This time of year is difficult for me because the next three months we only get to race one weekend a month. What can we do to stay warm?
I try to get out and practice at least twice during each month. It’s rather difficult for me to drag my son with me, so most of the time I am single handed. Below is my routine and maybe we can get a few more ideas or questions in the comment section below?
Practice starts. I will go out to M mark and then find a mooring ball that will make for the best starting line for the wind that day. I have two starting approaches, port approach for when I want the pin and the committee boat start.
I will start my watch for a two minute count down and keep it rolling until I get tired of the exercise. Then I decided the type of approach I will be practicing and do a couple of circles in that area of the starting line. At about 55 seconds to the start I set up at the starting line and try to hold the boat stationary for about 30 seconds. Experiment with your placement to hold position. Make a clear countdown from 15 seconds down to zero while you accelerate to full speed. This gives you some idea how long, and from what starting angle you can get to full speed in the approximate wind.
Now you have just completed one of your starts time to practice mark rounding.
Mark rounding. After the start go to weather for about five boat lengths then turn downwind and head for your mark. For me its M mark, next I will round the mark in full race mode as if I am returning to the weather mark. After you round the mark, look back, you should be able to see how well you rounded. If you see you are about two boat lengths wide do it again. You want your port stern quarter almost touching the mark as you sail on the new up wind leg. While rounding, I stand up and pull in my main sheet with two hands and balance the tiller with my legs. Find out what works best for you.
Be sure to note, if the tide is coming in our out and notice the difference in your rounding.
After you have rounded the mark go back to starting. Do this about five times and you will get your adrenaline pumping and feel like accomplishing something. Every so often, I will pick a weather mark and just concentrate on my up wind speed as a type of break.
Start practicing now and if you can fit in five practice days between now and Midwinters
you might just achieve that next goal sooner than you think.
If you would like to join me sometime drop me a note.