Hiking in the Dragon

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Fred
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:06 pm

Hiking in the Dragon

Post by Fred » Thu Nov 02, 2006 11:33 am

As hiking in the Dragon, specially for a helmsman is destroying your knees and eventually your back, it might be interesting to read the next website which comes to the same conclusion as the university of Leuven (Belgium) on this matter.

http://www.roostersailing.com/merchant2 ... ore_Code=1

Fred

Mickey Lake
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:18 am
Location: Spanish Fort, Alabama, USA

A very interesting article.

Post by Mickey Lake » Thu Nov 02, 2006 3:29 pm

For the past two years I have been sailing a Finn, along with my Star and Dragon. The pain that I have been having is not from hiking, it is from slamming down hard on my knees when I cross the boat tacking. I do have to agree that my quads are probably somewhat overdeveloped from many years of sailing Stars.

As far as the hiking that I do while driving my Dragon, it really causes me very little discomfort. I never enjoyed the straight-legged hiking that I did on Lightnings as a kid, but I suppose that that sort of hiking does allow you to more easily distribute the loads on your body as opposed to droop-hiking. Now, with my foot hooked under the traveler bar and the sheet in my hand, other than occasionally almost falling out of the boat :), it's not too bad on me at all, except of course for the coaming bruises across the back of my leg. I haven't worn them as of yet, but I am going to have to break out my hiking pants next time and see how those work on the Dragon. Ahem, I thought that this was supposed to be a 'gentleman's boat'?

:)

Mickey Lake USA149
A disciple of the Norse God of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker.

Fred
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:06 pm

hiking

Post by Fred » Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:46 pm

That's exactly the problem for a helmsman, hiking with one twisted leg (knee) because of the foot under the traveller. That's how you ruine your knees and that's why I had to stop Dragon sailing.

Mickey Lake
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:18 am
Location: Spanish Fort, Alabama, USA

I am, of course, sorry that the class......

Post by Mickey Lake » Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:18 pm

has lost such an esteemed member as yourself because of a physical problem. I myself suffer from neck and back problems and had to 'retire' from Star sailing for awhile. I know that we have talked about this on the old forum, but what do you suggest as an alternative to the way things are right now?

a. allow hiking aids as in straps or hobbles?
b. enforce a rule that says that no part of your upper body should extend beyond a line even with the outer edge of the deck?
c. leave things as they are (where are they, by the way?)?

I have to admit that, at least in the races that I have participated in, the North American fleet does not seem to do a lot of extreme hiking. Nothing at all like what we see in the photographs here on the web site.

What do you think that the class can do to help it's members stay healthy and sailing longer?

Mickey Lake USA149
A disciple of the Norse God of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker.

Fred
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:06 pm

hiking

Post by Fred » Fri Nov 03, 2006 10:56 am

Dear Mickey,

hiking in the Dragon seems to be a never ending story.
The way it's done right now is ruïning knees and backs.

5 years ago an orthopedic surgeon wrote allready a lettre to I.D.A., which was given to our chairman in Douarnenez, writing that the way people had to hike in a Dragon was absolutely irresponsible.
Nothing happened, nobody ever heard about this anymore.

6 years ago some Dragon helmsmen mounted a fitting (tube) around the mainsheet cleat at the aftside of the traveller to prevent the mainsheet to twist around the swivelbase of the cleat at a gybe. This fitting also made it possible to put your feet under without twisting the knee to prevent the helmsman to be swept of the boat in steep waves. It was not allowed by I.D.A. as they said it was a hiking device.
I wonder how a helmsman could hike far out with his feet near the centreline of the Dragon.

Pumplines, sheets, controllines etc. are used by many crews to hike with straight legs far out. These lines are not considered hiking gear, as their original function is for something else ;)).
Not to mention those who cheat and fix hiking lines before the start and take them away immediately after the finish.
You could even view this very clear on pictures at the I.D.A. site in the past.

In 2003 I.D.A. wanted to test hikingstraps on a boat (out of competition) during the Gold Cup. Of course nobody was interested!
Hiking straps exist already for over 75 years, even in the most oldfashioned classes. Do we want to invent them again???

I.D.A. says they want the class open for sailors from all ages and weight and to give everybody a fair change and possibility of winning.
The practice is these days, that in the top of the fleet, you only see tall and strong younger (professionnal) crews, who visit reguarly the fitness room to be able to hike for a longer time as far as possible without adequate hiking support.
Not to mention even the use of drugs without prescription in some cases to loose weight just before weighing in at regattas.
A team that looses 10 kg in one day before measurement and gains it again in one day before the first start doesn't sound either as in the spirit of the Dragon class rules.

But I'm afraid it's a never ending story as eyes are closed for reality, even when our int. class measurer Günther Ahlers tried to open them many times in the past.

Norma Stodger

Post by Norma Stodger » Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:09 pm

Fred raises a couple of points worth talking about....

Fred says "...in the top of the fleet, you only see tall and strong younger (professionnal) crews, who visit reguarly the fitness room..."

The way I see it is that the people at the top of the fleet are usually very well prepared with a well maintained boat, have done some homework on their crewing and tactics and make fewest mistakes on the race course.

There have been some fantastic results of old, fat, short people who haven't seen the inside of the Gym for a while. Young fit people should be good at a physical sport although at IDA events there is always an older wiser more experienced crew or two in with a shout. Young fit guys don't just turn up and win. They have to get past some very good (and sometimes great) sailors to win. I'm glad the standard of racing is so high.

Thankfully we are not all the same genetically....there is only so far one can apply the one design principle! The fact the in a Dragon men, women, young, old, professional and amateur race against each other is what makes the class a success both on the water and off the water.

Yes there are days when the light crews will not cope so well in windy conditions. Those that did not prepare so well, or are not so experienced, cannot complain that a crew that tried harder beat them in a Championship. We are all different the boats are pretty much the same (give or take a bit of maintenance).

With regard to hiking...I'd like to see the pictures of the people Fred says "cheat and fix hiking lines before the start and take them away immediately after the finish".

I'm glad to hear that Mickey Lake does not find sitting out in a Dragon strenuous. Sorry to hear that Fred found it difficult. Sitting out is not easy for everyone....some Dragon sailors are probably a little bit heavier and less fit than their doctor would recommend (probably because the Dragon parties are so good). I can see that sitting out for bigger, less fit people could be a little more painful on the knees and back.

Even if hiking straps were allowed...fit young people would probably use them more effectively. If things need to change then the IDA AGM gives the opportunity for those with an opinion to be heard.

A few postings on this Forum wonder why so few people get involved. I think there is too much negative chat putting people off joining in.

The Dragon class is hugely successful, offering great club racing as well as international competition, that varies from top flight to more relaxed, in some great locations for all manner of people. The class is newsworthy...exciting...sociable.

Lars Hendriksen made a positive posting and TRW999 seems to be an enthusiast just what the class needs.

[/quote]

Mickey Lake
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:18 am
Location: Spanish Fort, Alabama, USA

Post by Mickey Lake » Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:46 pm

I have to disagree on a couple of points. First, Fred was a well-known champion in the Dragon class, and if he had to stop sailing a boat that he obviously loved because of an avoidable physical condition then it is worth asking if there is not a better way. Isn't it?

Second, there is nothing wrong with discussing issues on this forum. I believe the exact opposite of what you do, apparently. The bulk of the the true discussion on this forum has come on issues that many would consider to be controversial. I can not tell you how refreshing it was to read Robert's series on class development, especially as he is an IDA officer. But he is also Australian and sees things in a different way than the Europeans within the class, just as I and many others outside of Europe do. Discussion and a sharing of different points of view is a wonderful thing, in my opinion. If everyone agreed with one another all of the time then the forum would dry up and go completely unused.

You are right on several points. This is a great class. This is a wonderful boat with great people sailing them, but there is room for growth and ideas are needed to fuel that growth. This forum goes a long way towards germinating ideas among many of us. I would hate to see any of this kind of enthusiasm discouraged.

Respectfully,

Mickey Lake USA149
Last edited by Mickey Lake on Fri Nov 10, 2006 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
A disciple of the Norse God of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker.

trw999
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 2:10 pm
Location: England

Post by trw999 » Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:00 am

Some Dragon sailors can hike harder, better, longer than others. Some choose not to hike hard and rely on thier sailing skill instead.

The rules have just been changed to allow adjustment of shrouds whilst racing. The reason given was that it was too difficult to police shroud adjustment on the race course. Therefore there exists in the future a possibility that the same principle is applied to the rule on hiking aids.

My view is that I'm relaxed on this one. I have the choice to hike hard if I want to, when I want to and I use sheets or main beam as I see fit at the time. I have to say that at the level of racing I compete in, I find myself hiking hard on only a few occasions during the season.

As to the physical damage we can suffer, I feel my back hurts more from lifting kit in and out of the boat and my knees hurt more from crawling around under the cuddy! We have a rule on our boat - no grunting by the over 50s!

T

Fred
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:06 pm

hiking

Post by Fred » Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:02 am

Dear Norma,

when you read criticism in my posts you are right. If you think they are ment to be negative I must disappoint you.
My criticism is just to change some things in a positive way.
Of course you are right when you say that it is only good when younger, fitter and well prepared Dragon sailors beat the older more experienced ones.
But I like to prevent them from unnecessary injuries in the future by a better way of hiking, something that's already recognised in nearly all other one design classes.

Fred
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:06 pm

hiking

Post by Fred » Sat Nov 11, 2006 6:19 pm

Dear trw999 (whowever you may be),

"I have to say that at the level of racing I compete in, I find myself hiking hard on only a few occasions during the season".

Doesn't that say it all? ;)

trw999
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 2:10 pm
Location: England

Post by trw999 » Sun Nov 12, 2006 3:07 pm

Hi Fred

Yep, that says it all for me - but then I am only speaking for myself!

I would love to hear from some of the thousands of other Dragon sailors, though! Surely some of them read this forum and surely they have an opinion. Lets hear them!

Otherwise Mickey, you, me and a few others are going to end up going round in circles - and we've all had enough of 720/360's!

T

Mickey Lake
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:18 am
Location: Spanish Fort, Alabama, USA

Post by Mickey Lake » Sun Nov 12, 2006 3:35 pm

Well, as in any top-flight international racing class, it is pretty obvious that the skipper and crew must be as well prepared to win as is the boat, and that includes being physically prepared. Fred's point of view, as I see it, is that even the best and most well conditioned sailors can injure themselves by moving about the boat in an effort to achieve maximum performance.

So what to do about it? Enforce a rule that forbids hiking out (is it enforceable?)? Study and develop hiking aids? Leave things as they are? I agree that I would love to hear about a thousand viewpoints on this and that this is a good place to do it rather than at a general membership meeting where time is too precious to spend on much debate.

My own opinion? As I said above, hiking out as you see in the photos on the IDA site is rare here in North America. Most crews are content to sit relatively comfortably on the deck and lean back. I am pretty sure that I have never seen anyone extend their bodies out to the point that their mid-thighs are at the edge of the deck. My concern is not so much for someone injuring themselves by hiking as it is for someone falling out of the bloody boat. Seems like at least once a regatta I have to grab the middle-man and pull him back in. If there were a longitudenally run strap that the crew could hook their feet into they would be a lot more secure in the boat. You could fix the height at so many centimeters above the floor level or something. I believe in the Lightning class that the rule is that it can not extend above the level of the deck.

I don't really see hinking aids as a performance issue. Like Fred I see them as a way to make the boat a little more safe to sail, although Fred's focus is in a different area. If you strictly enforce the length and location of a hiking strap it could be beneficial to the sailors.

Anyway, as always I am very respectful of the membership and officers of the class and this is just my opinion.

Mickey Lake USA149
A disciple of the Norse God of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker.

Ancient Geek
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:51 pm

Post by Ancient Geek » Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:57 pm

Perhaps a single hiking aid or a taught strap or bar directly under the coaming would satisfy both camps?
It would add security for the crews and restrict extreme hiking.
Take the repetitive strain off joints saving the older with injury and saving the young from such things.
It would need to be the only permitted aid.
Weight restrictions should be enforced and very easy to provide a sailing weight weighing out and in prsents little problems in Horse racing why should it be so difficult for us! The sanctions for cheating in this and other measurement matters should be made draconian.

Fred
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:06 pm

hiking

Post by Fred » Tue Nov 14, 2006 9:15 pm

Ancient Geek,

I agree 100%

Ancient Geek
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:51 pm

Post by Ancient Geek » Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:41 pm

WE are not the only class with hiking issues the Melges Class are somewhat more advanced in their thoughts and the follwing from their web site.
" HIKING THE MELGES - THE SITUATION DEVELOPS

The discussion about the style of hiking
that has developed in the class has been ongoing both
publicly and within the class. The Executive Committee
has decided to lead the resolution of the discussions.
It is intended to put forward for consideration a
proposal to tighten the hiking lines following the
feedback from Harry Melges after sailing in Santa Cruz.
He tried the boat with taut hiking lines:

“We had two boats and we tightened the hiking lines so
they were completely tight.

It was unanimous that everyone that sailed on either
boat thought it was great. We had girls and guys sailing
and everyone thought it was much better than
hiking over the lines when they are loose.

With the tight lines you just press into them, you keep
your butt on the deck and it is much more comfortable
and civilized.â€

Mickey Lake
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:18 am
Location: Spanish Fort, Alabama, USA

I am glad to see that they are.....

Post by Mickey Lake » Sat Dec 16, 2006 5:30 am

taking a proactive stance on this. If you have ever seen a fleet of M24's in heavy weather it will amaze you that they don't come back to the harbor missing a few people.

:)

Mickey Lake USA149
A disciple of the Norse God of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker.

Ancient Geek
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:51 pm

Re: Hiking in the Dragon

Post by Ancient Geek » Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:05 pm

In Fiona Brown's Blog on the Edinburgh Cup currently being held at Cowes there is a very graphic picture of the crew of a Dragon hiking in as extreme a manner as one could see! They are using pump lines and other bits of rope from the boat to hold them in the boat. I am sure they are breaking no rules since such things are not devices and as much of their body as is precribed is inboard.
I do not care if we hike or do not
My point is simply this, is it not time the class got intelectually honest about this and if hiking is to occur it be done with something custom made for the job which will be more convenient more comfortable and safer.
If not then let's ban it properly!

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