Greetings from 3rd place (Hangover-style),
Fun times on the water Monday! Thank you MUCH to Dave, Lloyd, Dan, and our guest photographer, Jeff, for helping to run 5 great races. The wind was moderate with some good puffs and shifts, and the current was heading out all afternoon (more on that shortly). We had 14 boats on the water, including two from SSA (thanks for making it out, James and Mike!).
A few observations:
1- Current. With a high tide around noon, we had an ebb tide the entire afternoon. And this meant a few notable adjustments to stay out of trouble/be fast, including:
- Making sure not to be too close to the pin end when starting b/c it was hard enough to get over the line on starboard without the added stress of likely hitting the pin.
- Keeping an eye out on where the line actually was when starting – and starting to accelerate a bit earlier than usual because it was easy to be a boat length or more from the line at the gun due to the current. (Related: I noticed there was often line sag, which made it much easier to get clean, front-row starts.)
- Making sure to overstand the windward mark a bit and be careful about fully passing it before starting to head downwind (note: with the shifts, I unfortunately overstood a bit a couple of times, but it did help with avoiding the mark).
- Making a tighter/earlier turn upwind at the leeward mark to avoid losing some unnecessary ground (this is more of a “note to self” for next time).
2- Starting. Yes, the current was an issue to recognize and adjust to — and the line became port-favored over the course of the afternoon. I had pretty consistent success being in the middle (or middle/boat side) and just below the line at about 30-40 seconds, which got me close to the pin by the start and gave me a great view of the line (and helped with starting roughly on time and on the line). I found the other critical element was making sure to be on the favored tack just after the start; increasingly, this meant a quick tack to port as soon as I could. There was one start earlier in the afternoon when the wind shifted pretty much at the start – and tacking over to port pretty much immediately helped a lot.
3 – A few other observations that might be helpful:
- With such puffy/shifty wind, I found myself looking around a lot more when going downwind to a) see if any puffs were coming so I could be prepared (e.g., by preemptively tightening my vang and being ready to give my mainsheet a good tug in to avoid flipping); b) see how other boats were pointing as a hint of how I may need to change course.
- Cunningham. I’m still amazed at how well I can depower the sail and make my boat easier to handle (while still being fast) with the MK2 sail. (That said, global reminder to us folks who are on the smaller side to not be shy with the cunningham when overpowered regardless of our sail – we can likely put on more than we think — and best to do this BEFORE the start (letting it off before rounding the windward mark) and BEFORE the leeward mark) to make it easier to give it a good, hard tug). (And all that said, it can also be helpful to loosen it in the lulls upwind if they seem to be hanging out for a while.)
Hope everyone is having a good first week back after the Holidays!
Photos can be found here. Photo credit to Jeff Scudder with Viva Loudon.