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.