2016 October NorCal TC
This weekend’s stormy weather created a way for sailors to push their limits and preparation on day one, with lighter wind on Sunday to focus on being calm and smooth.
Saturday - When in doubt, stay as a group. The larger the squad the more important. With only one coach per every 6 boats, it makes it really hard to be productive if you don’t stay as a group. Always have knots, shackles, or splices that are easy to undo and don’t require tools.
Sunday - Sailing in mostly heavy breeze maybe fun, but to be well round it is important to practice in low teens all the way to zero knots. It is very difficult to understand how the boat reacts to steering, trim, body weight ect. if you only experience it in stronger breeze.
Apparent Wind Sailing
Light and lumpy conditions place a premium on understanding apparent wind, and adjusting the three main factors of boat speed - sails, weight, and steering - accordingly. Check out this presentation on apparent wind sailing to help wrap your head around how it affects your technique around a race course, and then check out this video of Ryan and Wells making it happen up the channel inside of the channel at CalYC (skip ahead to :38 seconds to find them). In particular, remember, “In and ease; trim and squeeze.” We always want to be moving weight in and easing the sheet when we sail into lulls in side force conditions, and then clicking the sheet on and squeezing the boat flat with our weight when pressure hits. This ensures that the boat stays as powered as possible without stalling. An easy way to think about it is that you always want to be sneaking the sheet in until you’re about to stall, and then easing and restarting the process.
If any of this doesn’t make sense, or if there are any conflicting ideas that you’re struggling with, be sure to ask! This is an indication that you have something important to learn, so don’t assume that you should understand - reach out for help and get to the bottom of the answer.
A really good drill to practice this technique is the heeled to windward drill, where you try to keep your windward rail just skimming the water, first by playing the mainsheet, and then by holding a more static mainsheet, and moving weight.
KNOW WHY YOU ARE EASING MAIN SHEET
There are two reasons to ease your mainsheet: either you are over trimmed, and thus stalling your sail, or your are overpowered, and thus healing the boat. If one of those things is not true, you should always have your mainsheet two-blocked! Here are some generalizations that can be made about the 2 reasons to ease main.
Main is stalling
Wind is lighter (light to side force)
Vang should be loose (goal of easing is to open leach)
Boat is heeling
Wind is stronger (driving force to windy)
Crew weight should be all the way outboard
Vang should be tight (don’t want leech to open off)
The goal of this training group right now is to step up our level of sailing before the Worlds this summer, and a big part of that is starting to get stronger and fitter in a way that compliments your sailing. It sounds like several of you have a few activities that you do outside of sailing for fitness already which is great, but I highly recommend tracking your performance on a few simple exercises so that you can understand how you are progressing. Mike Kuschner at Sailing Performance Training put together our workout this weekend, and if you guys ever see him around the Bay, you should definitely pick his brain on what it takes to compete at the pro level from a fitness perspective. Give his instagram some love, here.
Please register for the November NorCal Skiff Squad Clinic before October 31st to avoid late registration fees.