Gold Fleet Analytic Round Up-Day 2

Conti & Clapcich celebrate

The 2015 49er and 49erFX European Championships in Porto  continued on today with the Magic Marine Starting Competition and Seiko King and Queen of the Downwind. All 25 boats from each of the gold fleets were tracked with a chance to be crowned as they get off the water!

Yesterday’s winners in the 49erFX fleet was a tie between Lutz/Beucke (GER 161) and Bekkering/Duetz (NED 4) who just managed to squeak out the Finns Ruskola/Cedercreutz (FIN 101) by a 1 point margin. Similarly on the men’s side of things, Visconti/Tongi ( ITA 187) came out on top with a three way tie for second between Bianchi/Lowbeer (BRA 300), Filipowicz/Piasecki (POL 107) and Januszewski/Nowak (POL 52). This secured the green jersey for both the Lutz and Visconti for today’s action.

After being Uflagged in one of yesterday’s races, the pairing of  Nielsen/Olsen (DEN 2) came back with a set of impressive starts to snag today’s starting competition title. Although they were out-dueled by their countrymen Hansen/Salskov-Iversen ( DEN 71) on the start line, the award was chosen to be given to a team not on the podium. For the 49ers, the Polish team of Januszewski/Nowak (POL 52) owned the start line with an edge over the second place team of Alonso/Alonso (ESP 46).

A full recap of scoring for the 49erFX and 49er can be found respectively here:

49erFX Starting-DAy2

49er Starting-Day2

The Seiko Kings & Queens of Downwind award is based purely on the time spent sailing downwind. The individual downwind legs in both races are summated to work out who in theory sailed best downwind today. It is no surprise that in both fleets, the least amount of time spent on the downwind was by boats at the front of the pack.

During the first day of the finals for the 49erFX, the Italian pairing of Conti/Clapcich (ITA 3) held a 24 second advantage over the trailing team of  Lutz/Beucke (GER 161). The Italians solidified their strong finish with a bullet in their final race. As for the 49er fleet, Lange/Lange (ARG 133) came out on top by 19 seconds over the current race leaders Burling/Tuke (NZL 1). Both teams shared the right today to wear the purple bib.

Similar to the starting competition, it was decided that the winner in the 49erFX group would be the fastest team not on the podium. As a result, Ruskola/Cedercreutz(FIN 101) were given the title of Queens of the Downwind with an impressive margin of victory over the next boat of almost 50 seconds. For the men, Lange/Lange (ARG 133) are on top for a second consecutive day with a buffer of 24 seconds of lead time to bring into the final day of competition for the 49er’s.

Complete Seiko Downwind results are found below:

49erFX Downwind-Day 2 49er Downwind- Day 2

49erFX Starting Analytics

With the conclusion of racing in the women’s fleet, came the chance to sift through more detailed stats provided by the SAP Analytics. Of interest was the relationship between distance to the start line and boatspeed at GO with the boat’s position at the first weather mark. Without creating the graph, it can easily be postulated that good boatspeed close to the line, will generally tend to produce better results at the windward mark. When the results of all of the boats were plotted, this was what was generally observed. Despite this, there was no distinct trend in the data to support our intuitions.

The plot below is of the first three boats that reached the weather mark during each race, and their subsequent speed and distance at the line. This was done to help decipher why there were no trends in the larger dataset. Here it can be seen that almost always, the lead boats had similar stats off the line. The noticeable difference is the presence of the three points circled in blue. When these three results are viewed in real time with the SAP tracker, it can be seen that  all three were produced by port tack flyers. This goes to show the variation of strategy which can be chosen at the line or sometimes is adopted in a last minute act of desperation to get out of a tight spot. In the case of the 49erFX, if a boat was hitting the line on a port tack, generally they had a greater run up distance and were often carrying more speed at the time of GO. This is most likely due to the port-starboard interaction along the line and the need for port boats to pick their spot along the line carefully while always avoiding the majority of the fleet on the opposite tack.

The table which overlies the plot shows the average time to the line after the gun goes, for the first, second and third placed boats at the weather mark. This isn’t exact as it accounts for speed over ground and not VMG which would actually be more indicative. Despite this, it does still show the distinct trend between a good start and an early rounding after the first leg. This relationship is further stretched into looking at all port tack vs starboard stack boats crossing the line. On average starboard tack boats held almost a 2 second advantage.

These results play well into getting a glimpse of pre race tactics and how they evolve over the starting sequence. As a boat on starboard tack, as long as a clear lane is found,  they are essentially in control of the quality of their start in terms of hitting the line at the right time with maximum velocity. As a port tacker, it’s not hard to imagine that the run up to the line is far more uncertain and generally results in less than ideal starting positioning but if the decision to start on port is the right one, then it may pay dividends by the time you reach the windward mark. This thought process was interesting to follow throughout the day as  even when the port tack was lifted and course right was far more breezy, some boats decided to remain on starboard tack off the pin due to course scew or desire to ensure a clean start. On the races where the fleet was deeply divided off the start, the port tack boats often were the first to reach the top of the course as a result.

Keep an eye out tomorrow in the Men’s fleet for this, with similar comparisons coming in tomorrow’s analytics article to see if what was observed in the 49erFX is transferable.

Start Analytics,49erFX


Tomorrow the regatta comes to a close with the 3 final and medal races for the 49er fleet. Tune in for live action at!

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