Friday, July 31, 2009

This is sort of a table of contents for a more detailed article that is only in rough draft now.
Arrive early
Skippers meeting.
Written sailing instructions
Everything together before you leave the shore
Do you need a check list?
Course board at the committee boat.
Get the time signals right
Don’t hit anyone before the start.
Three types of tacks.
Four types of gybes
Sail high and slow
Sail low and fast (bow down)
Vary the heading, down to get speed and dig the blades in and up for height.
Heel to windward to get up wind.
Work on shifts up wind and down wind.
Windward mark rounding.
Leeward mark rounding.
Gybe mark rounding
Stop and go
Stop and hold
Tack on the line and tack back.
Bail out early
30 seconds fast up wind
Entering the zone upwind.
Entering the zone downwind
Shifting gears upwind and downwind
By the lee
Waves upwind
Waves downwind.
360 and 720
Turn downs
Turn overs
Death rolls
Stand up
On the bow
Steer by heeling.
San Francisco roll
Head out of the boat.
Look around 360
Angle of the other boats
Watch the clouds.
Practice all the stuff you will need to do in the race.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Strategy for the first beat-------

Wind Shifts — 10 degrees gives 25 % of the separation.
Foot to the headers.
Stick with the lifts.
Cross the others when you can.
Don’t let them cross you.
Stay out of the corners.
Delay going to the lay line.
If ahead reduce the separation.
If behind, increase the separation?
Take the long tack first.

Sail the course an hour ahead of race. Big boats record the wind headings.
Little guys can at least get orientation of first mark from the starting area.
Little guys off shore–OK get your compass on.

Windy (pressure) side of the beat.

Shore side. (Shore effect)

Link together patches of dark water in light air.

Persistent shift (the last shift before the windward mark) the big question in long races.

When in doubt in the northern hemisphere work right ( gradient wind coming down will be shifted to the right) and to the left in the southern hemisphere.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The STARTS program from North U July 15, 2009....
Before the start, the 4 things.
1. Favored end
2. Get a range on the line.
3. Time the line.
4. Check for current. Remember #4, you may not always sail on Lake Eustis

Pin end of line. If the line is square will give you clear air and everyone else sails in dirty air.
Best end if you want to go left.
Hard to hit it just right and if you are late it is a hard bail out.

Boat end . You can tack to go right or with a wind shift any time or charge to left side.
A late start here not so bad as you can tack out for clear air if needed.
Easy to get scraped off on the RC boat by leeward ROW.

Mid line. Not as crowded and therefore safer.
Mid line sage will help you.
Hard to judge just where the line is. Now you need the range.

Vanderbilt start. Broad reach out and close reach in to start at full speed. Historic interest only.

Reach out and back. And start on Starboard.

Half speed start. Sail out to 30 seconds spot and be there at 60 seconds. Sail back at half speed.

Luffing dinghy start. Small light boats like Lasers sit luffing about a boat length behind the line till the last seconds before the start.

Port tack the fleet. Occasionally catch the fleet at the boat end with a big left shift and start at the pin and cross fleet on port tack.

Port tack start. Sail down the line on port tack and tack into a gap you find between starboard luffing boats.

Delayed port tack. Hang out just below mid line and watch wind shifts. If left you will be first to pin end..

Elstrom start. Hang back below luffing boats at boat end so it there is a left shift in wind you can cross there sterns and get to pin end.

Stay in "starting box" , not up wind or down wind of starting line, but stay alert to running into each other. Most collisions happen here before the start. In light wind, really stay close.

Blue flag to indicated the RC boat
Red flag to indicate the "line" position sighted from RC boat.

Repeated sound signal calling attention to timed signals.

Warning signal with class flag (LESC Laser uses a white flag with P on it for Portsmouth)

Preparatory signal–International P– blue flag with white square center. Racing rules start.
Around the ends Yellow flag with black circle
20% penalty Z flag -four different colored triangles meeting in middle.
Black flag= over the line and automatic DSQ
These last three flags used with large aggressive fleets to control the starts.

One minute Preparatory flag and penalty flags come down. Class flag remains up

Start =Class flag comes down and next class flag goes up..

Recall Two horns and white flag with vertical cross= individual recall.
Two horns and triangle blue edges and yellow center = general recall.

Postponement Red and white vertically striped pennant.

Cancellation Black and white checkered flag.

Be sure to read the Sailing instructions and understand them and the course board on RC boat before your start. Easy to forget this if you have been long time racer and think you known it all.

With the five minute stating sequence, Warning is 5 minutes to start. Preparatory is four minutes till start with the penalty flags if any. Then 3 minutes with no signal. At one minute the prep signal and penalty flags come down and only the class flag is up. At the start the class flag comes down and the next class flag goes up. (This is their warning signal.) And Individual recall or general recall flags with two horns.

The Laser (Portsmouth fleet) at LESC uses a 3 minute sequence with two flags. (Aren’t you glad.) Course is called out from the RC and passed along from sailors. Multiple toots means signal soon. Three long toots is three minutes warning signal with class flag (white with black P for Portsmouth). At two minutes two long toots and International P flag (Blue with white square center) Preparatory signal and rules begin. At one minute the Preparatory flag comes down with one long toot. Start with one long toot and class flag comes down. So far we have had only one start. If we have three or more 420 we will consider a separate start –maybe.

The high school sailing group use the sound starting system so that watches are not necessary. (Still useful)
3 long toots = 3 minutes (Warning)
2 long toots = 2 minutes ( Preparatory)
1 long and 3 short = 1 minute 30 seconds
1 long = 1 minute
3 short = 30 seconds
2 short = 20 seconds
1 short = 10 seconds
1 short = 5 seconds
1 short = 4 seconds
1 short = 3 seconds
1 short = 2 seconds
1 short = 1 second
1 long = 0 (Start)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Now that we have more people sailing regularly, it is more crowded at the weather mark . Remember now the "zone" has gotten to 3 boat lengths. When you come into the zone inside the 3 boat lengths on port tack and try to squeeze in by tacking onto starboard below or in front of a starboard tacker, if they have to go high or low to miss you it is your fault– the 720 thing. If you need the rights of the starboard tack boat, then tack to starboard outside the three boat length circle. If you have a good lead or you are way behind, then it doesn’t make any difference where you make you tack. Rule 18.3

If you tack inside the zone, then make sure you have enough room to get around ahead of the starboard group or go behind them and go far enough so you can get around the mark in a little bad air or a bad wind shift.

A note about waves (from the wind–not motorboats), while I am at it. The waves always go slower than some sort of average wind speed. When the wind increases it tends to make them faster and bigger but limited by the water depth, fetch (how far the wave has been running) and their own wave making rules –something like speed=1.34x square root of the wave length.

Soooo, when the wind drops a little, the waves will be catching up and going past the boats going down wind. Try to get on one and surf it.

When the wind picks up, you will be sailing faster and maybe catching up with the waves. Now you want to go around the big ones and go through or between the little waves.
Now actually you will be looking for the low spots both ways. To get surfing try to dive into the biggest hole you can find in front. When you take off, try to turn and run down the side of the wave as far as you can.

If you are catching up to the waves then you want to be looking for the little ones to go through and around the big guys.

Now do "transitions" to go with and around waves. Whoever has my DVD of the Athens Olympic races (it never came back to the LESC library) can watch Robert Scheidt win the Gold medal doing transitions around the waves. He turns about every 4 or 5 boat lengths.. Stay on starboard if you can. When by the lee, roll the boat to the left to turn right and trim the sail to broad reach when you flatten out. Pick a spot in a wave and then roll the boat to the right to turn left and ease the sheet to by the lee. Don’t stop at dead down wind–slow and unstable when the wind is up.

It takes a lot of practice. You get to roll the laser to help steering and if you don’t keep pumping it is OK. So Jon and Luke, don’t get bored going down wind. Practice the transitions

AND don’t forget going into a death roll. Then turn the rudder toward (tiller away from) the boom (rudder in the water straightens the boat) and jump to the boom side to get flat again. You rescued yourself from turning over– not you fault you got a bust of speed.. Ask Ben to show you how.

How do I know all this stuff?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Two weeks ago we had all these questions about the rules. I was going to copy all the stuff out of the rule book but it is so intertwined that I gave up. Then the computer went down and I was out of business for a while. I will try to have my free (downloaded) rule book in my car so you can read the stuff for yourself and here is the meat of the matter.

Essentially the ZONE is now three boat lengths in radius instead of two. The rule numbers and wording have changed, but the sailing is the same except "Proper Course " for the boat being overtaken to leeward has been deleted . The boat being overtaken can now sail below its proper course to interfere with a boat trying to pass either to windward or to leeward. The windward boat will still have to "keep clear" and the leeward boat can’t sail above its PROPER COURSE.

One question was touching the finish marker at the finish. YOU MUST NOT TOUCH IT AT THE FINISH OR AFTER FINISHING. RULE 31. Do a 360 and finish again. You may do the 360 on the finish side of the line, but then return to the racing side of the line before "finishing".

NOTE that is rule 31– Don’t touch the marks while RACING. The RACING begins with the preparatory signal (two minutes in the 3 minute sequence.). So you can hit the starting mark or the committee boat at 2 ½ minutes to go with out penalty. If you hit them with 1 ½ minutes to go then you need a 360 turn that you can do by getting clear of the other boats and do it before the start if you are fast. Rule 44.2 Same with a Rule Part 2 penalty ( a 720 turn) at 1 ½ minutes. Get clear and do the turns before the start if you can.

We had this other question of two boats on starboard close hauled sailing to the finish line and the boat to windward staying clear. The boat to leeward has the right to "shoot the line" (come head to wind just at the line) but should warn the windward boat it is going to do that. Rule 16.1 "When a right of way boat changes course, she shall give the other boat room to keep clear."

Another question was the three boat length zone at the leeward mark. It is not a red line in the water so it is probably best answered by some shouting back and forth. If you think you have an inside overlap, say it loud and clear. If you think you are clear ahead , say it "no overlap at the zone".

One tactic is to sail to the left side of the zone and just as you think you are about to cross that red line into the zone turn to the right to enter the zone. This should move anyone who just has a marginal overlap into the "no overlap" position.
On bigger boats, a good solution is to ask the boat ahead if you have an inside overlap. The helm and tactician are near the stern of the boat and a better place to see. If they say no, then go behind them for a good tactical rounding. On a Laser the helm is pretty much in the middle of the boat and the rudder counts, so just yell back and forth. Be as honest as you can, as it maybe just the other way around next time.

If you do not have an overlap on the boat entering the zone, you must give him room to round the mark. This means that as they slow up due to blanketing from boat behind , maneuvering around the buoy , sail trim to round and gybing, you must keep clear. If you end up hitting the boat ahead as well as the mark, you only have to do a 720 for the boat hit. If you just hit the buoy, that is just a 360. Rules 18.2, 44.1 and 44.2.

So stay clear and make a wide turn so you are not so close that you hit them. If they make a sloppy rounding and leave a gap between them and the buoy, be careful sailing into that spot. You will be the windward keep clear plus keep clear for rounding. If they head up quickly to head to wind or close hauled you may be nailed. The mark rounding does not include tacking, but short of that, it is getting around the mark.