July 22, 2016

NS-14 Photo Contest

By Doug
I've used this picture on a few posts and would like to add a little more about its story.

It's from way back in 1971 when I jumped into a small runabout and took pictures of Frank Bethwaite sailing with Julian at Northbridge Sailing Club. Most sailing pictures are boring because they're taken too far away, so my goal was to get some close-up shots.

The NS-14 (which stands for Northbridge Senior) is an amazing "development class" because, as you can see in the picture, they're planing upwind with no trapeze and the boat has just 100 square feet of sail. In fact, its DNA can be found in many other classes including Julian's 49er.

Frank commented at the time that the pictures were the best he had seen for NS-14s and he later used this picture on page 254 of High Performance Sailing

Thirty years later told he how this picture changed his thinking about how rigs work. 

So, who can tell us what Frank saw and why it changed his thinking?

July 13, 2016

International Sailing Academy - Less Hiking

By Doug
The ISA has started a series of articles that will help you hike a little less going upwind. I'm really impressed with their coaching, so if you haven't checked them out this would be a good time. Their clinics, conditions, and facilities are first class.

July 06, 2016

International Sailing Academy - Head Cam Videos

By Doug
Most of our readers have never gone to a Laser Worlds, and many have never sailed in open water. And many have never sailed in a really good clinic. Because of a broken thumb, my training for the Worlds was derailed and consisted of second helpings and very little exercise or time on the water.  As a result, I was heavily reliant upon the sailing clinic just prior to the Worlds to get me ready. On the last day, I wore a head cam so that you can ride along and see what it was like.

The camera that I use is shown here, and I like it because it takes Hi-Def videos, is light, and has a low profile so it's less likely to get snagged by the mainsheet. Because it's a sealed unit, there is only muffled sound which I have turned off.

The first part is going downwind and while there are less boats than in a Worlds fleet, it sometimes feels like a real race because the boats around limit the wave selection and options. I was practicing a downwind technique shown here that for me was new, and I wasn't good at it. My speed was very average... there's still lots to learn and I will definitely return for more training. They have excellent downwind clinics at the International Sailing Academy in La Cruz, Mexico. It is almost impossible not to improve after doing one of these clinics.

Because of my vision issues, I have no depth perception. So, you'll notice that I judge the size of a wave by its color. I'm envious of people who can actually see the size of the waves around them.

The second part of the video is a short clip that shows what it's like in a good Laser fleet when you don't set up early enough. Getting a crappy start is a waste of good boatspeed!

July 01, 2016


by Pam

For years Doug and I have been without a sailing club to call home so we have just called ourselves NOMADS (NO More Annual Dues Sailors). It's been rather perfect. But that all changed this week. Doug woke up on Wednesday to find that his usual honorary Aussie status has been upgraded to be an honorary member of Double Bay Sailing Club on Sydney Harbor in Australia. Doug felt so honored because it is his favorite place in the world to sail and Aussies tend to be his most challenging and rewarding competition.

The DBSC weekly newsletter is always quite a fun read with all the nicknames for everyone and a wicked sense of humor. Dear Leader and the Black Pope were both at the recent Laser Master Worlds in Mexico and were a heck of a lot of fun to be around. I believe the Black Pope dubbed Doug the "White Arrow" after watching a video of Doug winning just ahead of Dear Leader in Mexico. Perhaps that will be his DBSC nickname?

Loved reading about DBSC's limited space solution. Active racing sailors have priority on space. Not active ... move. I can't count the number of times Doug has commented on nonactive sailors turning sailing clubs into an expensive storage facility and killing the local fleets by not having space available for active racing sailors.

Yep, it's a perfect match ... except for that commute to the club ... a minor detail. 
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