Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Zen of the Gybe

Practice on Tuesday went well. Winds were much stronger than I had anticipated. We managed to get a good deal of brisk wind tacks and gybes in. I noticed that on both the tack and the gybe the flow is very important. The mechanics of the tack or gybe are sequential but the timing and fluidness of the crew was crucial. In the gybes the fluidness or lack of was more noticeable then in the tacks. Probably due to the slightly slower pace that our gybes take on.

The mechanics are straight forward. Every action sets off another action and the culmination of these actions in sequence forms the gybe. I think the key to perfecting the gybe (and tack) is to practice, but quality practice I think is the key. Slow the process down to a snail pace to make sure we all are in the right place at the right time. Then gradually as we go up the leg pick up the pace.

This repetitive technique is widely used in many other sports and disciplines where consistency is key. While racing is a great way to sharpen the skills I still think it all boils down to the basics and repetition of the basics until it is all second nature.

I think this type of slowed down practice may help us break any bad habits and force us to think about each move. I think it will also reveal a number of faults in our technique. Things that go unchecked or noticed because of the rapid pace of the race course.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Outhaul Issues

One thing that will be discussed and sorted out over the off-season is crew position responsibilities. Now that we have a fixed crew repetitive tasks can now be assigned. This should make the boat function smoother. I know it will help particularly rounding the leeward mark on the second upwind leg. I frequently get caught up in the dynamics of the mark rounding and do not pass along to the crew that I need outhaul, and vang on at the last minute before dousing the spinnaker. It is much easier to put outhaul on at this point then on the middle of the second leg with the wind blowing hard.

It is these repetitive tasks that will become second nature to each crew member once we sort out each positions responsibilities. I know there are resources out there and I have commented on them early in the blog. Will need to dig up those resources again and re-visit them. We should be able to go by the book now that we have make adjustments to the deck layout to bring it closer in line with other class boats.