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Sailing By the Numbers

By Steve Davis
At this year’s World Championship in Mallets Bay, Vermont, each team provided data on their crew weight, years sailing together as a team and years sailing Lightnings for the team. The objective was to look at this information for the 60 competitors and also to compare it to their overall racing results in the regatta.

Everyone likes to talk about crew weight and there was great interest in how each boat’s crew weight compared to the other competitors. The range of crew weight was 423 pounds to 620 pounds for a spread of 197 pounds The mean crew weight was 498 pounds and the standard deviation was 33.3 pounds As you will recall, 95% of the crew weight will fall within 2 standard deviations of the mean so 95% of the competitors’ crew weight will be between 431.4 pounds to 564.6. That is a big spread!
Interestingly, when a correlation analysis of crew weight and finishing position was calculated, there was no statistical significance.

Well, we all have been told how important it is to sail together but does it affect results? The range of years sailing together as a team was 1 yr. to 8 yrs. The mean was 2 yrs with a standard deviation of 1.5 yrs. This is very positively-skewed data as 31 of the competitors had only sailed together for one year.

Again, when a correlation analysis of years sailing together and finishing position was calculated, there was no statistical significance. So much for team chemistry!
Lastly, the years sailing Lightnings for the team showed some interesting results. Gianni Cuccio’s team (crew Tom Emch and Adam Lewis) had the largest number of years sailing ightning boats-113 years and Jon Schwartz’s team (crew Paul Krezinski and Donald Schon) was close behind with 112 years. Only two other teams had over 100 years of experience on the Lightning boat-World Championship Runner-Up David Starck’s team (crew Jody Starck and Ian Jones)-103 years and World Champion Matt Fisher’s team (crew Dan and Tobi Moriarty) 101 years.
For years sailing Lightnings, the mean was 51 years and the standard deviation was 29 years. The range was 2 years to 113 years for a spread of 111 years.

A correlation analysis of years sailing Lightnings and finishing position is statistically significant. 16% of a team’s finishing position can be determined by the team’s years sailing Lightnings. Nonetheless, 84% of a team’s finishing position is still unexplained by these statistics.



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