May 3, 2016 Practice Debrief

Thanks again for coming down last night.  Talking with some people after, and having some further time to digest, I thought of a few more things to share, that I hope will be more helpful:

  1. I know that it was an incredibly shifty day.  made it harder for me to run a good practice, and also, I know it made every maneuver tougher. It’s a good time to practice so that you can deal with those conditions when racing, but I know it’s not the easiest time to learn something new, when each tack is totally different because of the shifts.
  2. I really meant to discuss this one when we got in yesterday: the crucial part of each tack and gybe is timing, and specifically in light air, that means staying seated long enough; not standing up too early.  This applies both to the crew waiting on the leeward side before rolling, as well as to the skipper holding on the roll side before flattening. One thing that is tricky here, and that needs to be overcome by several is the uneasy feeling as the boat rolls over on top of you.  A light wind day is the ideal time to practice this; try sailing upwind, sitting to leeward and balancing the boat on the edge JUST before water starts to creep over the rail.  This is basically the feeling you should have at the end of a light-air roll tack.  And crossing the boat from that position is identical as well.  You can practice this part of the tack (the hand switch and flatten) just sailing upwind on one board, without actually turning.
  3. Also, a reminder that the drills will become easier each time we do them, if only because you’ll be more familiar with them.  Part of this is each sailor learning to practice well, as well as me learning to run this particular practice better. (I put in C- work yesterday; I’m sorry.  I need to explain the drills better, and probably adjust given the poor conditions more adeptly as well. Appreciate Alex helping us salvage the day.)
  4. Related, when we are doing these drills, it is by design choreographed chaos. It takes everyone working together to do follow the leader, or tack on the whistle. In these types of drills, right of way is less important than coordinating to allow everyone the room to tack effectively or follow close behind, etc.
  5. Lastly, just a note that if you have a boat problem you need to address (loose outhaul, low tiller, etc.) do take a break from the drill and address it.  This will help you practice more effectively, but it’s also key that you don’t try to continue the drill at half-speed, as this makes it tough on the rest of the group.