Friday, 1 February 2013

A mosey around the harbour avec Claire

I was disappointed to miss racing last weekend, I had caught a cold and thought that sailing might not do me much good.  My sailing brethren were also disappointed and sent many messages of condolence ("What part of the Boat Whisperer video says to stay in bed ho ho ho" etc).

Anyway, it was a beautiful day today, a lovely f2-4 WNW, sunshine, and an early afternoon tide.  Not a day to be missed, and I went for a quick sail in the harbour with Claire "The Power" Coussens.  We mosied down the Thorney channel and went to have a look at the waves on the winner bank - after a period of sustained wind, it can get impressive.

The curious thing about sailing today was the water state.  Everywhere we sailed the water was confused with chop coming from multiple directions.  It seemed to sap the speed from the boat, and it was very difficult to keep feel in the helm.

From a training perspective, the day had three objectives - practice gybing, practice backwards tacking, and try a new stance downwind to make hand-over-hand sheeting easier.

So the points of learning:

- Gybing was much improved.  Watching the SC video of gybing, he places a foot on the kickbar on the new side before moving across the boat, and this forces a committed change of side.  When the boom starts moving across the boat he is already on the new side and immediately sits down and changes hands.  So I tried this technique and it seems to work, but definitely needs practice.  Sitting down requires a degree of confidence that the rig will have the power to keep you upright.  Must have put in 50 gybes, some better than others. Key to t he whole thing is committing to immediately sit down, not faffing about.  Also key is to gybe reach-to-reach, rather than sail down to a run and up the other side.
- Backwards tacking was OK, and when it works its really smooth, and there isn't the sound of water being pushed about that I associate with tacks.  But it all feels a bit odd and needs practice.  Not sure it is something for high winds, but maybe good for <12 knots.
- Hand-over-hand sheeting when standing is straightforward enough, you just need to keep the extension by your side and use your forefinger.

No video today, forgot to switch it on and didn't fancy going forward in the hateful chop.  More sailing tomorrow, going out from TISC again if anyone fancies it!

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