Last practice today. We’re going to work on starting practice and boat-handling. We’ll start with the starting practice, then do some boat handling, then return to the starting practice again.
The starting drill will be a starting line with a ~20′ section per boat. You’ll get assigned a section, and have to stay in it between 20 seconds and go without tacking. We’ll use a 2-minute starting sequence just to keep things rolling.
Our next drill will be the Bow up-bow down drill. Same start line. Three whistles means luff up hard and stop your boat, but be ready to bear away and accelerate. Two whistles means bear away and accelerate. Consider this to be about 15 seconds before the start, so you only have a few seconds to get up to full speed. Use all of the tools in your box to turn as well as to slow or accelerate your boat.
Once we get sick of this, we’ll do a little upwind sailing and practice tacks. The two keys for the tack are 1. not turning so hard you stop your boat (start the tack as if you were shooting the finish line or windward mark, and then continue past head to wind), and 2. coming out of the tack on a close hauled course.
Great breeze out there today. Should be fun on the water, and the temp is really nice too.
I’d like to set up some two-boat speed testing, we’ll pair up, and go upwind near each other, and see if we can identify items which are helping one boat or the other go faster/slower/higher/lower. Also will help us identify shifts. We’ll use a really long course, just so we can stay in one place. Then we’ll dissect and discuss on the way back downwind.
It’s important for these speed tests to set up near enough to the other boat that you get the same breeze, but not so near that you’re affecting each others’ breeze. You may have to adjust periodically or after tacks. Please communicate within your pair to be sure you’re both in the right spot.
See you at 6pm!
We will have practice just a few weeks this year, on Tuesday evenings. Please be dressed and rigging on the front of the dock by the start of practice. You will get more out of each practice by reading the briefing each week before coming to practice.
- Practice 1 – Tuesday, May 28 18:00-20:00
- Practice 2 – Tuesday, June 18 18:00-20:00
- Practice 3 – Tuesday, July 2 18:00-20:00
- Practice 4 – Tuesday, July 16 18:00-20:00
A big Thank You to those who participated this season. It was a good summer and I think most of you got a lot out of the practices. We’ll aim to do something similar next summer. These practices can actually be more effective with more boats, so let’s try to spread the word to other regular racers.
Two things to think about during the next few months of sailing:
- What we discussed yesterday was to focus on leaving your tacks at the right angle, and with the right sail and hull trim. Basically, begin sailing fast again as soon after the tack as possible. This doesn’t mean rushing the tacks, but instead accelerating immediately after them, rather than staying slow for a while before getting back to proper techniques.
- You might find this Race Q’s app interesting. If you can get a few sailors to use it, then you can track how you did in a race, perhaps see how good or bad each tack or leeward mark rounding was, etc. You might find a couple items to work on.
That’s about it, but there’s plenty of racing still going on out there. Don’t miss it, as it’s what you’ve been practicing for!
Alright, last practice of the season! Sad, but should be a good one. It’s looking like we’ll have a nice little easterly. I want to work on two drills that we’ve done before which can really be good in lighter wind. Also, a game I call Sumo Sailing. Let’s try to take off from and land on the L-dock.
We’ll begin with a quick follow the leader to gather everyone. Then, going up the river, we’ll do either tacking or gybing on the whistle. Upwind, 3 whistles starts the drill, and from there on means stop or start. 2 whistles – do a 360. 1 whistle is a tack. Feel free to skip a tack or do an extra in order to re-join the group.
Downwind, 3 whistles is stop/start, 2 is go from a reach to a run or a run to a reach, and 1 whistle is gybe. We really want to get good at the rolling aspects of the tacks, gybes, and going to a reach. Other learning goals are to make sure we come out of the tacks right at close hauled, to control our steering and our main through the gybe, and to adjust to wind-shifts on the reach or run.
Sumo sailing is a team drill, we do inside of a box course. The goal is to force the other team out using the ROW rules. I will blow a 3-minute start sequence and the game begins at go. The team entering on port can enter ten seconds early. I’ll describe this again on the dock. See you on the L-dock at 6pm.