Handicapping / classes for OWR races

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Just walked past the plaque I got for winning fixed seat singles in the Blackburn using my ducker back in 89 when you run whut you brung... It reminded me about something that floated through the group some messages ago.

Boat class now in OWR is by number of rowers and some times loosely by working or livery or dory. But it seems to me that the number of purpose built boats has been going up and not so many folks have been showing up in the traditional standbys. So I wonder if it is time to add a category or two, at least differentiate between tradionally built: frames and metal fastening vs. modern. With the exception of Adirondack guideboats it usually means 60 to 100 lbs. Or maybe a simple weight class. For fixed singles 100 lbs and under, over 100. For doubles the magic number might be 150 lbs. Thoughts? What do the oarmaster results show by weight?

-- Ben Fuller (bfuller@midcoast.com), December 21, 2000


Dear Ben,

You are correct. The unregulated "arms race" hasn't been good for open water competition. We need rules that make each competitor feel that he or she's is rowing against others in similar craft. If participation is to increase there has to be a comprehensive system for classifying all craft entered in these races. The Oarmaster Trials and other races have yielded a wealth of data on which to base a classification system. I've written and submitted articles on my proposal for a system of classification but none of the publications that usually deal with these topics was interested in publishing them. The trouble isn't so much a matter of coming up with a proper set of guidelines. The problem is getting the organizers to accept and implement them. This issue was discussed at length in regard to Barry Donahue's query about the Oarmaster Trials. See Oarmaster. Good luck in this matter.


Andre de Bardelaben

-- Andre de Bardelaben (middlepath@aol.com), December 21, 2000.

The Snow Row is coming up. Is this something Mr McCabe would give some thought to? Possibly a "traditional" class. The winners of the Oarmaster as I remember were consitantly light, easily rowed boats. However bad my 350 pound cedar on oak whitehall did year after year in the Oarmaster trials, myself and a buddy managed to come in first in the livery doubles class at the Snow Row one realy windy, choppy, and cold year. But then again the boat was designed for those conditions in that geographical

-- Barry Donahue (bdonahue@cnc.com), December 23, 2000.

I think race organizers might well be willing to set up some more classes, but it is the rowers that need to promote them. Don't know if any organizers monitor this list.... Actually McCabe at least breaks the oag boats into at least two classes, livery and working which is better than most races do. And as far as the sliders are concerned, probably the only system that will work is the recreational/ racing with a L-to-B ratio for each; I think the Blackburn does this and I know they do it for kayaks. It is more than is done for the oag boats.

-- Ben Fuller (bfuller@midcoast.com), December 23, 2000.

More thought needs to be done on this. My boat is 18'long, 5'beam, and weighs about 280 pounds. It is a double, and in the Snow Row it is classed as a livery double.In size and weight it is much closer to a traditional work boat than to a livery boat. There will be stretched Glouster Gulls That are 1/2 the size and weight classed as work boat doubles. It seems that some formula that considers lenght,beam, and weight might be more workable than type of boat names that don't consider anything else. Handicapping by time might also be valuable so that we all could be directly competing against one another.

-- Jeffrey Roderick (lanaruel @ Yahoo.com), January 22, 2001.

Is anyone in contact with Ed at Hull? Perhaps someone could persuade him to have another look at his classes. If he wants to go with the two livery and work, maybe there is a glue and metal class in each, so you don't get a gloucester gull against a banks in the work and a stripper against a metal whitehall in the livery.

-- Ben Fuller (bfuller@midcoast.com), January 22, 2001.

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