Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hard Work Pays Off

Still trying to download the gps data from last the race last night. Windows software is not happy running on a Mac! Will have the race results posted as soon as I am able.

Great race last night. The hard work and regatta practice is definitely paying off. We jumped 5 spots in one night to finish 4th. Very happy with this result. To start with we gave ourselves plenty of time at the start and started the clock at 15 minutes to our race. We followed the countdown to double check. This gave us plenty of time to get into our desired start position. We did the startline dance (more like a waltz compared to the J fleet in regattas), and managed to have and excellent windward position start.

On the upwind leg we lost a little ground on the other J. Checked and adjusted trim and boatspeed and we were able to point as well and gain ground on the other J. When they tacked over we waited and tacked to windward of them. We managed to pass to windward on a good lift. Still working this one out but top third of the course they managed to pass us. Trying to resolve whether it was a trim issue or wind issue. They managed to get good speed on us and make a bit of headway. Come to think of it there is a large hole (windshadow from geography) between 1 and 3 and seems to me that is just about where we lost ground. Not absolute on that though. We were headed towards the Black hole "marker 3" with huge current. Large swells and light winds meant we would surely get pushed to the mark. Just before tacking to the layline we had to give right away to starboard boats. Footed off early to get some speed and make the duck less of a course problem.

Tacked to the layline (with a little extra in case) and made a good rounding. The pre-feed step had a little difficulty. The spinnaker came under the jib a little and had to be corrected. The chute flew nicely and we were in clean air on the downwind leg. The downwind team worked well together to focus on speed and we made time on the other J. The other J Gybed over at mid course. Crew discussions after the race determined that it was to avoid the hole. We held our course and managed to gain a little as the wind started to pick up a bit.

We had to point high to make the finish line but we managed to cross just as we were starting to get shadowed by the rest of the fleet.

Overall an excellent race! Congrats crew. Job well done.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Summer Series 2006 Race 3 preparation Stage 1

Winds will be somewhat steady at 8-10 knots. A nice breeze. Could see an oscillating breeze from E to ESE. The sailflow forecast shows the wind over the race time consistently veering to ESE. Course predictions are 2:1:2:1. The committee may however set a 2:3:1:2:1 course as so far is their custom with winds like these.

Starting work on re-rigging the deck hardware to move more controls to the mast area. will be putting in a cam cleat or two today. Moving the topping lift control, and cunningham up. will save the main and jib re-rigging for when we are in Kingston for CORK.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Don't Be Afraid to Let it Out

Over the last two seasons many people have either been introduced or rotated into the position of trimmer. There is one common thread that I see happening over and over again when a novice first starts to trim the spinnaker. The natural tendency is to sheet in when instead they should be letting out. I consistency see the spinnaker foot cramped up around the headstay. The spinnaker has some shape but overall is not flying properly. It is being choked.

Let the Spinnaker fly well in front of the boat. Remember that the spinnaker needs to be deep and full to power up. The adage applies to as well upwind as in downwind....When in doubt let it out.

Some of the speed issues we encounter on the downwind legs are caused by altering course to try and keep the spinnaker full. If the spinnaker collapses too much the helm has to correct fall off to keep it full until it is under control again. Watching ad playing the curl of the luff edge is crucial in keeping the spinnaker powered up and full.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Battered, Bruised...But Not Always Beaten

Port Credit Yacht Club hosted it's Open regatta this weekend. J-24 world qualifier. I took Friday off and delivered the boat to P.C.Y.C. with a crew member. I knew the winds would be light and figured it might be a long haul. Turns out other than a small puff or two the lake was flat. The entire trip took about 6 hours in some inclimate weather.

Saturday was beautiful weather. Once the wind decided on it's course it came up nicely and filled in the entire sight line. Heavy gusts at times. We did 4 races on Saturday. Start timing was excellent. We were on the money every time. Made my job easier. There were a couple general recalls which gave us a chance to set up again.

We had our usual issues with spinnaker and mark roundings. The crew is getting better at communication and getting their head in the race a little more. I am able to concentrate on boat speed and pointing a little more. Good tactics all weekend.

The best part of the weekend was finding that other boat that had the same issues we did and be able to race competitively against them. It makes racing fun for a new crew. There is a good sense of accomplishment.

Overall an excellent weekend. Some blood, lots of bruises, sore muscles and sun exposure but overall an excellent regatta. My thanks to the crew for a fantastic effort!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

What the Fog do You Mean Race Cancelled

Well, the rain was pretty heavy at times but lightened up on my way down to the club so being an optimist I thought "sure there will be a race. A little light drizzle...No problem. Have my foul weather." Did a quick visual check and trees tops were swaying quite nicely. I was getting excited. About a block from the club the sky was black and the wind was howling. Did not look good but knew which way the wind was blowing and was sure it would clear. Was not prepared for the Fog that rolled in though. Once down at the club I chatted with a few locals who were racing and they said that the visibility was still good enough to race.

Out we went! There were larger than normal swells but the wind did it's usual drill of dying down as we enter the channel to head out to the course. Once out there we bobbed and bobbed for a bit. Then there was a light breeze. Waited and waited for the committee boat (along with 5 or 6 eager racers) but the RC was a no-show. We scanned the radio but no communication.

Finally one by one the boats packed it in and headed for shore. Our crew being eager and always willing to sail decided to have a bit of a sail around. The wind had come up, fog had lifted and the we were sailing away nicely.

Why was the race cancelled again (and not postponed?)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Summer Series 2006 Race 2 preparation Stage 1

Looks like some wet and windy weather is scheduled for the race tonight. Winds forecast at 25kph for mid race and winds backing around 5. N to NNE winds for the race. Should most likely be a triangle course. Wich will most likely include marker number 3 (the inffamous black hole) I will keep inn mind the wide rounding lesson of the last race.

Working on the logistics for the CORK and Port Credit Regatta (PCYC this weekend). Lots to do and so little time.

Will check back on results of race. Crew short one today. Will be sailing with four instead of the 5 that I wanted to start to carry.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Another Skip On-board

This upcoming weekend is the Port Credit Yacht Club Open Regatta. We will be taking part in this regatta. The regatta is a J24 world qualifier event so the competition will be tough. I am hoping the crew and I will again learn a huge amount at this regatta.

There is still a lot of prep work to do. I have to co-ordinate the boat delivery, crew schedules, accommodations, and logistics for the race.

Went for a pleasure cruise on the weekend and met up with Simon, who was trimmer among other things on Gray Jay last season. He is now teaching a CYA credited course out of Bluffers Park Marina with
Nautical Escapes. Simon is a major contributor to our club newsletter. His stories, anecdotes and informational bits highly informative and amusing. I have asked him to come aboard as a contributor to The Skips Blog in an effort to increase the overall content that is available and perhaps increase the frequency of posts.

Look for his posts in the near future. I have asked him to include a write up for Nautical Escapes. I am looking forward to having another skip on board for discussion and content.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Summer Series 2006 Race 1 Results

The data and analysis for the race is posted here for the Summer Series Race 1.

Overall a good race. Looking back at the data and analyzing the race things were good. Major issues were the start sequence. The wind was medium to heavy at times and unlike class races where the course is perpendicular to the wind the line was skewed to the mark and wind so it is difficult to reach back and forth down the line to keep an eye on signals and the committee boat.

I think we may try dropping the jib and mulling around near the committee boat for the first start and time our start sequence from the second start which should be a 15 minute window. Once the timer is set in clear view of the committee boat we should be able to focus on pre-race positioning.

The first 2 legs were great and most of the third leg. The killer was the current at mark 3. I cut it too close and did not allow room for current or error. The wind died or we were shadowed and lost power to steer. Ended up trying to launch the spinnaker from the wrong side and it got tangled. It took some time to recover. But the last leg we rallied and fought back. Ended up way back in pack but a good overall effort.

I will try to post on mark roundings. Wide and tight to the mark, a good tactical rounding. I need to review and burn it into my brain. I should review with the tactitian as well so we are both on the same page when approaching the mark..

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Local Knowlege Pays Off

Just working on the race data sheet for Summer series race 1. Great night overall except for the last mark! Our best race boat speed and trim wise overall yet but fell short at the windward mark #3 where I tried to take the mark too tight and ended up having to tack. This shortfall caused a whole series of events with the spinnaker, which ended up putting us at the back of the pack.

Telling our story at the bar after the race seemed to get the same reaction from most of the sailors. The conversations went pretty much like this:

RACERS: "So how did you do tonight?"

US: "everything was going great till we hit mark 3. misjudged the mark and ended up drifting too close and tacked in circles to avoid it"

EACH AND EVERY RACER: "yeah been there and done that. The current on 3 is killer when there is a North wind. You have to give yourself plenty of room then extra."

Seems asthough it is common knowledge for those who have sailed the course for years. I seem to recall a couple races last year and one this year that we did the same thing. Now I have that marked burned into my brain and know there is nasty nasty current there.

Lesson learned!! (Again!) WIll post the results as soon as I can. may not be till weekend.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Summer Series 2006 Race 1 preparation Stage 2

A quick check on shows that even though the wind is NW it is changing direction in between lakes and coming backup SSW. So this should be the trend for the race. Looks like at present 7 knot winds. Winds may be a bit less than forecast due to wind backing in. No hard data to support the theory yet but working on it.

Radar shows some showers and cells forming. Depending on winds we may get a bit of rain. Accuweather is calling for showers at 4:00 pm.

Summer Series 2006 Race 1 preparation Stage 1

Weather for the first race of the summer series looks good. Indications are oscillating breeze NW to NNW and back to NW. Winds seem really good at 25km/hr. Should be a nice sail.

Things to look for tonight will be where the leaders go on a North wind. My predictions are a 2:1:2:1 course with the windward mark being the toughest due to wind shadow.

Will take a look at (new site for weather). This site has some great features and is geared to sailors.