Monday, September 19, 2005

Do You Know the Way To San Jose?

The tactitian team, once off the start line needs to turn their full attention to the next mark."Where is it" is the primary concern, then "how to get there", and of vital importance "where we want to be after rounding the next mark". Well out from the approaching mark the decisions should be made as to when to tack onto the layline. The tactical team should be relaying key information and timing to the crew well in advance so everyone is ready. For example the tactical team should decide whether they will be doing a bear away set or a jibe set and letting the crew know "prepare to pre-feed in 4 boatlengths" and "prepare to hoist right at the mark".

Once the mark has been successfully rounded the immediate reaction from the tactical team should be "OK where is the next mark and how do we want to set up for it". This early thinking avoids much confusion and missed opportunities that happen when the mark is all of the sudden upon you and there is no strategy in place to round it. If possible once the overall course is established it is a good idea to have the tactical team confer and rough out a strategy for rounding all the marks in the course based on the wind and define a base strategy for the course for example: the port tack is favoured so lets go high.

Gray Jay is experiencing growing pains at the moment. We are at the point where strategy is important. We seem to be keeping up initially with our competitors but at key points such as mark roundings we find our strategy lacking which usually leads to botched hoists and roundings or hasty decisions.

Currently the tactical team on Gray Jay is the helmsman and Tactician. I think I may be expanding the team to include the trimmer and parse out specific tasks to each for key maneuvers in the race. I think this will help the flow of information and solidify the overall strategy once a plan is made.

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