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Newcomers 4 September 2016 - Graham Thompson
Sailing Faster Key Points



Boat handling:

Weight, balance and sit in or sit out.

Fore and aft and lateral balance, sitting position, preventing the transom from digging in, nose against the mast.

Tacking and jibing, turning round and passing the tiller from hand to hand.

Tacking and jibing, set the jib first or set the main first, equal angles for the main and locking the mainsheet under the hand on the tiller.  Release jib sheet from cam cleat, hold in position, move hand to new jib sheet, release one and pull on second.

Tacking, backing the jib to speed up resetting it.

Raising the redundant centreboard, plus minimises trip risk.

Beating, manual barber haul to improve handling, depowering the jib when backed.

Light wind beating, keeping the boat level versus leaning to leewards to maintain sail shape.  Pointing as high as possible on the Lark, lean to leewards, bow down and transom out of water.

Concentration and speed of reaction to wind shifts.

Course chosen:

Start, on starboard or on the tack taking you furthest on the first beat.

Avoidance of other boats, especially when rounding marks.

Cruisers and scullers - setting course to avoid getting blocked in. (Be aware we have little rights over other vessels. MH)

Use of the different speeds of the current and the Halling eddy. (Slower current close to clubhouse, Middlesex bank. MH)

Beating along the bank - gradually increasing the distance from the bank to allow for future wind shifts.

Rounding windward marks against the current - sail below-- the mark to maximise the speed of approach to the mark.

Next boat mindset in racing, who are you chasing and who are you keeping ahead of.

Maintenance of momentum in a Bosun or Shipmate, gradual changes from one tack to another.

Watching where on the course other boats do well, exploiting others' tacks to gain the upwind position, changing tack rather than following in order to call starboard, avoiding weeds.

Discarding your poor results.

Boat set up:

Choice of boats, for light winds and for heavy winds.  Capsize or overpowered ragged racing causes delays.

On the Bosun, reef to be the last boat to give up racing. Small fleet racing, no adverse change of personal handicap if you win in a small fleet.

Short tiller which swings behind my back when sitting on the thwart giving me the ability to steer with my back to have both hands available, e.g. to retie jib sheets.

Jib sheets tied together, so that the jib can be released even when heeled and about to capsize.

Transom main so that the block does not get between me and the mast.

One to one ratio on the main sheet to make the main quick to let out.  Choice of lighter main and jib sheets.  Removal of catches on the mast.

Magnetic tape on shrouds, rather than a burgee.

Telltails, sailing to telltails with white sails, if not jib shape. Instructions on Sailing to Telltailes available from me on request.

Bermudan rig, use of the jib to read wind direction.