Want to win a race. PRACTICEThatís what Mike did for several hours on Saturday in the heavy wind. On Sunday he knew how to make the boat go and go fast. He took the lead and never gave it back I was out on the water on Saturday too but in the pontoon boat giving our guests a tour. Mike was out there making his plans.
That wind was just about as much as we can handle but not so much everyone tips over. Joe took a drink and Curt and Scott were close several times. Not sure if they went over or not, they get up so fast.
Rob, Des and Dave C took off on Starboard, Rob cut back after just a few minutes, looked like a good move, but it was Des at the top first and held the lead for some time. The next group all looked good coming off the line we should have had a video today.
John and I started next and let me have John tell you how it went for him.
Hereís John: In the first leg I just tried to relax and sail fast, I almost caught up with the fleet in just one upwind leg! I was really excited and then instead of just relaxing and feeling the boat speed, I kept fighting to tighten the sheet and control the boat using vang, dropping the traveler and even using some cunningham. Then on tacks the board didn't go down well (needed to drop it earlier). In essence I became fixated on these things and the next thing I knew the fleet was disappearing and you had blown by me. Then I took too long of tachs..breaking my rule of the week before of trying to stay in the middle. Well there you have it. Seems simple today but yesterday was a different story. Amazing how we let our thinking get too complicated sometimes. How about just sail the boat not fight the boat ...what a concept!!
I got it wrong right off the bat. I tried to point since the boat seem to want to go high in all this wind so I got it going high and with all this wind around it seems like I must be going fast. Half way up the leg John is 200 yds ahead already. This is not working. So I let out about 6 inches of sheet and let the boat go. And go we did. Next time up we were ahead of John and gaining on others.
The MC likes medium wind. In heavy wind it wants to point up but it slows down. You got to find the spot with plenty of vang but keep the boat from pointing too high. Let out some sheet or some let out the traveler a few inches. Either way you got to find the spot where you let the boat go, and it will go much faster. Even if the others are pointing higher you will get to the next tack sooner and leave the pointers behind. You can just tell when you hit the spot, the boat has lots of power to punch through the waves and it is not always healing up.Another thing, keep you eyes out of the boat watching for the dark water puffs, ease the sheet, fast, 1-2 feet and power through that puff, as soon as you can trim it back. We used to head up in a puff thinking we were shortening the distance to the mark but itís slow. Let out the sheet and then retrim, much faster method. This applies to light wind as well.
To insure you donít tip on a day like today you can let out the traveler a foot or more. Des let his out all the way and sailed a good race. I never caught him, he stayed flat and went fast. Dave C also let the traveler out and kept the boat afloat.
Joe did tip once but was up in a jiff and it still took me a long time to catch him.
Doug reports that he followed Mike for most of the race and used every trick in the book, including a fake tack to get around him. No dice. Mike knew how to keep the boat fast and without making any major mistakes the race was his. In fact Doug got passed by Jack in the last few minutes because Doug was after Mike and didnít cover Jack. Doug sayshe wanted the first, not protect a second. But Mike was the manÖ..
Here are Mikeís words:
I've thought about the keys to my race. Practice, Preparation and Execution. No doubt the practice the day before in very similar conditions allowed me to focus on other things than staying upright. I also raked back to 28 3.25 and put a half of turn on the side stays. I found when I was practicing I could handle the wind with the boom half way between center and corner. On the execution side a key was a good start in clear air. More lucky than good. I did remember from one of the sailing schools that you go for speed in light air and direction in heavy air. After the start the three leeward boats were going like crazy but I stuck to the plan. Jack was really moving but I noted he was really falling off. It was hard to keep slamming into waves and not feel like your getting anywhere but it paid huge dividends on every leg. I think the boat set up also allowed me to stay in control. I worked the tiller and rudder the entire legs up wind and I was winded when the first leg was done. I also thought during my practice runs earlier in the morning that the right side was good at the bottom 2/3 and the left good on the upper third. Thus I crossed over violating one of the principles. I almost went brain dead on the third leg upwind. I was covering Doug and just sailing along nicely to the finish line only to discover that Schnieder and Joan were not the finish line and I had to go back around the bouy. In the process I hit the bouy and had to do a 360. Doug gained 20 boatlengths in the process and it took me awhile to get calmed down to sail. On the last leg I was covering Doug until he did a nifty fake tack. By the time I turned around again he was sailing on the other tack. A friendly question from a fellow sailor brought me back to reality and I tacked to cover. Then it became dicey between Doug and Jack. I was so busy looking back to see who to cover that I realized I was sailing to the wrong boat end of the line again. I was sailing up toward Joan and John. Luckily Doug and Jack were killing one another so I reached the last 50 yards to the finish. It was an athletic race. I wore a heavy sweatshirt and kept soaking in the water on the downwinds to stay cool. I think that helped.
Mostly, in the end it was the feel of the boat in high winds from day before practice. Now I can join you John Doug and Jack to watch the next race Michael
Thanks Mike, great input.
I really enjoyed this race once I quit trying to point so high. I passed some boats but got no where near the leaders. But obviously Doug Bruce, Jim, Dave,Scott and Jack had a good race. Bruce and Rachelle got a 4th you know. The downwind was very fast and lots of fun but no passing lanes there. Great day. See XL sheet for the finish order.