Though we have been discussing much about downwind sailing and ways to go fast, based on our experience the big money in sailing is on the runs, so there is always room for more gains to be made.
When we go sailing, the boat may just push water out of the way (usually called displacement mode), ride on top of its own bow wave (planing) or foil. This week we look at how water resistance effects boatspeed, and what we can do to minimise this resistance.
the technical abilities to be fast on a reach and control your angle of sailing are still worth mastering as every small gain to be made is worth a while. It is incredible how many boats you can take on a reach if you are both fast and smart.
It is truly incredible the number of projects we have worked on where the sailors do not know how to recognise headers and lifts. When we ask them what happened to the wind during a training run, they can get it very wrong, and when we ask them what happened during a race, their impression is often at odds with reality, and completely wrong.
The sailing world is going foiling mad. Time alone will tell whether it's a good thing or not, but what we can say is that it's fun and fast, and very different in feeling. What is the same for the sailor is that we need to understand a far greater range of sail settings in order to optimise the performances of these boats.
In competitive sailing we are looking for every advantage we may get if we want to win and going fast is a pretty important advantage to have - the gains from using the correct sails are more than just marginal!.
Racing is a process where you are looking for any advantage over the opposition. We tend to coach tactics by likening it to a walk down a corridor, and there are various doors in the wall. You know that one door will lead to a better corridor than another
In modern racing we are often demanded to become short term weather forecasters to help us predict changes within the next 10-20 minutes that will help us to get an advantage over our competitors and sail the course quicker than them.
Coaching has evolved a massive amount since 1990. Yes, there were coaching courses of sorts back than, but somehow you'd spend three days on a course and come away with one useful nugget of information that would improve your coaching skills. Now a days information is so readily accessible that you can gain enough information to be a good coach in a very short time. What you can't get is experience.
Anyone who has sailed against top sailors will know that many times you can be approaching half way up the first beat, and either in front of or in touch with some of the regatta favourites - often alongside them. A minute later the top sailor will have climbed on you, hit a gust of wind that you can’t reach, and gone from high mode to extremely fast forward compared to yourself, and from feeling great, being in touch or ahead of the good guys, you’re suddenly a hundred metres and forty boats behind them within around 90 seconds. This blog is about beginning to understand how they do that, so you can start to do it too!