May 3, 2016 Practice Briefing

This goes out to the expected & possible participants tonight for race practice.  Please see below for format, schedule, and a bit about how you can get the most out of the session:

  • 1730: arrive, pair up, and rig a mercury
    • co-skipper unless someone prefers to only crew
    • suggest you to pair up with someone equally experienced
    • if you were here last practice, find a partner who wasn’t (cc’d on this email)
  • 1745: quick briefing on Longfellow end and go afloat
  • roundings drill:
    • going around a box or triangle counter-clockwise (port roundings)
    • stay tight to all marks
    • treat this as a warm up AND as a race, try to get inside other boats (safely)
  • tacking & downwind drill on the whistle
    • begin with everyone on starboard, safety position, begin on three whistles
    • upwind: tack on one whistle, stop boat on three whistles*, restart on three whistles
    • downwind: gybe on one whistle (always to a reach), go from reach to run on two, from run to reach on two, stop/start boat on three whistles**
  • trigger starts: typical starting sequences with a twist
    • the time between the 30 second whistle, and the 20 second whistle may be anywhere from 0 to 60 seconds — hold your spot!!!
    • after the start, sail up to the finish line, and then return to the starting area
  • 1930: derig
  • 1945: debrief
  • * to stop your boat upwind, head up aggressively, luff jib, and back your main briefly.  This is something you can do if you are early to a start
  • ** to stop while running, luff jib, centerline your main, and use your rudder as a break

GET THE MOST OUT OF THIS PRACTICE: Start by reading this entire briefing

We’ll likely have a second volunteer coach on the water; the incomparable Alex Wisch, but you can get a lot out of a practice even when you aren’t getting coaching feedback.  Focus on how your boat reacts to each of your movements, how the speed increases or decreases.  Part of practicing is developing this boat feel, and focusing internal to the boat more than you’d be able to during a race. Lastly, come prepared… for the weather (you’re probably going to get wet if you’re sailing correctly anyway), for putting up with your loud volunteer coaches (sorry :-), and for the age-old practice frustration; taking one step back before leaping forward.


  • Remember to sign up in advance and to check back on this space for the briefing next week.  I cannot effectively plan these without your help knowing who will be there.
  • Next practice is Thurs 5/19 @1800 then Tues 5/31 @1800
  • Keep practicing in between.  It’s not enough to race, you need to focus on and repeatedly try specific maneuvers that you’re having trouble with; you can’t do this in a crowded racing situation.