Still Learning Humility

And it doesn’t taste good! Had my third regatta yesterday and another 5 lasts and one next to last. Again I won 4 starts and one over early, but by the weather mark I’m in the bottom third of the fleet and then during a long reaching leg I fall to a distant last. Once in a while I pick up distance on the beat to the finish but just by picking up a shift a little quicker than some others.

I guess rig tuning is a lot more important than starting tactics, I’m trying to get another sailor to just do some speed trails with me while I experiment with rig adjustments. Then likely some new sails. Another thing I find is when I fall behind on the reaching and downwind legs I get more and more frustrated and make silly directional twitchs. It seems when starting my situational awarness is very high and I don’t seem to over worry about boat speed, just being where I want to be and keeping a lilltle room to weather. The fingers just seem to act without thinking. After the gun I start to concemtrate on boat speed and the mistakes just multiply.

Oh well, as I said before I get home warm and dry and am still having a great time.

hey ernie
take this from somebody who has sailed in the front, sailed in the middle and sailed in the back , of the packs. you have competeted. this is the frist step. take something good out of it. did you do your starts well? what about your mark roundings. my wife is where you are. and she just started. in her first regatta. she won each start, but finshed last ever race. she lost speed because of alot of things. things you just found out. but now you know. the starts are done. you can do them. practise mark rounding. dont lose so much speed there. soon you will be up front with the rest of us.
and yes tuning is very important. learn what your boat likes

Steelknee, Yep your got it! Barnacles on your bum!

The indications are lack of concentration, lack of sleep. And your trying to point too high.

ALWAYS know where you want to go. Not just to the top mark I might add. look where the wind is, so you know BEFORE the race starts , where your going and why. I can see you out there just after the start saying to your self , “where to next”?

Two things to keep in mind. Boat speed , boat speed. Some people strive for perfection in sailing pointers. This is why you are starting fine… at probably the wrong end of the line , perhaps. Now your got the start … you loose it. the brain has not caught up. I want you to try something?. Try not to win the start for a while and see if you can win to the first bouy.

If your got average pointing ability but you’re slow, try to figure out if its the boat or the nut holding the tiller.There is an old addage that goes something like this , “pull the sails in till they look right and then let them out a bit”.

Just for a while, try not to tighten your side stays up too tight . So that your mast flops 1/4" somewhat. Loosen you main luff a little. vang off 1/2 turn .

The last thing is to put sail flow tapes on ALL your sails , this will show you why you are not winning. I put little tuffs of wool on mine. The thing is all the champions do it. You should do it, too. When you go to a regatta , do it for FUN.

The final thing to do is ask the winning skipper if he can give you some help.


Thanks for your thoughts Steve, I have spent time with one of ther local best re-tuning my boat. biggest change was redoing outhauls so I can increase draftof sails. It seems to help although haven’t raced since. Also I believe I need new sails and I want to add a jib topping lift. Its not starting at the wrong side of the starting line. After 30 years of real racing including ten years of J-24’s I am used to large fleets at the starting line, I am still convinced that my problem is still mostly in my head, and my twitcy thumbs. Also its a big difference between being in the cockpit with the tiller an extension of your eyes, and standing outside the boat and trying to transpose what you see to what the boat is really doing.

In any case I am having fun and I know I will improve. But I do miss having a crew to blame.

Ernie - I had same problems with racing my big cat. Sitting on windward hull was one thing - but going out on trap changed the entire perspective of sailing, and it seemed my feet didn’t pick up nuances of the hull, wind and slight heel as effectively as my butt did ! :blush:

Of course, when really windy, it didn’t matter cause everything was overpowered anyway ! :smile_lol

Well mate I have similar experience like you and Dick but I went the other way, models to the big boats.

It seems you’re on the right tack , patience and a sence of humour is good, have fun.