Using ‘Theatre Style’ Racing to Close an Event While Staying True to the Qualifying Series
There has been much boat park talk, email discussion, and feedback from the 2012 Worlds Open Forum on the appropriate role of Theatre Style Racing in a regatta. The goal of having the final race winner win the event and effectively valuing a whole week of racing is a tough balance. This article looks to set out the latest in thinking for discussion.
A regatta runs through qualifying and the final series as per the currrent system in 49ers – 3 days of qualifying followed by 3 days of finals. The medal race is substituted for a ‘Theatre Style’ day.
So we have (say) 75 teams ranked 1-75 through the first 6 days of racing. From the first 6 days of racing, the top 29 move on to ‘Finals Day.’ That’s the top 4 from Silver fleet plus the Gold fleet.
First Round: The first to race are the teams finishing from 22-29 (8 boats). They take their ranking into the series (22 has one point, 29 has 8 points) and race 3 races in the ‘Theatre’ with low point scoring, no drops. Scores are entry points plus 3 race finishes. For example, if the 26th place team finishes the three Theater Style races in 5th, 3rd, and 1st, they will have 14 points (6 + 5 + 3 + 1). 7 teams come out with a new ranking order (23-29) which is their regatta finish and the winner of the series moves on to the next round.
Quarter Final: Boats finishing 15-21 go to the ‘Theatre’ and are joined by the winner of first round for 8 boats total. They take their series finish in with them (21 has 7 points, 15 has 1 point, the winner of first round has 6 points). 3 races are completed in the Theatre, with a low point scoring, no drops. 7 Teams come out with a new ranking order (16-22) which is their regatta finish and the winner of the series moves on to the next round.
Semi Final: Boats finishing 8-14 go to the ‘Theatre’ and are joined by the winner of the quarter finals for 8 boats total. They take their series finish in with them (15 has 8 points, 8 has 1 point, the winner of the quarter finals has 8 points). They race 3 races in the Theatre, with a low point scoring, no drops. 7 teams come out with a new ranking order (9-15) which is their regatta finish except and the winner of the series moves on to the next round.
Finals: Boats finishing 1-7 go to the ‘Theatre’ and are joined by the winner of the semi finals for 8 boats total. They take their series finish in with them (7 has 7 points, 1 has 1 point, the winner of the semi finals has 8 points). They race 3 races in the Theatre, with a low point scoring, no drops. 4 teams come out with a new ranking order (5-8) which is their regatta finish and the top 4 of the series moves on to the Grand Final.
Grand Final: 4 boats, 1 race, winner takes all, with the rest taking silver, bronze, and leather medals.
So back to the original discussion point of the role of Theater Style and does it do justice to the rest of the regatta? Basically, the first 6 days of racing do 2 things.
- They put you into your final band, be it 1-8 or 24-32… your first 6 days of racing contribute a great deal to roughly where you will finish. One test we used to determine whether using Theatre Style is appropriate is whether another day of normal racing would contribute a similar amount to your final finish. We determined that it would not be totally out of the ordinary to move up to 7 places on the final day of racing, so we think is passes this test. A team finishing 9th, 17th, or 25th faces the risk of dropping up to 7 places in the standings. On the flip side, they are also best placed to win their round and move up. There is considerable upside potential for the winner of each grouping. Having the winner advance leaves open huge possibilities for almost half the fleet (of 75) going into finals day, which should keep interest high among those who had a difficult time in the regatta.
- Another piece of the puzzle is weighing the weighting of the 6 days of racing and how many points advantage to give the top teams in a round vs. the last teams in a round. One item guiding our thinking is that it would be a farce if it was impossible for the last place team to win. So in the case outlined above, the last place team carries 9 points into the round, and lets say they win all 3 races for a total of 12 points. Could they win the round? The answer is maybe… for sure, a top qualifier could also do really well and beat them, but they would have a shot at it. That is why we chose to weight finishes with 1 point instead of 2. If the first team carried 2 points, 2nd 4 points, etc… then the 9th team would carry 18 points plus a minumum of 3 more for a total of 21… a score very unlikely to win the round.
So those are the arguments. The first 6 days of racing contribute in 2 important ways. 1st, they place finishers into a band, where they can loose a maximum of 7 places on the final day. 2nd, within each band higher finishers have a measureable, but not insurmountable advantage. And finally, opening up the possibility to do exceedingly well on the last day, and move up 1, 2, or even 3 bands would be an incredable story… one the media should lap up and on that creates amazing drama.
Please add your comments. As always, everything is on the table for discussion.
Ben and Simon