It ain’t easy
Really a fantastic event, with 13 races in (mostly) trapezing conditions and 20 boats on the starting line. Ten Canadian and ten US boats raced in a mix of shifty NE, N and NW wind. The regatta was an opportunity for veteran teams to test their ability to focus and turn on ‘race mode’. It ain’t easy: sailing is the most complicated sport. The regatta was also an opportunity for newer teams to rip around the Bay and enjoy the challenges of skiff sailing.
I encourage everyone to enjoy these small regattas with nothing on the line (no qualification or ranking). The harder everyone pushes each other the better everyone gets. Share information, cooperate, push. This is the skiff way.
Food For Thought
Some general take-aways:
In the conditions we had (dominated by vertical mixing producing erratic puffs) the pattern that works in each race will be unique and will not repeat in the following race – see chart on page 2 (what conditions did we have? Day 3 was “unstable”, day 2 was “slow oscillations”, what was Day 1?);
In each boat the non-decision maker should ask leading questions of the tactician;
It is always good to discuss how fast the puffs are moving and what shape they are;
It is always good to discuss the need for patience vs the need to be decisive;
Locking into your desired MODE (high, low and fast, or medium) is especially important in these conditions because the fastest way to the next puff/shift can be 1) tack, 2) high mode, or 3) low mode;
Day 1 brought a left shore effect in race 1, (wind 030 magnetic) with a big right shift (to 085) arriving at the end of the second beat, or beginning of the final run. After this the wind went further right in a typical scenario when the wind is from Bear Cut Bridge.
Day 2 began with clouds over the ocean and none over land. The forecast was similar to the previous day. Neither the strength nor the shift arrived as predicted. The wind oscillated between 040 and 055 most of the day as the cloud cover equalized over land and water.
Day 3 began with no clouds anywhere and the wind from 000. It went left 10 degrees before the first start and kept going left all day. The puffs got very erratic in race 2, and the wind went left and built for race 3. Spectacular end to a great regatta. From: Richard Feeny
There were scenarios on the race course that deserve a second look and examination. With a 20 boat fleet mark exits and roundings were important spots when you could pick off or put distance between a few boats. I’ve illustrated some situations and commented below on successful steps. The goal here is for you to visualize and then perform the proper steps instinctively next time.
Let’s look at Exit Angles from the Top Mark. When to go High & when to Exit Low from the top mark. The question is knowing which conditions relate to better high or low exit lanes.
It was patchy and puffy at Midwinter’s East. Especially on the last day of racing, when the breeze off the land was inconsistent and extremely patchy. The illustration below describes a situation in which the trailing boat takes advantage of the patchy conditions and looks to jump the lead boat. The question to ask is: did the boat ahead change it’s angle because of a shift or loss of pressure. “Was distance gained?” If you can put in a good gybe at this moment and separate you’ll have starboard advantage at the next cross, and most likely will have jumped a ladder rung down wind.
Check out this spreadsheet of mark rounding placement from the regatta. Highlighted in green are boats that improved position downwind and on second upwind. Orange bar maintains positions, red bar loses position. MidWinter’s East 17