A couple of quick notes on what I thought it took to be successful on Sunday:
- A couple of weeks ago, I asked Ramsey to look at my Intensity sail, while I sailed upwind. His answer about the shape was, “really deep…too deep”. With the standard vang and cunningham settings, I never had a sail shape that would establish consistent flow and allow me to point with everyone. By sailing with more vang, cunningham, and even outhaul to flatten the sail, I found that I was faster and able to hold lanes. I don’t think you need to ask one of the top players either. We all have stepped into the power boat to do RC and compared the sails of the competitors in the race. It is much easier to gauge a good sail shape from outside the boat, compared to inside the boat. Plus, with so few variables at play while laser sailing, sail shape is the single biggest thing you can do to go faster in a straight line upwind.
- It was a pressure over shift day. I was willing to sail through a slight header on the beats (especially the first beat) if it was going to take me to the best pressure on the course. This was even more apparent downwind. Boats that sailed in pressure the longest made the most gains downwind. As a large person, I would sometimes sacrifice pressure for separation from groups of boats, because I knew that I would be the victim if I sailed in a pack. The truth is that I got burned every time I didn’t try to get the boat downwind of the pressure on the runs.
- Starts… Every time I had a bad start, it was a general recall. Mostly, I started like it was summer camp. I would use a big hole to leeward to reach down and then power over the first boat, until I established an upwind groove to keep my lane with everyone else. This is terrible advice! Do not do this! If it was a smaller line or a large regatta, that tactic would have failed miserably. Like many of us, I need to work accelerating in a limited hole and maintaining speed and point to keep a viable lane after the start.
- 2 or 3 really lucky shifts always help. However, the top right of the course seemed to be consistent throughout the day.
It was a great day on the water! Great RC work! Does anyone want a Harry Anderson (sp?) course for this week?
This past Sunday we only had two participants in the Radial fleet, so it was much like a match race event. John Gebhardt is always fast and tough to beat, so I knew it would be a challenge. Since there were only two of us, the RC elected to start us with the Standard fleet but score us separately. Sharing the starting line with rigs slightly larger is a challenge. Several times when I attempted to start at what appeared to be the “favored end” I found myself spit out the back into the second or third row. John and I quickly learned that it was better to start as far away from the standards as possible to get clean air and maintain a clear lane going upwind. For this reason, John and I often ended up on the right side of the course on the first upwind leg (which did not particularly seem favored, especially judging where we ended up compared to the standards, but it did allow us to cover each other.)
In the early races there seemed to be some fairly large puffs followed by long lulls, so I felt like I was constantly changing gears. Later, the wind got progressively weaker so I found myself pulling on lots of vang (which you do in the Radial in light air), sitting as far forward as possible and trying to keep the boat moving. Downwind, I sailed by-the-lee with slight windward heel. A couple of times on the downwind there was a right shift that caused me to accidently jibe, then I would sail downwind on a broad reach.
Tactically it was an interesting day. I constantly had my eye on John, and we were neck and neck most races. He is incredibly quick upwind. One race I managed to pass him going over to the right side of the course on the downwind leg, catching a puff. Other races, I made attempts to overtake him downwind and he managed to defend against my advances. In nearly every race we were within 2 to 3 boat-lengths of each other at the finish. We both won three races and lost three races, and I managed to win the last race by sheer luck. I had an early lead in the race because John was OCS, and I thought I was home free. I rounded the leeward mark at the back end of the Standard pack, still with about a 6 boat-length lead. As I was gathering speed on port tack after rounding the mark, I was forced to tack by someone on starboard. After that I was temporarily pinned on the left side of the course. I attempted to break free of the boat to windward of me by pinching him off. Once I was ahead of him and free to tack, I tacked back to port only to find John had scooted way ahead. (And I think NOOOOOO, how did I blow that lead!!). The next time we crossed tacks he was several boat lengths ahead of me. We had a small tacking duel, but he ended up tacking onto port ahead of me as we sailed to the finish. Then, just before the finish, John was in a crossing situation with a Standard rig. By this time the wind had died almost completely and he elected to duck the starboard-tacker, which closed the distance between us. I managed to cross behind the starboard-tacker without changing course and won by inches. Had John tacked instead of ducking, things might have ended differently. What a fun day!! Thanks John for the great competition, and thanks to the RC for running the races. See you all when I get back from Florida!!
Division: Laser (18 boats)
|1||701||Chitter Charter||Brady, Christopher||5||1||3||1||5||5||20||1|
|3||183826||Tan, Robert J.||1||5||2||3||9||3||23||3|
|15||180536||Cold Feet||Cofer, Steven||8||15||16||16||17||17||89||15|
|16||196049 (168424)||John, Edward||12||16||17||17||16||15||93||16|
|17||152989 (3889)||Futcher, JR||19/DNS||17||15||11||14||18||94||17|
Division: Laser Radial (2 boats)
(1)Scoring System is ISAF Low Point 2009-2012