Monday, August 10, 2015

Solid Saturday and Speedy Sunday

We pulled out the stops. Talked through everything that came up on the Wednesday night preceding the regatta and some old faces returned to the boat putting us in a good position to have some fun.

So I was a bit disappointed to find us listed in the B fleet - the lowest rating with a sizable advantage over the other boats. Luckily OYC is a small friendly club and we quickly moved over to being the slowest boat in the A fleet, I had fun telling the crew we'd need to live up to this. Five boats in the A fleet included Pole Dancer (j120), Occams Razor (ft10), Shamen and Gringo (Shock 35s) and Kraken.

Wind came up solidly and the sea breeze piped up shortly before the start of the first so I figured on a fairly steady oscillation and for once got the hoped for behavior.

First race everything was a bit rusty, bad acceleration off the start, missing shifts on our second windward leg. We finished in 4th, not out of touch with the leaders but not really scaring them. As the wind built to 11-12 knots for the second race we were going a lot better and thought we might have corrected into second, later proving to be true. For the third race things were starting to come together and get interesting. Coming down the first run we were second in the water and pushing pole dancer in first. A little tussle with Occams Razor who overlapped to leeward and started trying to push up kept us in second at the mark though potentially unfairly if his proper course had indeed been above the mark with a gybe just before rounding it (though I suspect he wouldn't have made it around in time for the zone and we'd have had an inside overlap and the ability to drive down). Our final beat keep Pole Dancer right there with them crossing a boat length ahead half way up but then karma kicked in, we tacked onto the lay line pole up ready to chase and the boat rounding in between us (different class) stalled out, missed the mark and flopping onto a port tack right in front of us. We had to dive below the boat to avoid contact and then gybe around and slowly slowly make our way back past the mark ourselves. Painful and left us in third rather than fighting for the lead. Perhaps Karma?

In hindsight three better options stand out, in decreasing order of how I think it would have worked out in this situation.

  1. I knew current was strong and the boat ahead had been slow and pinching hard. One more boat length out (over standing) as we could probably have luffed our way around it. Maybe two boat lengths! 
  2. Crash tack earlier, the gybe cost a lot. Though it's possible we'd have fouled incoming starboard rackets we could have claimed collision avoidance blah blah 
  3. We could have hooked the buoy behind the blocking boat and against claimed being forced into for collision avoidance. I'm not sure though that we could have both avoided contact and made it around the buoy on the correct side.

End of day we were in third.

One more race was scheduled for Sunday - a longer random leg race. This ended up being 7nm and I was worried that the reaching ft10 and j120 were going to run away with it but we had a solid upwind leg putting us into second place and held that for a while. The middle of the race was a constricted with a mark that needed to be left to port but once past that we were free to work the shifts. Partly we were forced into breaking out from the shore current relief as we couldn't quite clear the pier leaving Shamen (who can out point us and could) hugging the coast while we started playing the shifts but the shifts seemed to equal the current assist and we kept our distance ahead to the end. It wasn't clear how far ahead the faster boats were but in the end we got second on corrected time.

Sailing on both days was awesome and we just got better and better. Third place overall with the one incident between us and second overall.
I'll take that.

Friday, August 7, 2015


Kraken's PO Greg Lynn followed up with a 42ft trimaran that he had a hand in designing - Girlfriend. Launched in the last few months videos are starting to come out of her moving.

Hopefully we'll see her taking on the larger boats for line honors in the coastal races - keep your eyes out for her!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Weak Wednesday

I'll admit it, I haven't been trying that hard in our Wednesday night race instead treating them as a good way to build some crew skills. We've had fun but just made outrageous mistakes through lack of application (not knowing the course, being late to the start etc). With this race though we went in with a strong crew and I decided to try properly thinking we'd have a good chance of challenging for the lead. At the end of the day we were significantly behind Shamen and the following are some notes on where I think we were losing out.

  • Start - lost a couple of boat lengths right away. Should have been more aggresive about keeping position, less early. Starting on the second row would have been just as good as where we did start. 3 boat lengths, and lack of tacKtical initiative.
  • Tacking - I was too aggressive going into tacks. Tighten main, loosen headsail slightly, let boat round into tack without forcing rudder. Try to steal distance to windward. Maybe half a boat length per tack, 4 boat lengths total.
  • Post tack - Acceleration wasn't great despite a solid breeze. Trimmers need to use a power position and then trim more consistently.
  • Gybing - need to smoothly move the spinnaker around the boat. Turn will follow the spinnaker. Keep it moving until we're on the other side - we can't complete the turn until the sail is around the boat and it gets the guy closer to the bow for pole attachment. Might have lost 2 boat lengths.
  • Bottom mark - pole down a little earlier, spinnaker down faster (start it coming down even before the gybe). Fore deck was right they wanted this. In wider out closer so we have a bit of time to power up into the beat. 1 boat length.
  • Shifts - Wind likely very similar this Saturday, it was oscillating in about a 10 degree range and we weren't tacking on it. Limit tacks to two per short leg, four per long leg but try and get the shifts. Boat lengths? Unknown... a few. Let's say 4 but it could be more.
  • Bottom - no-one likes a dirty bottom. It'll be clean for the weekend - Boat lengths - 1.
  • Pole - Need to be more aggressive moving pole and pole height. We saw significant increases on speed when we did actually adjust it. Boat lengths - 2.

17 boat lengths ~ 500 ft. Could have been the difference to first place.

So  - before the regatta this weekend we'll have a little team talk.

Main - Tacking - when tacking we're going to tighten up slightly and we're going to loosen the jib an inch right after.
Helm - going to drift into the tack, then chase the telltales to keep driving to windward as long as possible.
Trim - Tacking, Power position first, then trim in as speed builds.
Main -Tacking, Power position first, then trim in as speed builds.
Trim - Gybing - Sail needs to move smoothly from one side to another, we shouldn't be waiting to get into good positions to see the sail, and we have to have it trimmed to the new side faster so we can rotate the boat under it.
Pit / Mast - Pole height needs to be considered right after setting the spinnaker and right after each gybe - it may vary on each side. Look up at the sail and see where the break is, it should be center or slightly above center if it isn't push the pole height the opposite way you want the break to move (up if the break is too high, down if it is too low).
Tactician - Wind shifts and pressure! Also in the start make sure we a) know our course, b) know the favored end and c) give the other boats a hard time!
Tuning - check and adjust rig for conditions at start of every race.

Let's follow our Weak Wednesday with a Strong Saturday!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Matchracing Skills

If you haven't seen it and enjoy racing the Alpari Matchracing Tour has some great videos.

This is a nice example, the boat control is just supreme. Watch the spinnakers fly through the gybe!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Foilers - coming soon to water near you!

With the moth firmly established but on the extreme end of sailing and the Gunboat firmly out of most people reach its nice to see some foiling action starting to come closer to my reality.

Courtesy of the Yachting World you tube channel meet the Whisper:

What about the laser? There are so many of these lying around just awaiting a new set of blades..

 And this is pretty interesting...