Monday, June 25, 2012

Race Committee and a Coaching Tip

This is one of those years where I've served on Race Committee before I've actually got one of my boats out sailing (hopefully before July 4th - I'll let you know).

Not that I'm complaining. It's not all work, work, work for Race Committee. In watching bits and pieces of the races we always hope to derive some amusement from the dinghy racers, those screw-ups, yelling, near-collisions (nobody likes to see real collisions). Well that weekend, the Johnson 18 fleet was up to the task of amusing the Race Committee - almost to a man they refused to take their spinnakers down until they were abreast of the leeward mark, which resulted in much flailing, boats turning upwind with jibs half out, poles not retracted, this all happening usually at a great distance downwind from the leeward mark. One poor fellow who made a complete hash of it, sailed way out of the three boat circle, reentered it going upwind, only to meet a fellow competitor who had been behind but had done a better job of rounding. Fortunately no collisions but the rule implications on having someone exit and then reenter the three boat circle makes the rule experts giddy with analysis.

I was thinking of wandering over to the Johnson 18 area of the dinghy park after the racing and mentioning how to correct this, but then I thought better of it; nobody wants a Mr. Know-it-All interrupting the post race drinks. Wait a minute, I have a blog - I can offer advice from afar (but should I?, spinnaker screw-ups are always a good source of merriment on the Race Committee.)

I'll be a nice guy, a tip for the Johnson 18 Fleet;
Start taking the spinnaker down far enough away from the mark so everything is tidy and shipshape when you enter the three boat circle! Figure out where that needs to be given your experience. Start taking the spinnaker down at say 8-9 boat lengths and as you get better tighten this up (or if you still can't shave around the mark with everything percolating, lengthen this out). 

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