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Sailboat Racing And the Under 20 Second Loss

February 19, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 169

Tips from the Top - The Under :20 Loss

How many times have you lost a race by :03, :10, or :12 on corrected time? So here's the question, how many seconds did you "leave" on the race course? The answer lies in the details. Here are a few areas to not "leave" time on the course:

Crew Position/Hiking

Upwind - Assuming that it's a everyone "on-the-rail" kind of leg, we have done speed trials that show if one average size crewmember leaves the rail boatspeed drops by.1 -.15kts. Doesn't seem like much, right? Well, if that crew member were off the rail for the entire 1.5nm upwind leg it would cost you 23 seconds. Naturally the crewmember better not be off the rail for the entire leg, but even if they are for 25% of the leg it still costs you 6 seconds. How many races have you lost by that much or less! Another way to look at it is if the crewmember weighs 180#, their weight on the leeward side is equal to a 360# shift in righting moment. The same crew weight/positioning holds true for lighter sailing conditions, if the boat is lacking power the crew should shift accordingly. A good crew is paying attention all the time, and is reacting before the helmsman speaks up.

Tacks

PHRF racing sees a wide variety of boats racing against one another. So, it's important to know your competition. It's fair to say that a heavier 42-footer will not tack and accelerate as quickly as a ULDB 30-footer. This knowledge needs to play into your game plan. On a heavier boat I'd like to tack half as much as the lighter boat. Why? If it takes the heavier boat:20 to get back up to speed and the smaller boat only:10, then they gain:10 with every tack. And you certainly don't want to get into a tacking duel with them! In another example, we had two very similar 40-footers racing one another in Class A, we tacked twice, they tacked 6x. We led them around the top mark on a short 1nm leg by 8-10 boat lengths.

The tough part about limiting tacks is knowing which side of the course is favored, sticking to your game plan, and not chasing shifts. Another thing to keep in mind is if you really want a certain side of the course, don't hesitate to let a boat cross you. Wave them across, yes, even if they're on Port! Chances are if you do this they'll be less likely to tack on you and you get your side.

Boat-handling

Practice, practice, practice! As Dave Ullman himself says, sailing is one of the few sports where the participants hardly ever practice. Race time is not practice time! We all have busy schedules, but just one or two days of well planned practice will easily shave :10, :20, :30 off your elapsed time. Properly executed tacks, gybes, and especially Spinnaker sets, take-downs and mark roundings will get you up the leader board quickly. Look at your schedule, skip one of the smaller races and spend the time practicing. This will drastically improve your performance at the "big" regatta.

As with every sport, the top teams are the well prepared and practiced teams. There's a simple reason why they get across quickly and hike hard ALL the way upwind. They are picking up every second the competition "leaves" on the course.

Scott Poe splits his time between professional sailing and the creative advertising world. He has raced over 60,000 offshore miles and competed at all levels of the sport. He has been in the advertising and marketing field for over 25 years. He has helped to further market share with companies ranging from No Fear, GU Sports, Roland, Pioneer and others. Please contact Scott at poeman@me.com with comments or suggestions.

Source: EzineArticles
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