Thursday, June 29, 2006

Spring Series 2006 Race 8 Race Results

The data and analysis for the race is posted here for the Spring Series Race 8.

We left the dock early, wanted to get a bit of tactical practice in before the race. There was wind all day up to the point when we were ready to go out. I knew the forecasts and knew there would be wind but not sure what time it would come. I saw the forecast for a dying breeze just before race time and the pick-up during race.

The 2 long blasts let us know the race was postponed for up to 45 minutes. Off in the distance I could see a large band of dark which was the wind coming in far out. The crew were not all in favour of my observations some had doubts. The wind came up in a big way and in a hurry. The cell whipped winds around 180 degrees from what was expected and some boats were caught off guard. Everyone scrambled to figure out whether to start the race on a spinnaker run or reach. I chose the reach. The wind was going to shift based on the patterns I was seeing.

In the end the reach was the correct decision. The wind on the first leg lifted about 30 degrees pushing us right to the mark. The boats that launched found themselves in a mess when the wind changed. You could see some of the spinnakers collapsing and crew scrambling to try and raise the jibs.

The NOOD regatta, definitely made an overall improvement for our boat speed. We were neck in neck with our competing J-24 in the fleet at the first mark and halfway to the second. We lost ground when we got caught in some dirty air and did not tack below to find clean air. I have written about the importance of finding clean air. I got caught up in the boat to boat excitement instead of focusing on the overall tactic of clean air. Lesson to be learned.

The overall standings came out last night. Gray Jay was 7th overall. We did not compete in the Spring Series but overall last year we were 5th. Chalk it up to a learning curve and new techniques. The Summer series I am hoping to start crawling up the standings.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Racing in the NOOD

Back from NOOD Toronto. What a great experience. We did absolutely horrible in every race and made just about every error and mistake you could make in a race. On the positive upside it was a fantastic learning experience. It is reminiscent of my J-world course. 4 days of intense sailing (including time on the water there and back from the regatta).

The most important thing I learned at the regatta (besides how to get back to port before the free-pour of Mount Gay Rum was over, was how to handle the twist on the main and properly trim the J for maximum power.

I had a discussion about sail trim with the person who got me started in racing. When we raced together he had a Tanzer 26. He said (about main sail trim) that he found you could set and ignore the main. That may be good on a Tanzer but not the J.

The Jay is so sensitive to minute adjustments on the traveler and mainsheet as well as the jib. The function and communication of the trim team (helmsman and trimmer) is extremely vital to boat speed.

When the helmsman trims the traveler more than an inch or so it requires the trimmer to re-adjust trim on the jib. Likewise if the trimmer adjust the jib it affects the main.

On the 4 hour sail back on Sunday I put the tactician on the helm as much as possible and I became the trimmer (again). It was great. I had been on helm so long that I forgot what a challenging and exciting position the trimmer has. This was my primary position when racing the Tanzer.

The time also allowed me to focus on micro adjustments and combinations to trim with both the main and jib to see where the optimum settings are for speed and acceleration. During the race we had a little coaching from another class racer who avoided all the cliche clique that comes with some classes and offered us some advice when they saw us struggling. It was welcomed and implemented.

The advice was to set the mainsail at the black band on the mast. I had seen the bands in articles and measurements but there was no in-depth information as to how to use the information just the information itself. It reminded me of why I set out to create this blog in the first place. I searched for a resource on the net that provided in-depth information for varying levels of sailors that wanted to race. I found that the majority of the sites were on a particular class boat or discussion group or they were extremely basic and referred only to sailing or cruising. I think it is important to share information which will help someone else become a better racer. After all even if you are racing in the same class or fleet it can only improve your game by keeping you on your toes.

I will be posting the NOOD race results and analysis as soon as I can.