Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Absent Minded

I have been caught up in the business of making money to support my sailing habit. Welcome to the off-season...Where all I can do is look at other websites and think of those who are still on the water sailing and racing in climates much more tolerable than ours.

I will be posting during the off-season but much less frequent. I did attend the Basin Race committee meeting last night to discuss intra club stuff. Nothing of substance and importance.

As soon as I get caught up and can devote some time to resource scrounging I will post some more finds on the web. Most likely will review basics again and then get into some of the particular issues that we had this year.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Quite the Blowhard

Worked radio crew for haul out this past weekend. Winds gusting to 90 kmh. Made for some very tense moments when the large power and sailboats were in the air. My main concern was making sure everyone on the crew was safe. Very easy to crush a fellow sailors arm under a pad when the winds are blowing that hard. It was very difficult to keep the boats steady while in the air.

All worked out well in the end. No injuries and made it on time. All the boats were out by late afternoon on Sunday.

I have OD duty this weekend so I will probably tidy Gray Jay a little while I am down there. It is always so strange to see all those boats up on cradles in the yard over winter. Just does not seem right.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Will it Sink or Swim?

Our office is laden with movie posters. The decor my partner and I agreed upon because at the time we started the company it was the cheapest way of bringing some life to the walls. In my office I have a large movie poster of my all time favorite sailing movie "Wind", a Francis Ford Coppola production. This movie has some of the best cinematography for sailors ever seen on the screen. The racing sequences are fantastic and accurate.

I am always looking for sailing footage, movies that contain sailing and action. Like "Horatio Hornblower", or "Master and Commander" and who can forget "pirates of the Caribbean". So in my searches I came across this site, which may or may not make it to the Toronto Film Festival next in 2008. You decide whether it will be worth the wait.

The working title of the film is "The Morning Light Project" and a brief synopsis is as follows:

Morning Light, a real-life adventure feature film recorded as it happens, whatever happens, will be part of next year's 44th Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii in a project led by race veteran Roy E. Disney. Based on the premise of "the youngest crew ever to sail Transpac," the film will chronicle the recruitment, training and performance of sailors as young as 18 through the next race in July of 2007. On their own, they will sail a Transpac 52 called Morning Light---the working title of the film. None will be actors. There will be no script and no preconceived outcome. Disney said, "If we do our job right, I don't care as much whether they win or lose as how they come together as a group and wind up a team in the end. However they do is how they do. But we're giving them the equipment to win."

Wonder if they will have a casting call?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Final Season Sail

Heading out on Sunday for a final season sail with the crew, bit of practice and then take the mast down. Weather looks a little crappy but any change to get on the water is a good one. Even if it is cold, rainy and not a huge amount of wind!

I have been starting to review my notes and formulate things I want to review over the off-season. In addtion I will have a complete list of stuff that needs fixing, adjusting, moving, and replacing on the boat for next season.

In the mean time Sailing Anarchy is promising a new feature on tactics. Will be looking out for it!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Doing the Duty

Past weekend was spent at the club fulfilling my club hours obligations as cradle crew member. I had a chance to talk to a number of excellent sailors that I only get a chance to see twice a year. Usually during haul out and launch times. I managed to have some excellent racing tactics and overall strategy discussions as well as offer some of my own opinions and observations. The most interesting fact I guess I came away with this weekend was discussions of building crew. Many other solid teams (that these sailors were on) encountered many of the same issues that we face.

Revolving crew, how to train a crew, how to build and maintain the crew and keep them happy. Some of the conversations centred around certain teams that have been together for 10 years or so. One gentleman sailor discussed how, for a few years now their crew has been sailing together without much of a word to each other during the races. Everyone knows and can anticipate the others actions and timing.

This is a fundamental building block of a good team. We can perform tacks and gybes now with a fewer words than before. Spinnaker hoists and douses still require a bit of me barking out timing so the crew gets the feel of the rounding. The words and barking exponentially increase as the traffic increases around the mark.

Overall we are slowly getting to know the timing of each others actions. We still have quite a bit of practice ahead to equal some of the other crews tempo and timing but we can get there with enough practice.

I also talked to another J24 owner at the club and I think we are going to fair the keels on our boats over the winter. I'm sure I am in for a great deal of learning and work undertaking this venture. Also had a quick peek at the boat and noticed some more wear and tear that needs addressing over the off-season. I will have to bring a pen and paper to mark down all the things that need doing. Think the list is starting to get fairly large.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Zen of the Gybe

Practice on Tuesday went well. Winds were much stronger than I had anticipated. We managed to get a good deal of brisk wind tacks and gybes in. I noticed that on both the tack and the gybe the flow is very important. The mechanics of the tack or gybe are sequential but the timing and fluidness of the crew was crucial. In the gybes the fluidness or lack of was more noticeable then in the tacks. Probably due to the slightly slower pace that our gybes take on.

The mechanics are straight forward. Every action sets off another action and the culmination of these actions in sequence forms the gybe. I think the key to perfecting the gybe (and tack) is to practice, but quality practice I think is the key. Slow the process down to a snail pace to make sure we all are in the right place at the right time. Then gradually as we go up the leg pick up the pace.

This repetitive technique is widely used in many other sports and disciplines where consistency is key. While racing is a great way to sharpen the skills I still think it all boils down to the basics and repetition of the basics until it is all second nature.

I think this type of slowed down practice may help us break any bad habits and force us to think about each move. I think it will also reveal a number of faults in our technique. Things that go unchecked or noticed because of the rapid pace of the race course.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Outhaul Issues

One thing that will be discussed and sorted out over the off-season is crew position responsibilities. Now that we have a fixed crew repetitive tasks can now be assigned. This should make the boat function smoother. I know it will help particularly rounding the leeward mark on the second upwind leg. I frequently get caught up in the dynamics of the mark rounding and do not pass along to the crew that I need outhaul, and vang on at the last minute before dousing the spinnaker. It is much easier to put outhaul on at this point then on the middle of the second leg with the wind blowing hard.

It is these repetitive tasks that will become second nature to each crew member once we sort out each positions responsibilities. I know there are resources out there and I have commented on them early in the blog. Will need to dig up those resources again and re-visit them. We should be able to go by the book now that we have make adjustments to the deck layout to bring it closer in line with other class boats.