Tuesday July 8, 2014
PROPER TACTICS WINS RACE
As we were exiting the harbor, there was plenty of wind coming from the northwest, but a cold damp fog bank hanging off shore. With 10 to 15 knots of wind and no hint of it backing off, we decided on the same course as last week: course number 1, with a 6:10 start time. We had twelve boats out for the fun.
Once again, it was an exciting start, with all major contenders right on the line on time. On Pair A Dice, we were happy with our start being to windward of Makani and another boat just ahead of us and to leeward. We were happy with our position until we noticed Diver Down creeping up behind us just windward of us. We tacked over and ducked Diver Down trying to use the inside advantage, but found we were in the wind shadow of Pacific Spirit which was trying to close the gap Iris had opened with their head start. We attempted to sail lower to pass Pacific Spirit but were not able to pass them. We finally tacked over for clear air and passed in front of Makani. We thought there was more wind outside where the fog line was, and continued on outside separating from the rest of the fleet. When we finally tacked over and approached the layline for the wharf mark rounding, we realized our error in separating so much from the fleet as Iris, Diver Down, Pacific Spirit, Blue Ribbon and Makani had all opened a sizeable lead on us. We finally rounded Wharf and started toward Mile trying to close the gap.
We rounded Mile and extended our pole. As we witnessed Iris, Diver Down, Pacific Spirit and Makani all in a pack aiming low to Blacks, we attempted to sail higher like Blue Ribbon thinking we could heat it up to round the mark. It was amazing after over 4 miles of racing to have 5 boats rounding Blacks all at once with Pair A Dice in close pursuit. We all tried to judge the best layline to make the 5 boatlength finish area by the start/finish mark, but we all got headed and had to tack over to make the line. Blue Ribbon was the first over the line followed by Diver Down, Iris, Pacific Spirit and Makani with Pair a Dice coming in sixth.
The thing that is so great about our Catalina Tuesdays is the ability to analyze your performance after each race. I encourage all crews to go through this exercise, even if you win! Get opinions from the whole crew: What did we do right? What did we do wrong? How could we improve in the future? It can also be a learning experience for the skipper by getting opinions and self analysis. Questions such as: Was I using too much helm? Was I pinching too much? Were my tacks smooth and efficient? Once again, it is all about learning and improving your sailing.
Our analysis on Pair a Dice came up with several major tactical errors for this night.
- We should have analyzed the direction of the wind to determine to preferred end of the line. This night, the pin end was not favored and Diver Down correctly chose the right end of the line.
-We sailed too long in Pacific Spirit’s bad wind and attempting to roll them to leeward got us even further from the mark. We should have tacked over for clear air much sooner than we did.
-We separated ourselves too much from the fleet sailing way outside and when sailing further in got headed horribly. We should have tacked over to take advantage of the header rather than sailing even further from the fleet.
Here’s looking forward to next Tuesday for some more fun!
Sailing Pair A Dice