#1: “Wash Your Hands for 20 Seconds”
When you’re staring at the sink 20 seconds seems like an eternity, so we’re all trying to think of clever ways to pass the time. But when you’re on the starting line on the final day of the qualifying series at the Worlds, those 20 seconds to the gun fly by.
Those final moments are critical to pulling off a winning acceleration and transitioning into a high mode to gain some real estate on the boats around you.
Design a Routine
We’ve created a systematic routine for the last 20 seconds of the start sequence, and happy to share it with you with the hope it’ll inspire you to reconsider your final 20 seconds and come up with your own routine.
20 seconds to go: Final opportunity to double tack and create a gap to leeward. Subsequently taking the space of the boat luffing to windward that you plan to pinch off with your stellar high mode once full speed off the line.
17 seconds to go: You’ve just tacked back to starboard, eased the jib and flattened the boat with slight windward heel. Skipper must check the mainsail to make sure all battens are popped.
16 seconds to go: Crew and skipper can sight distance back from the line. I.e.: Crew says, “2 boat lengths.” Skipper says, “1.5 boat lengths.”
Who is right? Doesn’t matter. The point is to talk about it and over time you’ll both improve your accuracy.
15 seconds to go: Crew begins counting e-v-e-r-y-s-i-n-g-l-e-s-e-c-o-n-d. Why? Because you can’t afford to look down at your wrist anymore. Eyes must be forward (skipper) and scanning (crew) for incoming bombers trying to slide in at the last second.
12 seconds to go: Crew pulls controls on. Skipper steps and heels boat slightly to windward inducing bare away.
8 seconds to go: Crew trims jib to 50% to introduce flow through the slot without back winding the partially luffing mainsail.
5 seconds to go: Crew steps up to hit the wire. Skipper begins trimming at low in groove angle. Minimal leeward heel is ideal.
3 seconds to go: Crew pulls boat flat and trims jib to 90% while skipper trims main on and finds steering angle.
1 second to go: Boat closing in on full speed and approaching line.
Go: Boat crosses starting line at full speed with both crew and skipper locked into to upwind position.
Be Deliberate with your actions in those final moments and practice these acceleration steps with your partner.