Saturday, July 26, 2008

Racing 7 26

More like it!

We finally had a light air day for Shields racing, and it was lots of fun. Every other race day has been big breeze, so I had no chance to see how the boat does in the light stuff. As it turns out, it does ok!

We had: me, Brian Shaw (main/spin), Brian Sabina (jib/tactics), Craig Capilla (jib/wind), and Eric Stuck (bow/bow) aboard today.

Boat was set up for base settings : 800 uppers, 300 lowers. On the way out we dropped a half turn off each lower, which would probably make it like 250ish(?)

Breeze was about 5-10 all day, mostly north, with only a couple shifts coming through. We got out early enough to get wind readings and do a practice leg (upwind, tacks, spin set, gybes, douse) We came up with a loose plan to play the middle left side of the course.

First start we got going a bit early and ended up 2/3 away from the favored boat end, but managed to get left early, catch good shifts and get out in front. Stuck to the plan all race and finished in 1. Had solid conservative tactics, and boatspeed that seemed just a bit faster than those around us. I love sailing with dinghy sailors!

Second race we got the (now favored) 1/3 pin start, but more importantly, came out rocket fast and were able to punch out early. I think this was mostly due to coming in on a fast reach, and having perfect trim: I didn't touch the tiller at all, and the slow easy trim on the sails brought us up to course. We were able to roll the boat to leeward, and also have enough speed to close off the windward boat. I changed our headstay setting to about 49", and we seemed to be a bit better paced upwind. This was the kind of race thats great to be in, but boring to describe: win start, extend, cover, extend, win by many minutes.

Had an excellent crew today, that made the racing easy and fun. All were college sailors, and perfect for their jobs on the boat. The one thing that I was shocked by after racing is that I don't think we made any mistakes besides the first start. It was super clean, and we didn't take any big risks. I tried to focus heavily on driving, as my guys kept a constant stream of tactical info coming, so I didn't look around much. Upwind it seemed like the best speed and height was maintatined with the jib leech about 5" in from the spreader, and the main set with boom on center, and the top telltale stalling most of the time. Doesnt sound right, but it was fast. Downwind we had awesome gains, as the front crew kept an eye on pressure/boats and me and Shaw worked on boatspeed ("getting light, come up" etc) It worked very very well, especially the second race.


I think theres a bit more speed to be had upwind in light air with this boat. I'm going to try chocking the mast a bit more forward.

College sailors rock

Need more beer on a race day. Had 9 beers and 2 ciders (?) and we ran out on the way in. I think a 12 pack plus rum would be more appropriate.

On light days, it would be wise to make the 6:1 traveler purchase into 3:1 for speed.

Had a really great day, and we have extended our lead in the series standings. So far we've done 10 of 16 races, and with drops we have a 10 point lead. Standings order for the top 4 ( I think) is

88 with 13
196 with 23
150 with 26
63 with 37

While we are obviously focused on the series, the next race we're doing is the Verve Cup, and we have a couple veteran Shields sailors aboard, which should be interesting!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Recap of last couple weeks

Mac rush is over, so I can think about my own boat again!

For the independence cup, Niki and I decided very late to sail, and thus had no crew besides ourselves. It was still pretty fun, and Niki got some good light air chute practice. I think we actually could have done well (being light) in the 3-5kts of breeze, but got a not-so-great start which was followed up by getting tacked on by anyone and everyone. We finished 6th and went in, but had a good time. Sailing doublehanded is great fun (at least in the light air.) Surprisingly, I found it harder to go upwing (working mainsheet, trav and backstay) than going downwing (gybing main and spinnaker)

The following wednesday we had Niki's parents out for a beercan, which we started 7 minutes or so late (due to wrangling with dinghies etc). It was a good test of light air speed again, and we ended up beating the 1 other boat out there.

Last Saturday was a series race (b1 b2) and we went out again in big breeze (AGAIN). Averaging high teens, gusting mid 20s. We seemed to lack our usual speed, and definitely didn't have the boathandling down. Additionally, I missed the first start by quite a while due to being way off the course while messing around with sails and compass headings. A painful 6 and 3. A couple lessons learned:

-dont leave the start area, and definitely not by 1/4 mi!
-need to practice gybing, sets, and upwind speed before the actual race
-wrapping kite is bad, very bad (I've only wrapped 1 Shields kite before, ever, and this weekend we had it 3 times)

The problems we had on gybes:
-boom out too far to make crossing boom easy: solution: shorten mainsheet with stopper knot
-spinnaker getting wrapped on headstay: trim old guy all the way back to shrouds before gybe
-overdriving during gybe: get everything gybed before following with helm

Got a chance to get our chops back this coming weekend, the 26th.

Thats all I can recall for now. Mostly happy the Mac racers are gone, so I can sleep again.