Monday, December 2, 2013

Oman Race Day 2

Another great day here in Oman.

The AP was up for a couple of hours during which I had nice chat with Doug of Improper Course. Finally the wind filled in a bit and we got in 2 races. Relatively light wind but some swells that made it interesting. I am not used to swells since our club in Abu Dhabi sails in a bay protected from the ocean.

In both Great Grand Master Standard races, I came in the same place as yesterday but today it was last place since the fellow I beat yesterday was not sailing.  But it was a lot of fun and a great learning experience.

In the first race, I had a mediocre start and then I pulled a really stupid stunt that made me instantly remember Jay Livingston's excellent post yesterday Why Race if You're Losing Badly?  In my concentration I rounded the first mark and headed off downwind, completely forgetting there was an offset mark about 50 meters away from the top mark.  I didn't even realise I had missed it until the same fellow who has luffed me up yesterday was kind enough to ask me near the downwind mark if I rounded both top marks. I immediately said yes, but as I thought more about it I realised I didn't.  So, even though I was in last place I informed the finish boat that I was DNF, having missed the second mark.

In the second race I got a very good start and went left with Mark Bethwaite and others. All day I was trying to use the technique he had told me about sheeting in and out with the waves and while I certainly need a lot more practice, I did feel several times what I think it is supposed to feel like - it keeps the boat moving smoothly and dampens the slamming of the waves.  I think one thing to keep in mind is to keep the heading constant and play the sheet - sometimes I was tending to round up and bear off a bit with the waves, but I realised that if I kept the heading steady it felt much more smooth.


  1. I think we've all forgotten that offset mark at times. I seem to remember that at one Masters Worlds on a trapezoid course with some changes of positions of the marks, your new friend Mark B. actually went to the wrong windward mark altogether. I guess it's easier to make that mistake when you are in the lead!

    Hang in there. Keep learning. I'm sure you will finish higher up the fleet before the week is over.

    I would be interested to hear more about that sheeting technique in waves. The conventional advice is to head up as you go up the wave and bear off on the back of the wave. If you don't steer like that what are you doing with the sheet? Where in relation to the wave do you sheet in and where do you ease?

    1. I agree with Skipper Tillerman here: going to weather on a Laser: ead up as you go up the wave and bear off on the back of the wave. It's the same way I sail my Laser-38 in significant wind and seas!


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