Sunday, October 30, 2005

Working on the Chain Gang

Haul out crew this weekend....very very tired and sore. 2 long days, 250 boats, 2- 20 tonne cranes and gusty winds...not to mention ice on the decks this morning... made for some interesting moments.Victoria is in 4th position and holding. Will catch up on crew notes from them tonight before I crash hard. Will write soon.

Friday, October 28, 2005

The First Leg | The First Two Minutes

The moment the starting line is crossed, assuming there is no foul or correction needed, focus should turn to trimming for speed and upwind boat handling. Try to get as much speed out of the sails as possible. Most articles and books I have read suggest not tacking within the first two minutes of crossing the line.

The tactician and helmsman should be communicating and deciding when to start implementing their overall upwind strategy. The strategy will have been formed based on a number of factors. Primarily, the favoured tack, the shortest distance to the mark. Secondarily wind shifts, persistent, oscillating, patchy, dying or building breeze.

I have written about wind shifts and methods for tracking, and the gains that can be achieved by playing them in previous post. Bill Gladstone has written an very comprehensive article on upwind tactics here. In it he shows examples and calculations of how playing a 10deg windshift can make huge gains overall (or potential losses if not taken advantage of). The article is packed with useful information on upwind strategy and tactics.

Once boat speed is up and fleet starts to implement strategy, trim for pointing and begin using offensive and defensive tactics

The overall strategy should be a solid plan for the race, Tactics are what should be fluid and used to carry out the strategy.

Next posts will start exploring sail trim for upwind beats and boat handling for speed and pointing.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Start | Go for Speed Off The Line

During pre-race maneuvers and before you cross the line there will most likely be less wind and disturbed wind created from the other boats on the line, boats upwind on another start. To make the best of your starting position ease your sails out a bit for speed. Keep your sails full and flatten when you have reached cleaner air. This will help maximize your power off the start. A flatter sail will allow you to point but the fuller sail will drive you faster and power you through the dirty air.

Try to adjust sail trim when you are at the beginning of your maneuvers and mark the trim off on your sheets with a grease pencil or piece of tape so you can reproduce your trim results on your final approach.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Second Leg

The second leg has begun for the Round the World Yacht Race. Just checked in and read the report of start from "Victoria" weblog. Sounds like they had some issues with parts for the motor arriving, but after scrambling, they crossed the line and are now in 3rd position behind Durban and Western Australia (who are out front). Victoria seems to be trailing by a mile. Only 4,065 more miles to the finish!

On another note the Volvo Ocean race starts on November 11th. I have signed up for daily reports. I think the coverage and detail of the race will be more in depth than the Clipper 05-06 race site.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Start | Starting Strategies : Consistency

In this article by Greg Fisher, Racers' Edge he defines the goal of consistency in starts as a winning strategy. His article focuses on choosing a start approach and consistently using it during starts so that it becomes "mechanical" and second nature. While very good advice, I personally think it becomes a bit predictable in club PHRF racing, but may have distinct advantages in class racing where the competition is not always the same group on the line.

This article and many other class articles I have read also discuss the "luffing on the line" strategy during starting. That strategy is difficult to achieve in a large fleet with 5 different starts 5 minutes apart. I have not actually seen anyone start that way in any of the races I have competed in. I am hoping to start class racing next year and I assume I will encounter this start strategy more frequently.

The article covers basic overall strategies for starting and offers some very informative viewpoints on the different phases of the start. My philosophy is you can never have enough information and viewpoints.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Clipper 05-06 | Round the World Race



Found the Clipper 05-06 Around the world Ocean Race. Ten state-of-the-art ocean racers that originated from the drawing board of celebrated yacht designer Ed Dubois started the race in Liverpool on Sunday 18th September 2005. The boats will be returning to Liverpool on 1st July 2006. The boats are 68ft long, they are 8ft longer than the highly successful Clipper 60s in use since 1996.

The leg 2, race 3 is about to start (October 25th, 2005), which will see the competitors cross from Salvador Brazil to Durban South Africa (ETA November 17th 2005). The Race began in Liverpool and has finished Leg 1 race 1, Liverpool to Cascais Portugal and Leg 1 race 2 Cascais Portugal to Salvador Brazil.

Here is the animated route map with rollovers to designate the stop over points and race legs. The official race website has the leg results and times for finishing. Each boat is set up with email and blogs to keep people in touch while on the water. Great reads here.

There is a Canadian boat as well. "Victoria" from B.C. Kind of partial to this one as it is the name of my daughter! Have been following the crew posts. Looking forward to the start of the next leg. Crew are drinking heavily and relaxing as good sailors on a long voyage should! Wishing them luck.

Brenta 30 For One Please



Just found this one surfing around. B30 Day Sailor. Nice design but definitely the single handled sailor (with a boatfull of guests) in mind. Nice touch with a bulbed keel and 60% of boats weight in keel and narrow hull. Means good stability and speed. Guess all those guests will enjoy that part while sipping margharita's and sitting on the deck lounge. Worth a quick peek unless you are in the market for one then look further into downloading the spec sheet.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Start | Starting Strategies : Resources

As promised here is an brief list of resources on the net that pertain to starting strategies. Hope they help. I compare starting strategies in sailing to the game of chess...by learning the opening moves you can usally predict what your opponent's next move will be so I will be studying them and watching for them on the race course.

I will be continually searching for more, look for another post on resources later when I have exhausted my ideas for posts on starts.

Performance Racing Tactics : Bill Gladestone
Starts are one of the most exciting and challenging parts of any race. To succeed amidst the chaos we will firsts need a starting plan. Then we will need to execute the plan despite all the distractions.

Port-Tack Starts Zack Leonard
With less than 50 seconds to go before the start of the fourth race of the 1996 Tornado Worlds, I was starting to feel a little nervous. It wasn't the normal pre-race jitters. Myself and two American teammates—Johnny Lovell and Lars Guck—were all luffing on port tack, two boatlengths below the pin end of the line. Collectively, we were wondering why the whole fleet was bunched up at the boat end of the line on starboard almost 100 yards away.

Tactics and Strategy of Gate Starts : Michael Goldstein
Michael Goldstein asked the 505world-list e-mail list about gate starts. Here are some collected responses.

Tactics and Strategy Scott Nixon
Strategy is determined by how you play the wind, waves and current on the racecourse. It is basically how you sail your boat around the course.

Tactics are determined by how you sail your boat according to the other moves of the fleet and how you deal with the competition on the racecourse

Adapting from the Match Race Crowd : Dean Brenner
Since the Olympic Trials in June of 2000, I have focused the majority of my sailing efforts on match racing and team racing, rather than fleet racing. In addition to being a ton of fun, both these disciplines require more emphasis on boat-to-boat tactics, rather than big-picture strategy.

Win The Pin with Match Racing Moves : Betsy Alison
If the pin is favored, many sailors will jockey for the perfect pin start. The ability to leg out on starboard below the fleet or to tack and cross the competition is an advantage worth fighting for.

Pre-Start Strategy: Know the Laylines to the Starting Line Andrew Kerr
You are reaching around the starting line- 12 minutes to the gun. The line is set and unrestricted. What to do? A very useful routine to develop that is widely used by match racers is to define the laylines on a closehauled course to both ends of the line.

Starting and Finishing: Olympic Games 1996
With half an hour to the start continue taking wind bearings and familiarise yourself with the conditions of the day by doing practice beats with other boats. Make sure you have the correct settings for the conditions and do not start making major alterations to your rig unless you have tried them before.

How to Carve Out Your Spot On the Line David Dellenbaugh
No matter what kind of boat you sail or what the conditions are like, there are some basic things you need to do well in order to get consistently good starts. First, you have to decide where you want to start on the line. Second, you must have some reliable way of knowing where the line is. Beyond this, you need a bunch of good boat-on-boat tactics to help you carve out your spot on the line and stay in control of your start. Here are some moves you should consider:


How to Take Your Competitor Head-to-Wind
www.ehow.com
With good positioning, taking your competitor head-to-wind can be an effective pre-start strategy.

Racing Practice - Starting Drills (taken from a note on the rec.boats.racing)
Practice drills for sharpening skills, individual and team drills.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Life on the Proper Course

I want to thank Tillerman and Proper Course for the positive feedback about the Skips Blog. In a recent post, Tillerman mentions one of my current additions "Thinking Inside the Box" and refers to the originality of the method. The method is not mine to take credit for, it was acquired during in-class instructions. Which brings me around to the Proper Course.

My many thanks go out to Tillerman for taking up the rewarding task of instilling knowledge and helping develop and mould the raw passion for the sport of sailing in the generations of kids that he has taught (including his own). There is no better way to make use of knowledge then to share it, and no one better to share it with then children. Tillerman has been sailing and racing for much longer than I have and is a veteran at the sport. He is a Laser and Sunfish sailor and racer and has a passion for sailing and a craving for knowledge about sailing similar to mine.

I have two children (3 and 6), who I hope, will develop the overwhelming bug for sailing that I have. I have much to learn from Tillerman and the Proper Course, among the lessons...how not to turn your kids off of sailing or get in the way of sailing instruction (some great anecdotes by the way).

The blog Proper Course has been on my blog list of sailing blogs from the start. My hope is that like him, I will be able to contribute to the success of someone, somewhere; even if it is just in some small way, it will be worth it. Nothing makes a better sailor and better racing then better competition.

Tillerman writing style is earnest and casual. Posts are anecdotal and interlaced with personal insights, opinions and stories which cover many topics but always display his passion for sailing. One day I too hope to "Live Slow and Sail Fast"!

Please visit the Proper Course blog. This well written blog is definitely time well spent. He has had a short hiatus, but seems to be back up and writing now. Welcome back and looking forward to your posts.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Frostbite Series Results Are In

Just checked the board at the club and the results are in for the Frostbite series. We managed a 6th place overall for the series!

The series ended with a neck in neck finish with another boat, that turns out was in our division. On the water we were the leeward boat and our sight of the line was obscured (that was the race with the shortened line where the makeshift pin was a boat from the fleet. When the horn went off and, 5 seconds later it went off again I thought we were the latter horn and lost the race. Turns out we were the ones that crossed first and we did not owe our competition time!

Great job crew! Looking forward to next season already!

The Start | Starting Strategies : Offbeat Starts

My earlier post recalled getting caught off-guard on an offbeat start. Looking back at the race I recall heading out to one side but had not committed to that side of the course. I was looking for an opportunity to get back to the middle of the course. We did have a good jump off the start but suffered windshadow from the fleet as I tried to square off.

I should have went higher to get clear and avoid shadow and wait for a point to gybe over once I had a clear lane. Bill Gladstone has written this article on offbeat starts (an excerpt from his book) which I will be purchasing in the near future.

He has some great strategies for these types of starts. There are very resources available that cover these scenarios. Most strategy and tactics deal with likely scenarios.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Against the Grain

Gathering resources and sites today to compile a comprehensive list of links to articles on starts and strategies. Next post will be about offbeat starts; reaching and running starts. Although they are not the norm they do occur in club racing. I think it was our first race, (first race of the season...boat and as a crew) the last race in the 2005 Spring Series (Unfortunately I did not make notes of this race). The wind shifted 180 deg. as we were waiting for the start and we ended up on starting on a run. I started the race on a broad reach while the remainder of the division flew spinnaker. We managed to get a good jump in front at the RC boat. We had not yet flown the spinnaker in a race, and encountered quite a few problems during the launch and fell to the back of the pack by the time we had the spinnaker flying.

The biggest problem we encountered was confusion. We were not prepared mentally or physically for a reach or run start. Again it is one of those mistakes you only make once.

I have a good list of resources now on starts which I will share with you shortly. Links to articles by a number of top sailors.
Each article is in-depth and has different tactics and strategies that you can practice and implement. They all follow the golden principles of clean air, good position and strategy off the start. Hope you will find them as informative as I have. Stay tuned for the post.

The Box...In pdf format

Sorry to all those who attempted to view the flash file of "Thinking Inside the Box" and were unable to zoom in on it to view the wind speeds noted.

I have posted a PDF version of the file at the bottom of the original post. Please send me any feedback regarding the graphics I have uploaded to date. Please let me know if the graphics are useful. If I get enough feedback I can tailor them to suit the needs of the Skips Blog readers.

While I am at it just extending a thank you for all of those who do read on a regular basis...and those first time readers as well!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Start | Thinking Inside the Box



Thinking inside this box will help you mentally get an idea of your pre-start strategic area...the space you want to concentrate you efforts on when in pre-race maneuvers.

Picture an imaginary box (that can be expanded or contracted depending on wind strength) that is based on the starting line and extends outward from the centre past the pin and RC ends, and extends depth wise below the line (see this diagram It's all here for you). This is your starting box.

Your chances of a good start will increase if you focus your pre-race maneuvers within this box. In light winds, ten boatlengths out, if you tack or jibe to try and gain a windward advantage, chances are you will have lost whatever advantage you may have had by the time you get within the 2 boatlength box.

The general rule is lighter and dying breezes, stick closer to the line...Heavier and building breezes head farther out to gain and maintain speed and maneuverability.

When in heavier breezes drop your jib while waiting in the box or until early in the pre-race maneuver stage to avoid over taking and jibing and tiring out the crew. Raise the jib 10 minutes before your start. That way if you are on 5 minute starts you have time to correct and trim accord to wind conditions.

download the pdf version

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Lure of The Dinghy



Racing with a crew takes teamwork. Each crew member has their strengths and weaknesses that need to be built upon and worked around respectively.

On a dinghy it is you and you alone who decides the outcome of the race. There is something very humbling about dinghy racing. It is also where a sailor can learn the most about sailing. Weight is so crucial on the dinghy. Slight shifts can make a huge difference. It is also one of the best rides in sailing....small boat and very fast.

I was surfing about and came across the site the horse's mouth (mostly wet version) which carries some fantastic video of dinghy racing. In particular was this little clip of 49er's on Lago di Garda.

The flying moth caught my attention while checking these sites out. Extremely cool design and very fast. It looks like a modified 49'er with hydrofoil attachments. Check the video out on Rohan Veal Racing. Very cool, very wet, fun and fast!! What else could you want in a boat.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Performance Racing Tactics

Much of my blog is dedicated to tactics and strategy. It goes hand in hand with boat handling and is the key, I think, to gaining the winning edge and consistently finishing in the top. The more I search on the net for tactics and strategy the more I realize that there is not a lot out there.

What I do find I will post and hopefully this site will save many hours of trudging through endless searches. So far Gary Jobson's book Championship Sailing has been a valuable source of concise and centrally located information.

I have been finding quite a few articles by Bill Gladstone online as well. He has a number of books available at Amazon, one I particular that I believe these articles are from Performance Racing Tactics.

If I can get my hands on this book I will let you know how it is. Have a feeling it will be good. The articles seem to go into quite a bit of detail and have accompanying illustration as a visual aid.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

New Skin... Graphics Design Version 1



The hull and logo needs a good revamp. The previous owner also was nice enough to paint his markings on with some kind of paint...think it has been there for a good 18 years and is pretty weathered.

I have to find a way to get the stuff off and re-finish the hull. Lots of work ahead for spring. Already thinking spring and the boat is not even out of the water yet! So this is my first attempt at graphics for next year. Still a rough idea and will be working on this throughout the winter months.

Any comments welcome.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Start | Starting Strategies : Rule 11, and 17.1

during pre-start tactics rule 11 applies prior to the starting signal of your race, boats in your start have no proper course therefore the leeward boat has right of way and can luff another boat to windward. Use this rule to help gain the windward advantage and force your opponent to tack. Be careful to watch the boat to your leeward as well. They can force you to do the same.

After the start rule 17.1 comes into effect which a "proper course"can be interpreted in many ways.

Rule 17.1 Boats on the same tack; proper course states:

If a boat clear astern becomes overlapped within two of her hull lengths to leeward of a boat on the same tack, she shall not sail above her proper course while they remain overlapped within that distance, unless in doing so she promptly sails astern of the other boat. This rule does not apply if the overlap begins while the windward boat is required by rule 13 to keep clear.

Use the rule 11 as a defensive tactic if you are the leeward boat and a boat passes to windward. The windward boat must keep clear of the leeward boat regardless of proper course.(rule 11).

To use the rule 17.1 as an offensive tact it is imperative that you understand the gray areas that define "proper course' and to take full advantage of the rule you should know your competition and how close to the wind they are capable of sailing comparative to you. when you can point higher than another boat you are overtaking to leeward you can maintain a higher proper course and may effectively force them to tack over to maintain their speed.

Sail fairly within the rules and avoid protests. It is better to race and win with the respect of your competition then win at any cost.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Start | Starting Strategies : Starting on Port Tack



Crossing the fleet on a port tack at the start...What a rush. Not a move for the faint of heart.

The strategy behind this start is that the port tack is either the favoured tack to be on or the wind is better on the pin side of the course. The other place you might use this start is if the RC side of the line is very crowded and by starting at the pin side you will have clear air up the beat.

The key to this strategy is stick to your strategy once you make the commitment. If you are sure the port tack will pay off then do it. If all goes well you will have clean air and cross the fleet. Tack back to starboard to realize your gains and don't get greedy.

You may have to duck some sterns to clear the fleet but you will come out into clean air. Tack to starboard to consolidate gains. It is a very tough start to commit to primarily because it is against the norm. Always be on the lookout for the opportunity to do a port tack start. It may turn out to be a big payoff.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Start | Starting Strategies : Maintaining Speed



There are instances when you will want to or are forced to arrive at the line early, heading straight for the line at full speed. Your options are to either walk the line and head way down the line, cross early and immediately try to redeem yourself or use power "S" turns. The power "S" turns allows you to maintain close to full speed while eating away seconds till the start. While on a reach paralell to the line head to wind for a brief moment. (careful not to get too close, you don't want to stall or cross to the opposite tack or loose too much speed.) Then come quickly back to your Starboard (or port) reach approach.

Using this technique you can maintain speed while going through a series of "S" turns and approaching the line. This technique works well in heavier winds where fleets sometimes set up long reach lines back and forth to the line. You can break out of the pattern early and get a great clean air start.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Bang the Corner!

During a recent regatta we had a few first time sailors aboard who just couldn't wrap their heads around why we insisted on shouting out colourful phrases such as "more boom vang" or "I need outhaul, and cunningham....trim the jib, douse the spinnaker...not that halyard the jib halyard...bang the corner" instead of referring to things like normal people would like "pull the rope over there....no the blue and white one next the the silver thingy"

I put myself in their position, new on a boat, and to sailing...and quickly realized how overwhelming it is when you have no idea what all the ropes and things are and what they do. Gradually the language becomes second nature. Here are a few colourful terms that might be useful during a race.

BANG THE CORNER
To sail all the way to one side of a race course in search of a strategic advantage.

KOCH BLOCK
Running backstay or checkstay block positioned so that it could hit the head of an inattentive member of the afterguard when not under load. Definitely a reference to former Cup winner Bill Koch and an unfortunate turn of events.

LIVING
The ability to maintain speed to windward and behind a competitor while just on the edge of bad air.

MEXICAN TAKEDOWN
A spinnaker douse in which the boat jibes, but the spinnaker is left flying on the new windward side, where it collapses against the jib as it is pulled down.

PROTESTERONE
Hormone responsible for propensity to file protests.


For a more comprehensive list visit the Seattle Yacht Club and the article by Susan Kruller "Inside the SYC America?s Cup Challenge - What's In A Word? under "America?s Cup Sailing Jargon ? A Primer".

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Start | Starting Strategies : Taking the Pin



Many racers overlook the pin start on a starboard tack. When the RC side is very crowded and the wind is relatively square to the line making a pin start can get you clean air quicker then staying at the back of the pack waiting for your chance to duck sterns and tack to clean air.

Walking the line on a port reach and tacking over at the pin on the gun is a great starting tactic. If the port tack is favoured to the pin you may want to consider a port tack pin start. The Starboard start can get you ahead of the pack with clear room to foot and gain speed, or at least give you room to execute your tactical strategy without being sandwiched. Be sure to find your opportunity to cross the fleet if you can to realize your gain.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Start | Starting Strategies : Performance Racing Tactics

Excerpt from Sailing San Francisco Performance Racing Tactics dealing with starts, by Bill Gladstone.

"Starting strategy is a game of choices requiring a balance between overall strategic goals, line set, and crowding. You must consider the nature of each section of the line: the difficulty in tacking clear after a left end start, the tendency for crowding at the right end, and the ambiguity in calling the line during a mid-line start. When the advantage falls entirely to one end of the line you must consider the risks at the favored end as opposed to attempting a more conservative approach at some distance from the favored end. Once the strategic decision has been made on where to start, a tactical plan must be made to accomplish the strategic goal."

This is an in-depth look at forming strategy. Read the full article here

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Start | Starting Strategies : High and Outside



On the start line I like to try and do everything to get the windward position off the start. The few times we did not get the windward advantage we got killed by shadow from other boats. Clean air is king.

This animation demonstrates taking the high approach to head towards the right side of the course and dip in at the last minute to gain the windward advantage while competitors are reaching back and forth walking the line. It is risky due to the fact that you leave yourself open to being pinched near the committee boat but if timed correctly against your competitors tacks you can get in front and stay in front.

The timing of this maneuver is to be on your competitors leeward quarter and wait till they make the first tack to make your break high. Chances are if they if they break before the committee boat they will continue reaching till they get far enough out to make the final starboard run to the line.

The next few posts will explore some different starting techniques, positions and tactics.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Start | A Starting Point

This is the first in my hibernation series posts. I have been working on the animations for the start series and the first one should be ready in the next day or so.

I am beginning where every race should...at the start line. There are advantages abound here if you know where to look. On Gray Jay the bowman has the task of calling out sail numbers to me, tack they are on and a relative bearing (based on the 12 hr clock). He has a clear view ahead and stern and can see both starboard and leeward as well. We have an understanding that I want to know where all the boats in the vicinity are...even if they are not an immediate concern.

This allows me to keep track of where the competition is and what they are possibly setting up for during the pre-race chaos. My usual process for the start follows generally the same routine each time:

  • Formulate a starting position based on the wind direction and alignment to the pin (favoured end pin or RC)

  • Define a favoured tack based on wind up the course and near the pin and RC...the one that takes you closest to the pin

  • Assess what you approach line will be to your chosen spot and run the tack for a few minutes visually aligning yourself to the shore or other stationary objects

  • Get a Feel for the wind and boat speed on the favoured tack

  • Begin to work your way around the other boats keeping your competition in sight and always working to be the windward boat

  • Formulate a fall-back position based on clean air and clear passage in case you get squeezed or forced to abandon your initial strategy

  • As soon as you reach your intended run-for-the-line point double check your time and make a decision whether you need to maneuver to kill time or not. Do not give up your intended position if at all possible

  • At your trigger point make your charge for the line at full speed and protect your position all the way

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A Big Shout Out

Just want to thank the crew of Gray Jay for a fantastic season of racing. The crew really worked hard all year. We missed the Spring Series and really have only raced in the Summer and Frostbite series to date as a crew...but they are no longer a green crew. They have all individually performed brilliantly over the season.

We now have a solid foundation to start with for next season and now it can only get better. Looking forward to stepping it up a notch for Spring 2006.

As I said in my earlier posts...I will be continually updating the blog and refining my tactics and strategy over the winter. I am planning on a little holiday to a nice sunny island in a month and a bit. Plan to do some match racing and brush up on dinghy racing mano a mano.

Thanks again crew!

The Season Finale



Well the forecast was not exactly on the button again. Called for South 10 kt winds backing to East in the Afternoon. When we arrived the winds were around 3-5 kts at most and the wind was Northeast 60 deg. true. Not exactly what I was expecting on the way down but quickly changed gears and worked on a new tactic.

Tuned the rig for 6-9 kts and seems as though it was right on the money. Our race we figured now was a 3:1:3:1 race starting at 1. We were correct in our assumptions. Our pre race planning was good. Decided that windward boat at RC was where we wanted to start and port tack was favoured to the first mark. We tacked reached and jibed to achieve our starting position and it was on the money.

Our plan was to tack early and take the port tack to the layline. This strategy worked well. All in all the race was great. The crew truly worked well together and all the tacks and jibes were great. Launches were smooth and right on time. Excellent effort all around by the crew.

On the last downwind leg I made a call to jibe soon after rounding the mark on a bear-away set. The on the way up the wind seemed stronger on the high side. I felt it would be a good move to stay on the same side on the downwind since the wind was extremely patchy today.

Not sure if that call was the best, it was the slower jibe and we eventually jibed back to avoid our competition catching up to us any quicker. Seems they can all seem to sail more on a run than we can. Most likely the shadow of our main and their high spinnaker poles. Anyway we lost some ground on the final leg after a great overall race. Our finish was neck in neck with Miramachi (our division but we have to give them time).

All in all a fantastic last race for the season. Check out the race notes in the sidebar or download here.

Gathering Info for the Plan

Gathering final info before heading down to the course. Current Forecast from Wunderground is : Southeast winds 5 to 10 knots becoming east. Waves 1 foot or less. The National Data Bouy System is not reporting data from any of the bouys listed on the site. Will do a final check before leaving but "No data to report".

I was hoping to look at the wind and gust patterns from the South and East bouys to see if I could get a handle on the coming trends. No luck.

Radar shows some light precip south in the U.S. side of the lake but it seems to be moving NW and around the contour of the lake so I don't think precipitation will be a factor.

The Marine forecast is the same as Wunderground with the exception that they are noting winds will be 10 knots (no "or less" phrase), Satellite imagery shows little that would affect the overall wind to a large degree.

Setting the shroud tension for today for winds 6-9 knts. Gut feeling on the course is that the RC will set a triangle course today. This seems to be their usual pattern on days when wind is out of South Southeast. It falls right between to course options for windward leeward. I am a 35 minute drive to the club and the leaves on the trees are not moving at all.

Thinking the course will most likely be set for starting line at 1 and course 2:3:1:3:1 If the wind is 110° true near race time then the shift to East will have taken place and the course should be starting at 1 and 3:1:3:1 respectively.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Include in the How Not To File

Great action sequence of a boat capsizing in the San Francisco Bay under the bridge. I'm thinking this is not a great place to be sailing. Check out the waves swamping the boat! The sequence is about 118 shots in total. The page should load into a slide show.

Looks like all managed to survive. Think the mast and sails are toast!

Understanding Wind Patterns

Understanding the wind and how the geography of a sailing area is affected by or affects the wind is one of the most valuable tools a racer can have. This site shows the effects of wind over the geography of San Fran Bay area. The topology is displayed so you can get a feel for how the wind reacts and interacts with the land.

A Different Perspective

There are very few sites that I can find online that contain detailed information about a boats race. The www.j24plymouth.org.uk site is one of the better detailed sites that I have seen. Adding this one to my daily reading. I find that reading race notes from someone is very helpful. You get a different perspective on strategies and an insight into how they think tactically.

Great site worth a read....and I am working on those flash animations. They will be coming shortly.