Monday, June 11, 2012


 From this past weekend there are seven things that the bottom of our fleet needs to work on.

1.      Sail the boat flat when the wind is up.

2.      If you can’t hold it down “super vang”. Two block with the sheet and then pull the vang on as hard as you can.  Now you can ease the sheet out whenever you need to keep the boat flat going up wind.

3.      Get the vang off before the windward mark.

4.       Going downwind sail the fast angles, right or left, depending on which is closer to the leeward mark.  When the wind gets lighter sail a higher angle.  Don’t sail straight downwind except changing right and left, by the lee to broad reach.

5.      Before the three boat length circle and arguments about who is inside at the mark, get the out haul and Cunningham set for up wind.

6.      Leave the centerboard up for one last push down before your turn.

7.      At the mark, enter wide (two boat lengths) and exit close-hauled next to the mark.

If you don’t have time to practice between races, get out early or stay late.  It takes time and practice to remember all the stuff.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


When you are waiting for Sunset, if you extend your arm out toward the Sun, make a fist and extend your thumb up, from the top of your thumb to the bottom of the fist is 15 degrees.  If you have big hand then your arm is longer and it all works out.

15 degrees is the amount the earth rotates in an hour.  The Sun don't really set, we just roll away from it at 15 degrees an hour at about 300 or 4000 miles an hour.  Measure the Sun from the horizon.  Just the thumb is 5 degrees or 20 minutes.  Just the fist is 40 minutes.   That helps tell you when to head for home or when you turn on the Laser running lights.

It will also work horizontally,  If you are sailing on little lake without your compass,  A header of 5 degrees (the thumb) means if you tack you gain or loose 12 %  of your separation from boats on the same line of equal position.  The fist or 10 degrees is 25 % of the separation.

While your sitting there watching the Sun, say "thank you Sun for all the wind I enjoy".  Remember the Sun makes the wind, but that is  another story..

And THANK YOU Tillerman for the nice Sunset picture.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Recent "Speed and Smarts" news letter told the story of Dave Dellenbaugh's trip to the Lightning circuit and his preparation.   And his practices...

Practice number two, after spinnaker handling, was STARTING.

How many of you practice starting?

He had an interesting system.   Find or put out an anchored buoy to be the starting line and then set up to leeward and to the right of the buoy.  Start your watch for ten minutes and try to be at the "line" in one minute and at full speed.   A few seconds past the line, circle back and repeat at the next minute.  

When you get that down pretty well, move your set up point closer and closer to the buoy to see how little distance and time you need to get up to full speed.

At the start you are closer to all you competition than any other time in the race. 
Shouldn't you be at your fastest and best?   Well, get out and practice.

Dave doesn't comment about the last race in the series, when he lost the lead....I may tell you about that next time.