June 30, 2015

Getting Ready for Kingston - More Starting

By Doug
We've looked at starting with Olympic Gold Medalist Paul Goodison and multiple-class world champion Mark Bethwaite. We now look at someone who has done both - Paul Foerster's Olympic Gold in 470s and world championships in FDs, J22s, and Sunfish.

This was at Rush Creek Yacht Club in Dallas just after one of my vision procedures. I was unable to sail, so I ran a few practice races in the harbor. Paul had recently won the Fish worlds and I was able to video one of his starting techniques. It had three steps: get the big picture, get speed, and then squirt off the line.

It's good to see the jump that Paul has right off the line. This is harder than it looks because a Fish does not have a Laser's rounded hull. Bearing off and then squirting in a Laser should be easier.

June 18, 2015

Euromasters at Lake Como, Italy

By Doug

When Roberto (ITA) invited me to come to Italy to train with him for the Kingston worlds, I jumped at the chance. I've never made it to a Euromaster event and I found the depth of the field very impressive. There were 70 full-rig sailors from 8 countries with an especially strong team from Spain. Barcelona has a great master's sailing program that included Miguel Noguer and José-Luis Doreste (both Olympic gold medalists) and a very fast Leandro Rosado. All of them came to compete.

Lake Como is interesting because the cold wind from the Alps to the north tries to dominate the prevailing wind from the southwest. The wind can switch from north to south and back again several times a day. There were some tricky shifts at windward marks and it was easy to lose 20 places as I did in one race with a 35º header coming into the mark. This put me back into the 50's, while another shift put me back into the 20's. It was impressive to see how consistent the the top sailors were.

The European masters is a little different because they use your birth year instead of your birth date. Because I turn 65 in November (after Kingston) I was sailing for the first time as a Great Grand Master.

On Friday, the conditions did not cooperate and we did not complete any races.

The first video is from my hat-cam in the third race on Saturday. It's a Sail Pro which takes great HD videos but the sound is muffled. You'll see that this has its advantages.

The start was tricky because the wind had gone left and the pin was very favored. In fact, tacking at the pin almost put you on the port-tack layline. It was a classic case of how far I go down the line to get a good start vs. how quickly I could tack into clear air. I chose the latter to start mid-line to tack ASAP. My thought was that the tight group at the pin would force some to sail on starboard past the layline ...

This was my best race on Saturday, and learning was more important than not finishing.

This next video is from the first race on Sunday. It was pin favored again and it looked to be really crowded. This time, starting in the middle did not look good, so I decided to start closer to the pin and just see how close I could get ...

Here's what this start looked like from the pin. I'm just to the right of this man's right arm and am almost close hauled. It was very pin-favored ...

The wind died with Alessandro Castelli (ITA) leading nicely, and the race was again abandoned. It's good that my camera does not record sounds well because there was a lot of yelling at the start in Italian, French, German, and Spanish (you can hear some of it if you crank up the volume). People later asked if I had learned any new sailing terms and I said yes, but I'm not sure in what language.

The weather did not cooperate on Sunday and no more races were completed, but I got just what I needed for Kingston - a list of things to work on. Leandro Rosado (ESP) won with with José-Luis Doreste (ESP) right behind. They are awesome sailors, and there were many other excellent sailors who were better at pointing upwind and playing the shifts in wind lanes. With only three races completed, I was unable to drop my 23rd and ended in 11th place overall. You can see the results here starting on page 9.  I was one of 3 GGMs competing in the full rig so I came home with my first win as a GGM. 

It was a superb location with a lot of talent. I am grateful to Christine and Roberto for being such gracious hosts and to all of their friends, as well as all of the excellent sailors who helped make this trip to Italy so awesome. Pam and I will definitely be back.

More photos can be seen here.

June 09, 2015

A Poet's House

By Doug
Dave alert: don't read this post because it has nothing to do with sailing.

Christine is practicing her English while I practice my French, so some of our conversations are interesting. She asked me if I'd like to visit a "large house" that belonged to a poet, so I said sure.

What happened was so astounding that I'm left with few words in either language.

Every house needs an entrance.
With an amphitheater and a view.
And a courtyard.
And a plane they flew in World War I.

With walkways.

And a boat.

And a personal mausoleum...

...with another view.
And a bigger boat.

And a garden with the bigger boat in the background.
We never did get to see the inside of this poet's large house, so we'll just have to come back. 

June 08, 2015

Lake Garda

By Doug
I accepted an invitation from Grand Master sailor Roberto (ITA 206202) and his wife Christine to visit northern Italy to train for the Kingston worlds. They live on Lake Garda which was on my bucket list and it has exceeded all of my expectations.

Lake Garda is so long that the conditions are different depending on where you sail. And the strong northerlies from the Italian Alps can change to a southerly as the day gets warmer. The mountains rise 2,000 meters (more than a mile) and it reminds me of the Columbia River Gorge, but on a larger scale. The racing on Saturday was followed on Sunday by coaching by one of Italy's best Laser sailors (thank you Marco).

How good are the conditions? Robert Scheidt is here training for the upcoming Rio Olympics.

How good is the food? Let's just say that this is not where you would come to lose weight.

How good are the local sailors? Very good, and their local knowledge is amazing as they know just what parts of the cliffs to sail beside.

On Thursday we travel to Lake Como for the next circuit event in the Euromasters, and there are about 80 full-rig entries from all over Europe. Should be a blast.

Don't come to Italy to lose weight!

Riva is at the northern end and hosts many major regattas like this right now. I've lived in Canada, Australia, and the US, and their combined ages is less than the age of this town.

Training partners.

Cool northern breeze from the Alps.

June 02, 2015

When to Tack Revisited... Again

By Doug
A previous post looked at the relative importance of sailing the course, competition, and conditions. Several readers of this blog have told me about a fantastic new site that helps you actually practice when to tack.

You're red sailing in actual conditions against black which is "blindly following" the strategy at SailRacer.net. The conditions are real and not computer-generated. Here are two strategies for trying to beat black:
  • There's a dotted line between the port and starboard laylines, and it moves back and forth as the wind shifts. Tacking when you cross this line keeps you in the middle of the course, but it means that you're sometimes tacking on a knock to stay in the middle.
  • If you ignore these lines and simply tack on a knock, it works well but sometimes pushes you out to a layline too early so you miss playing the shifts later.
The second one has served me well over the years, and I've never tried the first that seems to work surprisingly well. I'll have to try that one too.

But watch out for those persistent shifts, especially at the top of the course! In this example, red got it right, while black is probably paying the price for using its compass too close to the mark:

This is great stuff!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...