MC's Practice Sailing When Overpowered

On Friday, January 16, seven MCs held five two lap races in NNE winds from 12 to 14 knots with gusts of about 16 knots.  Under these conditions, MCs are often overpowered, especially when racing solo.  These were ideal conditions for learning when to ease the main, bow down in puffs, and use the vang or main to pump the sail downwind.  The seven MCs were skippered by Valdek Kwasniewski, John Tarrant, Larry Romer, Mike Dowd, Richard Elsishans, Randy Scott and Ted Weihe.  Generally, going left paid off with less chop, but in the next to last race, right proved better due to a 10 degree wind shift.  After racing, we discussed downwind speed.  Mike Dowd, the SYC instructor, said to pump the main and head down in puffs.  Ted Weihe prefers pumping the vang in the puffs.  The downwind courses were too short to determine which technique is better. Using the vang is more common in MCs, compared to Lasers.  In these windy conditions, boat handling becomes more important – not only for speed, but to avoid capsizes in which there were several close calls.   Mark Grinder thought efficient tacking was critical to maintaining up wind speed.

These Friday afternoon races are not scored and are helping prepare the fleet for its big event of the  year, The Sarasota MC Cup on March 7-8.  The plan is to have a top notch Regatta with plenty of competitive racing, an outstanding PRO, and great food. This will be a “test drive” for an annual MC mid-Winter regatta that will attract competitive MC sailors from other areas.

By Ted Weihe

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