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Traveller Tips #13 Approaching the Windward Mark (on flat water)
No matter how close you are though you inevitably include an extra bit of ‘comfort zone’ in your decision (ie, sailing beyond the precise layline) in case the wind direction changes or you’ve misjudged the angles.
My opinion is that in club-level sailing we tend to make this ‘comfort zone’ far too big, and it’s quite common to see boats going two or three full boatlengths further than they need to before tacking for the mark.
It’s easy to understand why though – when you’re thinking “Crikey, those boats aren’t far behind – I must make sure we get around this mark safely!” an extra couple of boatlengths before tacking may seem a sensible precaution – but, looking at it another way, you’re offering those boats behind an easy way of getting 40 feet closer to you and possibly even overtaking.
Of course those boats behind might simply copy what you did anyway, because another tendency in club-level sailing is for all of us to base our decisions on what we saw the boat ahead do – but if you can force yourself to make your own decisions instead – and then force yourself to not include that comfort zone – you will find yourself frequently taking big chunks of distance out of other boats.
It can go wrong of course – without that comfort zone there will quite often be times when you find yourself approaching the mark from slightly below the layline and unable to get around without doing two more short and very messy tacks.
How you can avoid those extra messy tacks will be the next tip in the series!
Helm, Jeremy Arnold, FF3936
And now another of our regular Travellers Tips, this time from Richard Lovering:
Traveller Tips #12 Gybing in lots of wind!:
“When it’s windy the crew pulls the main over during the gybe from the centre main sheet, because this allows a better pull on it. Also, before going for the pole make sure the boat is flat and fully under control.”
“Finally, before you go into the gybe you should also make sure the pole is at the right height, in order that you can get the pole back onto the mast quickly after the gybe without fighting the downhaul. ”
Helm, Richard Lovering, FF4402
Click here to read the final report on the Europeans on Y&Y Magazine
Traveller Tips #11 Starting:
“We use a Wot-tac to work out line bias and always take a lot of wind bearings so we know what the wind is doing.
Once line is set we already know what a square line should be, then sailing down the line getting your heading you can work out which end is biased. There are is also the Tacking Master for this too:
Available from here (other retailers available!): http://www.xtremity.net/acatalog/Wot-Tac-Race-Planner—special-offer-wottac.html
Available from here (again, we aren’t endoring this supplier specifically): https://www.force4.co.uk/force-4-tackingmaster.html
Helm, Richard Lovering, FF4002
Garda is a fabulous spot – have you been? It’s spectacularly lovely …. but a blinking long tow. Plus I think you have to have one of those stripey square signs on the back.
Anyway – is there a better way to do it? Well think about the joy of towing from Ireland !! This is how the Irish are doing it – click here to read
Click here to download the poster for your noticeboard
As the wind goes up and down on a lake far more (always seems that way), remember ease and tighten the main and jib sheet accordingly
As you adjust the jib sheet you’ll be able to see the leech of the jib in the window by the spreader literally open and close with more or less tension.
Learning from others:
A very simple tip, if a boat is going faster than you, don’t bury your head in shame, look at the sails, the boat trim, and copy them…….and if it works remember to thank that boat afterwards!! Eyes out of the boat…….the smaller the sailing area the more important when it’s not all going right, remember that the alternatives are never as exciting…..….you just might be working….so just smile and carry on.
Helm, Justin Waples, FF4033
Here’s another installment in our Traveller Tips series, and it’s from sponsor of the series Justin Waples:-
When light air sailing on a reservoir, remember to move the mast forward with the controls as the wind goes light (ie. when the crew sits inside the boat)…….and then move it back to neutral as the crew sits on the windward deck.
Practice it beforehand….. look at the top of the mainsail when it’s light, trim the main to your normal position then move the mast forward (approx. 2″ if it’s really light) and see the difference (you might need to then ease the mainsheet slightly too….the top 1/3 of the leech just fans out.
Helm, Justin Waples, FF4033