Friday, May 21, 2010


How do we keep the tail end of the fleet entertained? Do they get discouraged? Will they quit coming? We want them to come. The frontenders want someone to beat up on! The tailenders are the frontrunners of the future. Everyone starts there. We have to have them. And how do we keep them coming?? I have asked several people about that and gotten no help, so here are some thoughts..


1) Remember it is all fun for you. Those others are worried about winning a trophy. You are not!

2) If you wanted one of those big silver things you would go down to Merry Jewelry Old Silver shop and buy several really gorgeous ones for a lot less than a new sail.

3) Come early and go out and check the wind or come late and join in wherever. Who cares. You are having fun.

4) Bring plenty of water, soda, a sandwich. You are going to have a party.

5) Sail by the RC and wave to everyone. Remember to smile and laugh. You are having fun! They are checking watches, making lists, checking flags and checking the wind.

6) Wave to all your sailing friends out here on the water. Call them by name if you remember it.

Call things like “good luck” and “don’t turn over” and “did you see that big alligator?”

7) Don’t worry about the course. You are just going to follow the other folks.

8) Work on the small stuff.

8a You are competing against the other back of the packers.

8a1 Usually there is no money or trophy involved.

8b If you are way way last, skip a mark and suprise the next guy with how much you have caught up.–OK, but don’t pass him. He is working hard and you are having fun.

8c Remember you may be getting your own “our favorite sailor award” or the “pickle dish”.

8d You are really practicing “sailing the boat”. Make the most of it.

8d1 Before the start do the “four things” (another note for the four things, if you don’t know) and sail down the line and check the wind. Establish a routine.

8d2 Practice starting at the boat end.

8d3 Practice starting at the pin end.

8d4 Practice starting at the middle.

8d5 Practice starting second at the boat and tacking for clear lane.

8d6 Practice port start at the pin.

8d7 Practice port approach and tack into a starboard hole.

8d8 Follow the fleet Champ and see what he does.

8d9 Practice tacking.

8d10 Practice tacking into a close by the lee spot.

8d11 Practice ducking starboard tacker.

8d12 Practice bare off and then tack, to go behind windward boat that has you pinned.

8d13 Practice tacking on 5 degree headers.

8d14 Practice port tack approach to windward mark. Easy if you are behind or ahead.

8d15 Practice port tack approach to windward mark out past the 3 boat length zone.

8d16 On shore, pace off three boat lengths to see what it looks like.

8d17 Practice starboard tack approach at the windward mark and set up one or two boat lengths above the lay line. That will make it easier to get around when you are with a lot of boats.

8d18 Practice a “ head reach” (luff head to wind and coast around– good for ½ boat length if no waves) around the windward mark.

8d19 When you hit the mark, do a 360 turn before resuming you position behind everyone. More good practice.

8d20 Practice a double tack at the mark (easy if you are last).

8d21 Practice going around the windward mark. Clear the sheet, vang off, heel to windward, sheet out, turn to big time by the lee, and push the boom out if you need to.

8d22 Practice getting trimmed for downwind. Outhaul and Cunningham off. Weight forward with dramatic heel to windward. By the lee or broad reach. Do transitions downwind.

8d23 Look behind and to the side for dark water. Get in the pressure and try to stay there.

8d24 Downwind is the catch up leg. See if you can make it work?

8d25 Measure the guys ahead on you out stretched fist and thumb. See if you can make them bigger.

8d26 Think about entering the leeward mark zone on the left side, just in case you could be inside some other tailender.

8d27 Make note of the last wind shift. If it was from the left, then you might want to tack right after the mark rounding.

8d28 Set up the outhaul and Cunningham at 6 or 7 boat lengths. You want to do that before the excitement of fighting for inside and rounding the mark.

8d29 Sail to two boat lengths to the right of the mark.

8d30 Visualized the close hauled course past the mark.

8d31 Abreast of the mark push the board down and start the circle turn sheeting in with long pulls with alternating hands.

8d32 Aim for passing just to the right of the mark closehauled.

8d33 If the last shift before the mark was from the left (now right), think about tacking as soon as you are organized and the lane is clear of other boats coming into the mark. (It will be clear if you are really still last.) After you tack you will be on starboard tack closehauled, and have right of way over anyone still coming down wind to the mark. Don’t forget that it is slow to be running into boats going the opposite direction, even if you have right of way. Not to worry – remember, you are last.


8d34a Look for and go to the downwind end of the finish line. If one was favored at the start and the wind is the same, then probably the other end.

8d34b If a big shift to the right go left.

8d34c Approach on the first lay line. When you reach the crossing of the laylines to the pin and to the boat, look to see which is closest. Go for the short end. If you can’t tell, stick with the tack you are on.

8d34d Shoot (head into the wind just before you cross the line, so you get to the line a second or two earlier.) one end or the other.

8d35 Get a big drink of water.

8d36 Thank the RC for waiting for you (if they did.).

8d37 Get out your sandwich and stuff, if you brought them. Have a party.

8d40 Ashore, check for water inside your hull. Don’t do that before the race. Don’t spoil your record.

8d41 Check all the lines for wear and make a list of all the things that need to be fixed before the next big race.

8d42 Make a list of all these things that you were able to practice today.

8d43 Find the guy or gal that won the race and ask them what you could do better.


NOW YOU OTHER FOLKS.... Look up these people after the race and tell them how glad you are that they came. Tell them that they will soon be ahead of some other folks. We need everyone, so let us try to keep them coming.



  1. ps - re 8d37 - don't worry about the sandwich if it's the Sebago Canoe Club regatta - we had enough chicken, chili, ice cream & beer for about three times as many sailors as showed up!