Developed in conjunction with Joomla extensions.

Menu
Soling Racing Recaps

Soling Racing Wrap Up: 5/22/18

Welcome to our first night of Tuesday racing! Let’s run through some standard operating procedures before we get to the racing.

Rigging

In rigging any boat the first three things you do are...

  1. Check the equipment
  2. Check the bilge
  3. Check the running rigging

In racing it is more detailed. After checking the safety equipment you must check out all the equipment. Check that both jaws of your spin pole work, check for a rip in the chute, make sure your pins have ring dings in them (shroud pins should be taped), make sure your tiller universal in not compromised, look for frayed lines and broken parts. The list goes on. Take nothing for granted as the boats get sailed and raced constantly. If there is a problem it’s a lot easier to fix on the mooring field than it is out on the race course, away from our work float.

Don’t just check the center bilge, open up the inspection ports in the bulkheads and pump any water in your bow or stern (bilge water can get trapped there).

Checking the running rigging includes all sheets, halyards, lanyards. Where are they and do they work properly. Boats are set up differently, know your boat, and please don’t pull out a magic marker and label our boats up. And if you see something labeled, don’t assume it’s labeled correctly (because the BSC does not label anything in marker). After checking the running rigging, check the standing rigging and set up your shrouds right, which is even. Then consider your rake and if windy, your mast bend. Basically the forestay positions your rake, the backstay determines your bend. Not sure, ask and look. All BSC staff and most experience racers are helpful to others, unafraid of handing out trade secrets. On the race course look at how the top finishers are setting up their boat. Mirror and copycat and you’re on the right track.

Now that you believe the “rig” is right for the conditions. Next is the “set”….setting the sail up right for the wind and water conditions using the many controls the Soling offers. That’s another whole discussion but I will say this… Set the sails when they’re luffing and check them when they’re full of wind. It’s easier and it gives a better feel for sail shape. Also, “set” the sails on the race course not in the mooring field where you don’t have a proper gauge of the wind.

RIG-SET-TRIM

Trim is the third part of the equation but that’s a lot to tackle. So I’ll say this for now, if you want to “Sail the breeze of the moment” you need to trim to the breeze of the moment. Things are always changing so you must (A) notice that change and (B) shift gears swiftly yet smoothly. Ah, proper rig, set, trim for the conditions at hand, to unleash the essence of pure Boat Speed. An elusive but obtainable quest. Of course there’s a quest for perfect boat handling and tactics too. The 3 tines that make up the Racers Trident…

OFF TO THE RACE COURSE 5/22

PRE-RACE

Thanks for getting out early, though if you were late the RC wouldn’t have waited. It gave you time to read the breeze, deal with your rig, set, trim and see the RC set up the course. Why did we set that type of race course in that area of the inner harbor? Tonight’s course in the SW-WSW meant wind shadow/blanket at the top of the beat with a sketchier starboard approach than port. Twice arounds gave more time to recover from an early mistake (like a poor start) and more threat to be overtaken if in the lead (so consider moments to consolidate/cover).

RACE 1

At start the breeze was square to line and square to course. The breeze was even across course except for top right due to geographical conditions (buildings). The top right was less consistent (think puff-lull instead of puff, puff, lull on the rest of course), I’ll take the longer puffs. It was a good start as boats were mostly all up on the line and no one was OCS (on the course side). Most of the boats dragged raced off the start and worked towards the left side of the course. Since we only had a fleet of 11 (that will change) it was easier to find a lane to work with. Three boats did tack to port and split the fleet. When a fleet splits you have a better read of what the breeze is doing if you “check in” with the other side. Nothing special was happening to the fleet that split right. No one tacked up the middle of the course which was good as it was not shifty or puffy enough to do so. Matt Flynn made the right side work for him as he took a righty puff across the fleet just below the starboard tack lay-line lull (due to building wind shadow). Nice job tacking in the breeze-line instead of holding port too long into the lull. The next five boats to round came from the left side of the course. Rounding the off-set mark and popping the kite proved challenging as crews were knocking off the rust. If the offset is a standard beam reach approach, the goal is to get the chute hoisted and cleated before breaking the overlap with the offset, and it full seconds later. Stay high only to get it full then bring the bow down, more so in breeze, less in the light stuff. Most boats reached up too high for the wind strength… away from the gates. Another issue was the follow the leader syndrome. Almost no one jibe to port until they were so far down the course and to the right that they had to jibe to head back to the gates. There were other paths to the gates, the only ill-advised path was to jibe to port immediately after rounding the offset due to the wind shadow.

Up in the lull, down in the puff, jibe on the lifts. The wind fills from behind so look for it and try to keep a lane clear. If behind, try to steal the breeze and blanket an opponent. Not a lot of that happening in race 1 which made it very boring to watch (just a parade of “follow the leader” with little positional changes).

The gate rounding was to be expected, rusty on the douse and weak on most roundings. There are 3 main goals in rounding the gates.

  1. Keep to the outside of the pack in the attempt to be inside at the mark (avoid the cleavage).
  2. Hold the kite up ‘til the 3 boat length circle where a rounding order is then established.
  3. Pass closely by a gate mark while sailing on a close-hauled course.

When the wind is strong it’s tough to handle goal #2 but it’s tough for everybody. Adjust accordingly. Don’t let goal #2 mess up goal #3 for it may hurt more. Sometimes dousing early pays as you slow, give the inside boat room, and then you snake them as they make a poor rounding wide. Today there were boats rounding gates so wide a ferry could get through.
The second beat was very reasonable as boats sailed decent angles. The leader, Matt, worked the right side again since it worked the first beat. Again the breeze was a little less consistent and he lost a boat from the left side (while others behind made gains from the left as well). However, Ted crossed but did not cover, so Matt had his lead back.

Crews were much better hoisting the spinnaker the second time around. However, the run was a lot like the first run with little positional changes in the follow the leader tactics, except for Will who sailed great angles at the right times, sailing through the fleet, moving from 5th to 2nd.

Please, please, when it’s obvious your bow has crossed the line, pull your mainsail center line so we can read your number and record your finish.

Race 2

Another great start with boats on the line but no one over early. However, the Starboard tack got headed and boats were pinning each other from tacking. Dave Bryan was a little below the line and was able to tack and duck a boat to be the first boat on the lifted port tack. Wisely the second the breeze went square again he tacked back to starboard to consolidate his gain, stay away from the risky right side. Eventually the breeze filled on the top left of the course so those who sailed through the first starboard header tacked on the next starboard header and got across those working the middle of the course. Slow going at the top of the beat due to geographical blanketing but when you know it’s coming you should know to shift gears into light mode. Weight more forward and more to leeward, “set” for fuller sails, don’t trim too tight, don’t over-steer (rudder = brake) and heaven’s DON’T PINCH.

The run started with a case of the slow pops again. Whatever, as a group you’ll get it together. But as a single boat, what a great time to get some practice in so instead of being average as the pack, you tool on them until they get their legs back. On this run we did have a couple decent puffs and I watched some boats have difficulty with their helm. It hurt to watch. The puff filled in, the boat is on a light air angle and now the windward (weather) helm kicks in with the pressure. The skipper fights the breeze by bearing off with tiller, rudder brakes boat, boat goes slow just when it should be cruising, boat get passed from both sides. How about using our sails and our weight to help steer the boat. Answer: See breeze filling from behind, dump main out and get more weight to windward, and an ease of spin sheet if boat is heeling to leeward; drive down to new, lower sailing angle using a light tiller. If late on achieving this, then really dump spin sheet quickly, bear off quickly to a “loose” broad reach, trim spin sheet quickly and have a fun ride. The second you feel the tug of a tiller to leeward you are feeling windward helm and if you don’t correct it immediately…..and you have a spinnaker up? Well break out the popcorn ‘cause we got a carnage show to watch and the RC has a camera.

Race 3

Breeze died and the RC worried it was done, but alas wind, the course still looked good, no buoys to move. We did drop the boat end of the line back as we got a hint of a good righty. It went away and resurfaced in full on the second beat. The first beat went much like most the beats with a little more to work with on the left side of the course and being slow going at the windward mark.

The run was a little trickier working the puffs and lulls and it was nice to see a little less of a parade.

The leader rounded the right gate (looking downwind) with a solid lead. The next three boats rounded the left gate. I’m thinking, dude you got a good lead, how about tacking and covering just a little. Nope. Big righty comes in, whoops first is now fourth and if they tack to try and get right they’ll only sail a nasty header and get further behind. Bummer, you missed a shift but hang in there, Scotty can’t beam you to the other side of the course so make do with what you have. Sail the huge righty from the left side of the course hope at the top of the beat it comes back your way. I was fairly sure it would but I was very sure the right shift would die at the starboard lay-line (under the blanket). It did, the lefty filled, and that yellow boat rounded third, right behind the lead boats and ready to attack on the run.

The last run was light and slow mixed with rain (off and on all evening) and the temperature clearly cooling. Some boats chased the breeze, tryng to sail extra high and across the course to reach a puff. It was too much going sideways instead of going down towards the finish. No parade on this run but a bit of sailing extra distance. It was a super tight finish with 5 boats crossing within a few feet of each other. The RC got it right but it called for special tactics as sail numbers were not visible; note relative positioning to each other (inside, outside, middle), note color of boat, look for faces.

Hope that helps.

I look forward to a great sailing season,

Brad

soling 324