Saturday, September 17, 2005

A Sunday-light to Go

Looks like Sunday will be a light day on the water. I am hoping it is one of those days that does not follow the weather model. There is only three races left until the boat is out of the water. Trying to get as much water time as possible before the big sleep!

Winds for tomorrow look like 5km/hr starting out of the NW then shifting to 5 km/hr SW. 180 degree shift. Strategy for tormorrow will be based on a persistent shifting wind. The key will be getting an initial reading on the wind and quickly determining the course or what I think the course will be. I have to develop a database or chart that will determine the course based on the angle of wind. It is not difficult, just a little time consuming. Think it is a winter task!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Crunch, Crunch, Crunch

I am starting to benefit from creating notes and diagrams based on my interpretation of the races. I can see some patterns starting to emerge that will eventually become an advantage in future races. Looking back at the recent regatta races and crunching the data it looks as though when we were on the lower part of the course we had better wind and seemed to gain ground.

My theory is that when the winds are from the NE at 80 degrees they funnel along the bluffs and create a wind tunnel effect increasing the velocity. I need see if this theory holds any water of course but the very act of analyzing the race and keeping a log is a very useful tool. From the data I have kept I can assume that on 3:1:3:1 courses it may be better to go to the left of the course on upwind and right on downwind for more wind.

Weather patterns and cycles tend to repeat so having a log of races can only help. It is a good exercise to objectively analyze your race and see where mistakes were made or where advantages were gained.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Downwind Angles

Looking back at the regatta notes I began to wonder if I sailed too high in the downwind legs. This prompted me to find out what the best sailing angles are for the downwind legs and flying the spinnaker.

A general rule of thumb is higher in the lighter winds and lower in the heavier winds. I have experienced the effect of sailing to close to Dead downwind. The J24 is extremely unstable. I was reaching during the regatta in 12-15 kt winds. The pole varied from 10-30 inches from the headstay (5 deg.-10 deg from the bow). My thinking is to develop some charts on spinnaker angles vs speed and windspeed. This should give me a benchmark for determining what is the best angles under different conditions. I found this article online, the author from Jworld which was helpful. This pdf from Boston Harbour Sailing School was also useful.

When I get the data together it will be posted. May not be till next season.

Regatta 2005 Comments

The wind gods looked down on us for the Basin Open Regatta of 2005. The Committee boat however was not in their favour. We were on the water for a 10:10 am start. Apparently the committee boat had issues with the radio. We assumed the course to be 3:1:3:1 as soon as we got out on the water. The fleet however seemed to be unsure and hung about towards marker number 2 for quite awhile. The go ahead was given around 11:45 for start. wind was brisk at about 13-15 knots consistely with gusts of probably 18 kts.

Our first race was a bust. Many little problems contributed to an overall loss of time that put us in the back of the pack for the finish. Tangled spinnaker, jib sheets that were caught under spinnaker pole. All in all one of the worst races this year.

However the second race was a triumphant least until the last leg. We took a low course off the start. Reviewing the race logs now I am assuming that ther was a wind increasing effect from the NE winds channeling along the bluffs. I will mentally be aware of this and test the theory on NE winds in the future. I know we managed a good reace but I do not have the results back yet.