Tuesday, February 10, 2009

This is one of the reasons I started this blog-- a place to stick this stuff ---that is in the e-mail that someone might want to look through again. This was an unofficial race day and planned as a sort of practice.

The Saturday extra LASER RACES on January 24/09. We were delayed getting started. Fog- no wind- and Sam couldn’t get the RC boat started.. Scot managed to do the starting for us so we sailed from 10:30 to 12:30 with the wind going from light to medium when we finished. There were some MCs working out for the upcoming regattas and testing sails. Two 420s out in the morning and about four in the afternoon high school class. Optis morning and afternoon classes.
Sam was able to follow the boats around and here are some comments.
1) when the wind is really light sit as far forward as you can. Our heavy guy Randy Rea beats us regularly by just pushing a little ahead of the cockpit. Dave C. Sits on the centerboard or just to leeward of it. So does Sam, but he can’t see anything from there and hasn’t figured out how to tack from there.
Wetted surface is the main drag at low speeds so heel th boat to leeward big time even going up wind.
As the wind picks up then wave making becomes the main drag, now hold the boat flat or heel to windward.
A little vang on in light air holds the leach tight. About 8 to 10 inches from block to block and then let the sheet out to where ever you need to keep the boat moving.
2) Good roll tacks gets you about an extra boat length with each tack. Ask to see the Steve Cockerel Upwind Boat Whisperer.
If you have trouble knowing where the next tack will go, sight across the front edge of the cockpit or draw some big black lines across the deck. Check out the lines on Sam’s boat.
In light air to be sure you are on the correct angle before your tack, have your tell tales flowing on both sides of the sail. If the sun is on the windward side and you can’t see the far side tell tale ease the sail out a little and if the windward tell tale begins to wiggle, then just trim in a little. If the sheet takes a lot, then you are sailing too low, head up gently and trim the sail in.
3) Our going around the windward mark is getting better. Get that boom out so you can stay on starboard tack. In the light air have it out past 90 degrees pretty well, so when you heel big time (wetted surface and negative helm and wind stronger off the water) the weight of the boom holds the sail out nice and steady. — try to find a streak of wind and stay in it. (Yes, you are sailing toward the front and looking behind... say that is what my crew used to do.)
4) We need a lot of work on leeward mark roundings. If no one is around, then smooth turn to keep speed up and go by mark close on lee side, not going any further down wind than necessary. When in company then the tactical rounding, coming in wide with smooth turn and exiting close hauled next to the buoy. It helps if you can get the gybe in before the turn. If you are big time by the lee, then you should be able to trim in to get the gybe in. If you do that two or three boat lengths away from the mark that shouldn’t slow you much. Then you don’t have as much sheet to get in marking the turn. We need to be better about taking the long pulls of sheet with both arms. Yes, I know you are steering with the aft hand and arm. You have that long tiller extension, use it.
If you catch the transom (unlucky or not practiced enough) just trim in and go. If someone is right behind you, you want to be wrecking his wind and if you are right behind someone, the next tack will unhook the sheet.
As you go around the mark, head up to close hauled course even if your trimming is slow and the sail has big time luffing. It is just easier to trim then and reserves that close hauled slot for you. Sailing fast in the wrong direction will not help your cause.
5) And at the end we come around to starts. Stay close in light wind because it is hard to get back for the start. Use the 3 minutes A) check the line for bias. B) time the line (helps with speed -distance judgement) C) find a range D) check the current (none). In light air if the fleet will let, you keep moving. When the wind is up a little then do the stop and go thing. That needs practice.

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