Sigma 38 Race Training – 12 April – With Alacrity
“Twenty press-ups for being late” is a phrase anyone
who has been on a training session with Jim Saltonstall
will have heard. So when 40 expectant crew gathered in
Must be said the day was not ideal for race training as the British weather failed to co-operate with breeze going from 7 knots to 34 knots with stinging hail storms and back to 7 knots again. At least we got some practice with sail changes and reefing!
In between the squalls we were given a good work out with follow the leader exercises, windward / leeward boat handling (including a few entertaining spinnaker gybes in 25 knots), 10 or so rolling starts one after the other and finishing with 2 short races. All captured on video for the debrief analysis in the clubhouse afterwards.
Key learning points for me:
· Separate out the jobs of helm/tactician/crew boss – helms job is to make the boat go fast and he/she will not do that well if trying to organise the boat and decide which way to go at the same time
· The boats at the front are not infallible, they just make less mistakes than the rest of us - so improve by ruthlessly reducing the mistakes
· Blimey – the running backstay really does straighten the forestay and help you point higher, never seen it shown on video quite like that before
· At the windward mark ease the kicker before bearing away – especially when the breeze is up
· At the windward mark don’t over-ease the genoa – this helps the bear away and gives less friction for the kite hoist
· At the windward mark keep weight on the rail until after the bear away (I know it is obvious but just never seems to happen and really shows how bad we are on video)
· If the kite doesn’t get to the top of the mast, fill it anyway and grind it up (hah that’ll teach ‘em to be quicker!)
· On a run have someone feeding the genoa leech as it is re-hoisted, otherwise friction on the spinny sheet slows the hoist and knackers the sail (in 4 years of Sigma 38 sailing that had never crossed my mind before)
· It takes 52 seconds to swap sides with the genoa when the kite is up : )
There were loads more but these were main ones for me – anyone want to add to the list?
This was With Alacrity’s first outing of the season so we were all a bit rusty and took quite a bit of post-match analysis to work out how we should sort out boat handling, but thanks to having 8 skippers on board to keep the “noise at the helm” under control there are definite signs we will improve!
Huge thanks to Jim and his fellow coaches, Philip and others for organising the day and especially to everyone who contributed to the barbeque at HRSC afterwards that went down a storm - £3 each was unbelievable for the amount and quality of food on offer!!