My objective for the day was to keep practicing the transitions between broad reach and by-the-lee, and vice versa. 2 minutes of video:
The learning for the day:
1. By-the-lee is as quick as a broad reach in some conditions. Dave and I sailed side by side on opposite tacks, me BTL and Dave broad reaching. Speed was very similar. That said, we didn't compare for long as have an out of control moment and came close to pole axing Dave. At one point today I was fully planing BTL, being on the same side as the sail and planing is a bizarre sensation and doesn't feel quite right!
2. There were periods downwind where the zigzaggy course felt quicker than a straight line. This might have been when the wind got up a bit, and on the zigzaggy course you don't use the rudder as a brake. I would say that it felt quicker for 30% of the time, but I don't know what I was doing differently for that 30% (maybe wind strength ?).
3. Dipping a wing is slow downwind, but being clinical with the amount of sheet and heel (to stop a wing dipping) is very hard. The transitions that had a smooth turn with no wing-dipping resulted in much higher exit speeds.
4. The transition to a broad reach is actually quite technical, the end of the transition involves bringing the boat upright as you finish sheeting (note the careful absence of the word 'pump' there!). But unless you get the timing and sheeting exactly right you either (i) have too much power in the main and can't flatten the boat, or (ii) don't have enough power in the main and go into a serious bear away.
I was slightly disappointed that there wasn't more wind today, I'd really like to practice in the sort of winds that can cause problems for the steer-the-boat-under-the-mast technique. But that said it was a great day on the water.
We need to keep an eye on Andy Gould. He is far too fast for his 3rd time out, and appears to be out-pointing the rest of the fleet!