Solo News 15 Apr 2012

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15/4

It was a cold northerly sometime pretty strong – not quite the warm introduction to spring that we had wanted. Mark and I vied for the class race, while Paul went off to the Silverwing open and showed how much he has improved getting a second in the last race.  Well done Paul – our fleet is starting to be noticed!

Back to the racing – Mark took me by surprise just before the start driving over me and then down the line establishing himself below me on a line biased to the outside end. I confess I had switched off with about 30 seconds to go and didn’t keep my eyes open. If I had been awake I should have accelerated and pushed him up but I was switched off. Assuming I get the video clips sorted you can see the effect. Come the gun I’m going OK but Mark is better positioned ahead and slightly to leeward. Then I compounded it with a terrible second tack – how often have I said practice tacking... there really is no excuse for getting the tiller extension jammed and nearly capsizing. If you watch the video closely you can see how close I came to filling up.  After that the first beat from my side was just trying to catch or not be too far behind Mark. Downwind you can see I tried to blanket him and possibly caught up a fraction.  Apologies to Mark, but the clip showing the leeward mark is just too good an example to not show.  You cannot afford to make a wide rounding of the leeward mark because the boat behind (me in this case) rounds close and is a length to windward and almost alongside just from the mark rounding. A tight rounding is simply a shorter distance and losing ground to windward takes two tacks to regain.

 
 

It’s just the first three legs.

See the start and how <Mark takes me by surprise and is better off the line, then my bad tack at about 2 minutes into the race – I was probably still thinking about the start... As you can see that gave Mark several lengths putting me very much on the back foot for the first leg. At about 9 minutes 45 seconds you can see Mark start to round the leeward mark about three lengths ahead of me – tricky gybe rounding. I start wide, gybe slightly early and round up tight on the mark at 9:53 you can see Mark is very wide as I turn inside him so by 10:00 I am alongside and to windward.

Just a bit of fun as the wind came up before the afternoon races. Video of a flat out reach into a gybe.  Note how I go into the gybe at absolutely full speed but then stop the boat turning as the boom goes over before then hardening up a touch. It also shows that in a blow the Solo is faster than the committee boat! Keep that boat flat – work the sheet off wind, bear away and ease sheet in the gusts harden up a shade in the lulls but keep the boat flat at all costs. Personal preference but I prefer to switch back to rope through cleat for the gybe because I’ve found otherwise I end up with too much sheet out immediately after the gybe and tend to weather roll. Weights a tad further back once it gets windy, more if there are waves and a danger of nose diving, but above all keep the boat under the mast – I say it that way because that’s what you are doing as you bear away in a gust. The boat starts to heel so you move the hull back under the mast.

 

Enjoy the wind...

Gareth