Possible Arms Race
( People Building Expensive Puddle Ducks - making participation expensive )
One of the biggest problems that has trapped almost every other sailboat class is the tendancy highly competitive racers to enter the class which starts an arms race. Carbon fiber hulls, top of the line racing hardware, custom 3DL sails etc, and then all of a sudden there are one or two guys in the front of every race in $90,000 sailboats.
This will NOT ruin our class,
because we are different
Fast, high end racers with expensive boats are GOOD for our class
Having skilled, fast racers attracts more quality racers to our class, plus nothing motivates you more than seeing the stern of another boat in front of you. So having highly competitive and skilled racers in our class is a benefit to us all. The discouraging part is loosing to them every single race, and feeling that you will never beat them.
Realize that 3rd place is FIRST for the slow racers
In one of the series I raced, there were 2 fast racers, and eveyone else was competing for 3rd place which they considered THEIR first place. Every now and then one of the leaders would slip up and everyone else got to move up a little. That was always super exciting, being able to win against the un-beatables.
Win By Determination and Consistency
Very similar to the story of the tortoise and the hare, when there is a series of races, the points are setup to reward consistency and determination. So while you may not be the most skilled racer, if you continually show up and race in every event of a seaons, you have a good chance at being able to win the series if others aren't able to attend each event.
Create parameters for your event
The class rules govern the shape of the hulls, fins, and a couple of other things. If you want to add more restrictions to your events, as long as they don't violate the class rules, then you are free to create parameters for the events you host.
One commoly suggested parameter is to race using only homemade polytarp sails and wooden masts. The effect of doing this is to shift some of the competitive effort over to the building skills and hope the skilled racers aren't as good at building stuff, so you can use your building skills to make better sails so you can beat them.
Using only polytarp sails is just one idea, there are tons of different restrictions that have been suggested. The important part is you must respect the wishes of your duckers. If they express the desire for certain parameters, you might be onto something and your event will expand to great success. But be weary, if you pile on restrictions they don't like, they simply won't show up to your event and participation in your area will shift to someone else's events.
There are no protected territories, anyone can organize events
If there is a local fleet competing that has gone expensive or has too many additional restrictions and won't accomodate the type of racing you think is fun, then organize your own events in the way you think is fun. There are no protected territories, and anyone can organize events.
Don't forget, you are racing with your friends
Before you head into additional restrictions to your events, remeber that the people you sail with are your friends. If someone is beating you every race, try asking them for help in figuring how to make your boat faster. I am sure they would love to help and share everything they know, because the better you are, the more fun everyone has competing with each other.
Anyone can build a PD
Here is the greatest reason that Puddle Ducks will be around for a long time and why our class grows so quickly. Literally, anyone can build a PDRacer with materials from local home improvement stores, and our tolerances are loose enough for sloppy builders to still be class legal.
If you wanted to race in a class with factory built boats, you first have to find one of those for sale and then go get it. To get your friends involved, they would have to locate and buy one too (if they can afford it). With ducks, all you need to do is take a quick trip to the store for materials and spend a couple of weekends building them.
Combine how cheap & easy it is to make ducks with all the elements above and you can see how our class will continue to be cheap and easy for anyone to join & partcipate, and it will be that way forever.