Upwind Speed

On Friday, May 1, 2015, four MCs practiced in 14 to 18 knots with some higher gusts in the cove to avoid the white-capped waves coming down the bay from the north.  We held four two lap races with whistle starts and leeway gate.

The key components for MC upwind speed: are constant heel especially in puffs, keeping rudder changes down, and, of course, tacking on lifts.  The lifts tended to come from the west and, in fact, you were headed every time coming to the mark on starboard.  Avoiding the heavy seas by going left also was important.

We were practicing how to keep the MC on a constant heel, especially in puffs, to maintain boat speed.  A couple of clews are to ease the mainsheet in and out about 6 to 8 inches, keep a very tight vang, and anticipate the waves so that they do not stop you, especially when motor boat waves hit.  We could test each other by racing side by side or in close proximity.  It is also important to feel the boat’s motion, and not watch the sail.  You can feel the boat accelerating and holding good upwind speed.

We had two duos with Lynn Scott and her crew Brian Regan who traded off helms, and Ted Weihe with Jerry Wheeler.  Over about 14 knots, duos have an advantage, but less so on a short course.  Randy Scott and Valdek raced solo.  We all had a great time.  Randy and Lynn Scott are heading north; and we will miss them and welcome them back in September.

By Ted Weihe

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