Solo News 3 July 2011

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OPEN MEETING THIS SATURDAY – The Open is a great chance to see what other people do, how their boats are rigged etc.

 

I’m planning a couple of extra prizes that many of you will qualify for (but I won’t, nor will many visitors) so no excuses for not being there. Format will as usual be three races, one before lunch and two after. That means you get a break after the first race to recover, and if you want to only do two races you can stop after race two having had a nice break for lunch after race 1. We had 10 boats on the water on Sunday and that was without several regulars. Let’s see if we can break our record on Saturday.

 

I plan to be at the club Tues evening to help encourage the Try-sailors who are in Solos and to coach any Solo sailors who are interested. If you would like a 1:1 session let me know. I will be there most weeks, but if you let me know in advance I can confirm.

 

Great turnout on Sunday with 10 solos racing in the Pursuit -  more than half the starters were Solos.  Frank Beanland again showed how quick he is in light winds – he does it far too often for it to be luck – in fact Frank led at the windward mark.  I think the conditions can be called challenging with patches of wind and patches of total calm.  I have both a sensitive mast head wind indicator and cassette tape on the shrouds (ever since I was overtaken by Peter C a while ago when he could clearly spot the new wind better than I could because he had shoud tell tales and I didn’t).  I was really struck by how often the mast head would tell me what the wind was about to do sometimes 30 seconds or so before the same wind got down to water level or even to mid –sail. Several times I tacked based on the wind indicator only for the tell tales to stream differently and the sail refuse to set, tack back, and then a few seconds later the wind fill in as predicted and I tack again this time with everything filling. After while I got wise to this and waited a bit longer for the new wind to establish before tacking or gybing.  In those winds there is a marginal advantage being ahead on the beats because you get the new wind first, but an advantage behind on the runs as a gust comes through. Generally the fleet spreads out upwind, although it is easy to lose a lot if you go the wrong way, only to close back up downwind.  Every lap I thought I had pulled away from Frank and Peter C only for them to be right on my tail again at the end of the run. On the last run they went opposite sides – I guessed that Frank who was I think just ahead of Peter had chosen the better side and also that side would be inside at the leeward mark so I tried to edge out that way hoping that Peter would not take both of us. Frank got all but alongside me forcing me to gybe away. Luckily I was able to gybe the shifts at the end of the run to stay just ahead.  Up the final leg with the committee boat shadowing us for the pursuit finish I just tried to stay between Frank and the next mark. With the crazy shifts that meant we finished in line astern with me close reaching on Port while Frank was still beating on Starboard – both of our sails setting and agreeing with our own wind indicators.

 

Sailing in those conditions is all about two things:-

1 - What’s the wind doing NOW where I am.
Very sensitive mast head and shroud tell tales make a major difference.

Constant sail trimming and gentle helm – coax the speed on in a puff and only luff slowly in a freer adjusting the sail as you go

 

2 - Where is the next patch of wind – which way is it blowing and which way is the patch tracking.
You have to sail to where the wind will be next. You make the boat go as fast as you can in what wind you have but you are watching really hard for the next change to either stay in this patch longer or get into the next patch sooner.

 

See you Saturday

 

Gareth

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