Friday, October 29, 2010


Malcolm Gladwell in this book explores the lives of people like Mozart , the Beatles, Bill Gates, and other really successful people to find that before success, they had put in at least 10,000 hours of practice (or trial) before they got really good at what they were doing.

10,000 hours is what?  It is an 8 hour day, 5 days a week for almost 5 years with no time off for Christmas or sickness.

Now that is his 10,000 hour rule. That is the minimum that great performance needs.

He thinks no one is just born with the talent.

You have to pay your dues.

So how much sailing

practice and regatta

sailing will you

be doing this

week, month,

or year?


Monday, October 25, 2010


This note stolen from Sailing World (November- December 2010) Steve Hunt “Open Your Bag of Tricks”. He notes 10 tricks and I just stopped with number one. “Sail the boat at the optimum angle of heel”.

I love this picture of Steve Cockerel sailing in wind and waves. He is almost flat. Flat is fastest, but with waves and spray, a little heel encourages the foredeck spray to roll off and not all come into the cockpit. He is rocking back and heading up to go over the next wave. Most importantly with the supervang, he is sheeted out a foot or so past the transom, to keep sailing fast and hold the angle of heel. Don’t let the gusts increase your heel. Sheet out and if you are supervanged the mast doesn’t straighten when you sheet out. Now you are going faster. If you heel, you will be doing more leeway, slower and rudder dragging more, as you try to keep going straight.

In less waves try to keep the boat flatter. You might even be able to sail with windward heel which makes the a asymmetrical hull work to weather. When the wind is very light, then weight forward and big time leeward heel to reduce wetted surface. (When you are going slow and not making any waves, then wetted surface is holding you back.) Going down wind, it is max windward heel to get the sail up into more wind and the center over the boat so you don’t need much rudder.

If planing, move way to the back to get the bow up and boat flat. You will be more stable planing on the flatter surfaces at the stern.

So the optimum heel changes around the course, but if you think more about that and get it screwed into your bottom automatic brain, you will have more time to look around and see what is happening on the course. Now you are sailing faster and keeping your “head out of the boat” and into the rest of the race.

Remember sailing fast makes your tactics look great.

Practice “think heel”, if you don’t already.

Now check out the boats ahead of you.

What are they doing?

What heel?

Thursday, October 14, 2010


In the September 2010 “Sailing World” Dick Rose gave a “Competitors Bill of Rights” that he extracted from the sailing rules. Three pages with 10 major parts and 17 extra notes about your possible dealings and appeals to the Protest Committee.

My take, after reading most of it — forget it... If you are not a professional, you came to have fun sailing. With our current sailing rules — particularly 14, 15, 16 and 17—you always have a 50% chance of losing. Maybe yell at the other boat and forget it. This is just a game! Not life and death.

Most of us don’t make a living at it. Most of us are not at the World Championship or at the Olympics with a shot at the top. If you are one of those folks going for the big stakes stuff with dreams of glory and the big prize, then maybe you need to cut out those pages and glue them to the back of you appeals book to carry along with your two rule books. (Yes, two rule books so that when one rule refers to another by number, you can read the second and third rule with losing your pace in the first rule book. It helps.)

Yes, and maybe you may need to protest someone that keeps doing stupid things. Maybe you just need a rules session in your fleet or club.

At one time, with different rules, we learned the rules in the protest meetings. Now we hardy have protest hearing for the above reasons.

I think that grown ups just act like they know what they are doing.   Could CATS do better?

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I am not sure about saving sailing, but we can do a lot to advance it.

Teach adults to sail.
Teach youth to sail.
Teach the rules.
Teach and promote racing–that is where you learn to sail better or well.
Can we teach sailing without “certified instructors”?
Encourage crewed boats. Crews often move into boat owners.
Have a crew series–when the crew skippers and skipper crews– how about a big prize.
Lasers sail double. Lets get three on the Laser.
Contest– how many can you get on a Laser before it capsizes?
Newspaper articles.
Open house at the “Yacht Club”. Offer food. Offer sailboat rides.
National “Bring Your Neighbor Sailing Day”.

Build your fleet programs–but don’t forget people move from fleet to fleet. The more the merrier. We need all the fleets to grow.
             Fleet instructors.
             Fleet repairers.
             Fleet loaner boats.
             Used boats for sale.
             Family participation.
             Women’s program
             Kids program
             Social events.

Fun sailing in the evening or other times other than racing.
Full moon sailing.
Sail canoes, catamarans, sail boards. Sail the cruisers. Charter in Carribean or Mediterranean.
Be active in the Community so people know you are there.
Community Sailing programs.
When money is short.....
             Co or multiple owners.
             Community sailing program
             Build your own boat or better yet, get a group.
                           PD racer
                           Cape Cod Frosty
                           Optimist pram
                           Pacific Pelican
                           Or one of Phil Bolger’s designs.

Add to my list.  Maybe we need help.....


Thursday, October 7, 2010


But not with the Spinnaker up.

Remember, sailing downwind in lighter wind.  Weight forward with radical heel to get the sail up into more wind and reduce the wetted surface.

 Think about transitions.  Avoid straight downwind. 

If you have some waves catching up to you, then dive into the deepest hole in front of you, pump the sheet and angle down the side of the wave to stay with it.

If you are sailing faster than the waves are moving, going around the big ones.

If you are not leading, what are the folks ahead of you doing?

Look behind.  Maybe you want to keep your wind clear. 

Look behind for more pressure that you might want to move to.

Wind increasing -- be a little more conservative.  Practice, maybe doesn't make perfect, but it helps.