the 2018 Midwinters/US Nationals
Lake Eustis SC * February 2-4
a work in progress - updated: 25 Feb 2018 at 2051 hrs..

And now, time out for a leeward-mark teaching moment:
From: Uncle Al []
Sent: Thursday, February 22, 2018 3:23 PM
Subject: race 2 pics album posted at ...

As I was editing, I noted that some of  the less experienced sailors gave away a lot of distance in rounding from the downwind leg onto the upwind, because they tried, unsuccessfully, to multi-task. I urge you to use a trick that Marc Bennett taught me: Explain in advance to your crew that you will need him/her to do the following: As your bow is about to reach the leeward mark at the end of your downwind leg, have your crew sheet and cleat your genoa half-way in. Then the crew takes over the mainsheet, which (s)he sheets in hand-over-hand as rapidly as needed while helm concentrates on steering as close to a perfect tactical rounding (wide-and-close). When helm reaches his/her close-hauled course for the beat (2-3 seconds after crew took the mainsheet), (s)he takes back control of the mainsheet from crew who then gently but quickly trims genoa to its close-hauled setting. This method not only saves distance but also lets helm concentrate on the all-important steering and avoidance of collisions plus letting boats astern cut inside at the mark to pass you.


Uncle Al  W3854  CWA Class Coach

A classic case in point:

About three seconds ago, Crew should have cleated the jib in a fair bit more than it is now and taken control of the mainsheet. That would leave Helm free to concentrate on steering a smooth wide-and-close rounding and steering at least as good (= high) a course as the three port-tack boats in front of him. As Helm gives 100% of his attention to steering around the mark, Crew uses both hands to crank the mainsheet in hand-over-hand to a nearly close-hauled setting (No further!!!!) and offers mainsheet back to Helm who will fine-tune its setting as Crew does same for jib. In our boat Frank further refined the system by taking the first available moment to tidy up the loose end of the mainsheet before putting back aft of the thwart where it belongs.

The switch outlined above will let you avoid the following which, frankly, makes my racing teeth itch:

Think of all the hard work this team has done well only to have this move give it all away in a few seconds of more or less sailing backwards. Please take this in the spirit in which it is intended, guys. You were not alone in this. And we have a bunch of errors that we ourselves made in the Midwinters that we are itching to correct the next time.

And not to forget this! While not as damaging as losing track of steering your best course, sheeting in to a beat (mainsail above) too soon destroys air flow over the sail and kills speed. At this moment here, the mainsail should still be trimmed to match the boat's downwind course for maximum speed going into the rounding. Mary should, at this instant, cleat the jib sheet in about this position or perhaps a bit further in - far better too loose than too tight - and then take the sheet of the well eased mainsail when Mike hands it to her. Two to three seconds of two-handed trimming will nicely match the fairly sharp turn on which Mike will now be able to concentrate properly.