The spinnaker is a sail which many misunderstand, and few master. In this blog we show that it isn’t a black magic sail and you don’t need a doctorate to appreciate what it can do. The blog is written at what seems like a basic level. All we can say is that speed is basic, whether its advanced or beginning - the same rules apply.
When we talk sailing, too often people will claim that its primarily a mental game - a game of chess on water which leads to winning. We do not believe this. We believe that first ingredient to success is to have among the best technical and tactical knowledge that you can get, and then the mental game kicks in. This blog is about the mental game and more importantly its development from the start of racing careers.
A major source of beginning to understand tactics is dealt with by Toplevel sailing as tactics for the first half of the beat (when the boats are diverging into a wider area, as against tactics when the boats are converging into the tiny area around the mark.
Until around four decades ago hiking was viewed as a low returns skill to be treated with some cynicism as it was too physical to be a valued part of the art of sail racing. Yes, people hiked, but not with anything like the intensity that they do today. Hiking technique has become increasingly important across the classes, and certainly in the Olympic/WS development fleets Laser (so reliant on physical skills!), 470 and 420 are always seeking new levels to get the maximum leverage possible.
Driven by the incredible developments of technology in hull and especially sail design over the past 30 years, the powers that be are examining closely whether we should have a more modern version of race track on which to exhibit our skills. Toplevel feel very strongly that the idea of a race is to complete circuits. Changing this in our opinion is the equivalent to a Formula One race being run on a hill climb, or a horse race being unable to view the start and finish. By definition a race track consists of laps, whereas different types of racing consist of other skills needed than in lapping, in any sport!
In order to sail the beat as quickly as we can we need to keep the best average VMG that we can. In this blog we will discuss the influence of shifts on our VMG and the use of a compass to improve our tactical decision making
Top sailors spend a lot of time practicing and training on their own. This is against so many “words of wisdom” that the former ISAF give to emerging nations. In fact we can see that young sailors who spend a lot of time training alone are often successful.
Whilst many asymmetric kite boats struggle to reach effectively and the reaching legs have been dropped from their courses, the skills of reaching are still very important for traditional classes such as Laser, 420, 470 etc. This blog is aimed at those classes, and hopefully some of the information here will also help our asymmetric sailors when they have overlaid a downwind mark! The potential losses and gains on a reach, particularly rounding the top mark and approaching the reach mark are huge.