|The competition: A Harpoon 5.2. There are two of these|
in our fleet both are sailed well.
Tony and I have continued to improve our racing skills. The last few races we did not finish last in any single race, and the fleet was pretty tight. But we need to find another 43 seconds of improvement if we want to be in the top third of the fleet—that’s doable. We need to clean up some things that cost us seconds and we need a strategy that fits our boat.
|The competition: There are two Lidos--very nimble boats especially in|
light air. A Harpoon is on the right.
Tacking time. Depending on the wind, Kevin can tack his boat in 7 -10 seconds less time than we can tack the Tanzer. If we can eliminate two tacks upwind, we gain 14-20 seconds of the 43 we need. This is manageable. We need to be mindful of the wind patterns and try to hold tacks longer. We need to try and avoid tacking duels; we can’t win those—especially against the lighter boats like the Cornnados and Lidos.
For our boat it is better to overstand the windward mark than to risk the time it would take to short tack twice at the mark.
Sail Choice. In winds above seven knots we need to use the small jib instead of the Genoa. The Tanzer carries a lot of sail for 16-foot boat. When the wind reaches 10 or 12 knots with the Genoa up, we spend too much time spilling air just to keep the boat upright. (We are too old to hike harder—steel pins in ankles and rebuilt knees.) We have gotten pretty adept at pumping to point a bit higher as the gusts ease, but it still costs us time and energy. Better sail choices could give us 10 – 20 seconds in some races.
|The competition: We race pretty even with the O'Day Daysailer. We owe|
them a few seconds.
In winds over 12 knots, we should reef the main and use the small jib. In the higher winds too much sail slows us down and costs us a few degrees of progress to windward.
If we get better with practice, it would be helpful to use the Spinnaker on the downwind legs. It is a lot of mucking about on a very small foredeck, but there are times when it would have given us 10 seconds or so on the downwind leg. It would help even more when we get the rare reaching leg.
|The competition: Coronado 15. Very quick to turn. Comes|
with trapeze. They owe us a few seconds.
Rigging issues. Now and then we have little rigging issues that cost us seconds. The main sheets can get hung up on the aft mooring cleats. We moved them 10 inches forward. We had too many things attached to the spinnaker pole rig and had to fight that occasionally. We added another ring above. The vang would be in the way when Tony tries to change sides of the boat. We now store it on a hook and only set it up when we need to on the downwind legs. I was spending too much time messing with the traveler, and it was distracting me from sailing fast upwind. Now we just leave the traveler in the middle until we are on a long windward leg.
|The competition: Us. We need to not beat ourselves.|
Starts. We need to recognize that we are not as nimble as the other boats during the start. We need to find a good line—not necessarily the best line and get a decent start—not necessarily a great—start. We are thinking something like sail away from the line for 30 seconds when there are two minutes to go. Commence our tack at 1:30 to go. This should put us a little less than one minute away from the start. Then we can luff a bit and lay behind the Lasers that like to sit in a pack just luffing. The nice thing about them is that they accelerate away from the line quickly and leave you sitting in pretty clean air. (Or maybe we should just follow Jim in his Lido. He always gets a great start.)
So there it is. There are 43 seconds to be found. By the end of this season we should be able to move up a few places—but I doubt that we will be drinking any beer until the races are over for the day. We’ll see how we do this evening!