Monday, July 18, 2011

T-minus three weeks and counting

The Techno Junior, Youth and Master Worlds start today and the St Francis Yacht Club is crawling with something like 200+ board sailors, young and old, from all over the world. Add in about 20-30 Laser sailors, young and old, here to train for the 4.7 and Master Worlds, then 140 brand new Lasers and its starting to get a bit crowded!

Yesterday was a 3 hour training sessions with Peter Vessella, Wolfgang Gerz, Christy Usher, Kurt Wessells, Walt Spevak, Christine Neville and Dimitri Despierres. Most of us were on the water at 1:00 pm, right at max flood at the Golden Gate. We sailed until around 4:00 pm which was around the time of slack water at the bridge and since we did the "standard" Fort Mason to Anita loop (mostly), and were along the shore, we effectively sailed the early ebb. Very interesting!

Our wind yesterday looked like this:

But otherwise the weather was pretty boring:

Anyway, big lesson yesterday is to watch the early ebb - at first it pays to be right up along the shore but as the ebb extends away from the shore there becomes a point there its no longer strongest right on the beach. However, ever more critical, as always, is to pay attention to the wind - the shifts always win out over the smallish changes in current (right now) and, worse, you can land in a big hole if too close to the rocks.

My strategy this year is to spend less time working on straight line speed and more time "racing". So we do rabbit starts at the Fort Mason buoy, race to Anita and then back to Fort Mason. Over and over again its being proven to me that being a bit faster upwind means nothing, as we approach Anita there can be some big wind shifts and if played correctly they can erase any gain on pure boat speed. Second - with the ebb its a downwind race but you still need to stay in the puffs and not wallow in the holes that can develop. We'll see if my strategy ultimately pays off or if I end up outsmarting myself on what I expect is going to happen...

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