barbara to King Harbor, PHRF SoCal Championships, Campbell Cup, and Rum Runner. Click here for 2015 calendar.
For more information about the Fast 50 Class you can contact the class administrator, David Servais, at email@example.com.