Friday, 21 December 2012

Mark and Andy explore the 4th Dimension

The forecast for the next week or so looks better for windsurfing than sailing, so when an opportunity came up to get out today I was keen.  Dave is away, Hugh is working, Glen is working, Mike is working, but Andy G decided to take a days holiday to come 300 sailing.

A little context for this training session.  I dropped Steve Cockerill a note with the capsize video from last weekend, and spoke with him on Tuesday morning.  He pointed out that I was trying to keep the hull under the mast and sailing dead downwind, and that I couldn't hope to keep upright with that approach in a boat as unstable as the 300.  Really I think he was saying "why on earth are you sailing like that if you have watched my video.  What are you doing."  But he was kind in his appraisal and suggested that I re-evaluate my whole approach to downwind sailing.

So my objectives for the session:

1.  To try the whole 4th dimension thing, focussing on transitions.  I have been avidly re-watching the Rooster Downwind DVD, and also reading up on the 4th Dimension article on the Rooster website.
2.  To try sailing downwind with no kicker at all (the set up required for the 4th Dimension approach)
3.  To keep going with the upwind training, ie:
   - More windward heel
   - Straight leg hiking
   - Releasing sheet with the tiller hand, sheeting with the forward hand
   - Frying pan grip on tacks.

Andy's objectives for the session were:

1.   Beat Mark to every buoy in the harbour.

But I made him sail by-the-lee by mandating it as an SI for our little course.  There would be no better training partner for tuning than Andrew, he always wants to sail as fast as possible and finish first.  I understand this is also the case in skiing and mountain biking!

So learning from todays session:

Transitioning to By-the-Lee
- Initiating the transition is straightforward enough, sheet out and lean the boat to windward, and then bear away hard.
- Knowing when and how best to stop the transition is not so straightforward, I would often get to a point of gybing.  After a little practice you get more orientated, and start to recognise the 'flicking' of the leech when you are close to gybing.

Transitioning from by-the-lee to a broad reach
- You have to turn more than you think, 90 degrees or so in the f2-3 we were sailing in.
- You have to sheet in loads if you want to keep upright when leveling the boat on the new broad reach.
- Sheeting in when coming up isn't difficult, I thought this would be a problem but it was OK.

- Points to consult with Steve:
(i) Is the approach appropriate to all wind strengths?  In the light stuff I wondered if it was quickest.
(ii) Boom angle to the centreline. I felt as if I might letting the sail too far out when transitioning to BTL.
(iii) Speed of transition and stopping prior to gybing.

I'll post the video from todays session, Andy will be pleased to hear that his cooling swim was captured nicely on film.

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