So a quick post for the positives and reflections of the open meeting last weekend
Date: 27/28 April
Venue :Bough Beech SC
Event: 300 Open Meeting, 7 races of approx 45 minutes each
Tide : No tide. Its a lake.
Conditions : Saturday, N f3/4, Sunday SW f1/3. Very shifty, at times with 50 degree shifts.
Result : 3,4,7,1,2,3,5. 4th overall, 3 points separating 2nd from 4th, but 1st some way ahead.
- Great downwind boat speed. Could count on being faster downwind than most other boats, very useful tactically and very pleasing that the winter practice has paid off. Only person standing up downwind, which surprised me. Seemed to sail by-the-lee more than most. Put it in once when the tiller extension got caught in the outhaul (breaking the extension), but that is a one off and hopefully will not be repeated.
- OK boat speed upwind. I thought my lack of weight would be an issue when the wind increased, but didn't feel like it was much of a factor. A couple of boats had an edge on me, but shifts and tactics were far more important.
- Reasonable starts. 4 good starts, 1 OCS, 1 average start, 1 poor start. Happy with pin end starts, need to get much better at time on distance for starboard end starts, and sorting out starboard end laylines etc. To much pin ending at the club line, thats the problem!
- Its good to have the first open out of the way, and a reasonable result. If nothing else, I've found lots of areas that need practice, which is encouraging.
Points for reflection
- Too 'highly aroused'. On Saturday my best race was the final one of the day, when I was mentally tired. Didn't try to think too much and just on with it, and seemed to do better as a result. On Sunday, my best race was when I was called back for being OCS, started in last and as a result all expectation on result was lifted. Came through the fleet to get 3rd (nearly 2nd). Not sure why I was wound up, perhaps putting all of this stuff public on a blog isn't helping!
- Mixed boat handling. Very noticeable that the event winner had much smoother boat handling, especially on mark roundings. I lost count of the number of times I worked hard to get an inside overlap and then lost a place through a poor rounding. But at least it is something that can be worked on easily.
- Mixed decision making on strategy. There were times when I knew the right thing to do, but got carried away with tactical situations. For example on the Saturday it always paid to go left on the run (more wind), but I went right twice to protect wind and lost multiple boats in the process. Big picture would have been better.
- Never got to grips with the wind. It was all over the place and difficult to read, and very different to the sailing I'm used to. Started to improve by reading the wind on water, and looking at other boats/flags (many thanks for the tip Tim!), but never had it dialled. Will be consulting Steve C in due course, as to the best approach for shifty lake winds.
- More mixed decision making on tactics. There were a couple of boat-on-boat decisions that were rash. For example, I tried to nip inside Martin (481) on a downwind leg whilst overpowered on a broad reach - it was always a 30/70 idea, and would have been far better to hang back and wait for a better opportunity. Ended up with the leech in front of the mast, skewing to windward and fouling the boat I was trying to overtake - not good for either me or my 300 brethren.
- Still need to get sorted on changing gears. Being pent up leads to tight sheeting and over-pointing, not fast!
So a good deal to reflect on, and some new areas to practice. Can't wait for the next open, most likely in June.