Monday, April 30, 2012

West Coast Sailing

Thanks to Chris and the crew at West Coast Sailing for making me part of their team! They really are a great resource. They do Laser, skiff, and dinghy equipment, and they know their stuff. Check them out at Free shipping!

West Coast Sailing sells sailboats from Laser Performance, McLaughlin, PS2000, Bic Sport and Tasar.  We sell Laser sails, sailboat parts, accessories and upgrades from Gill, SEA, Stohlquist, Magic Marine, Seitech and many other of the best small sailboat brands.

Check your equipment.

Lesson learned. I was late to practice on Saturday thanks to a flat tire on my trailer. No excuses for that one! I knew that tire was on it's last legs. I always try to get all the life out of my rigging too, but I realise it's not worth it when something breaks and it takes you out of a race, or even good practice time. I replaced all my tired rigging yesterday.

I use robline for all my controls, it definitely works the best, but the cover wears out fast and breaks quickly once there is visible wear, so I have learned not to push my luck.

If your lines look this worn out, replace them before they break. 


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday Night Racing

Good close racing tonight at Treasure Island. Only 5 boats, but a very tight fleet. Strong breeze and shifty.  Gotta love the view on the way home too:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thank You Ronnie

You can read Ronnie Simpson's article "full dance card" on Sailing Anarchy here.

full dance card

     It’s Thursday night in San Francisco and the sun is setting on another breeze-on night of dinghy sailing. Christine Neville has just won another Laser regatta, sailing in a fleet consisting of an America’s Cup veteran, an Olympian and past fleet champions. Back to the dock first, she washes off her Laser and carts it off to the parking lot. Coming to a stop, she positions the shiny new boat next to her $1,600 Saab. With several dents and a missing rearview mirror, the thing is a piece. Her Laser on the other hand is nearly new and constantly kept in perfect racing condition being 3 times as valuable as her car.

     As Christine begins to strip her wetsuit, you can’t help but be impressed by her physique. At 5’11” inches tall and weighing 155 pounds, she’s a formidable woman, oftentimes winning in big breeze over an all-male fleet. Lean and muscular, she’s a natural athlete who is just entering her prime. Living and breathing for the sport, Christine is fuelled by a constant passion that has kept her learning curve steep. Subscribing to the “broke sailor with a dream” lifestyle that is so prevalent here, Christine works full time at a local sail loft to support her racing addiction. She’ll never make any real money there but it facilitates her racing and training regimen. “I sail 4-5 days a week, including racing Thursday and on the weekends”, she proudly states.

     She’s kept her dance card full with major events this winter including January’s prestigious Miami OCR regatta. Christine pulled off a solid performance and was the 5th best American. This coming after a strong 2011, where she was US Sailing’s Singlehanded Female Champion, while also racking up two district championships in the process. And now Christine has qualified for the Laser radial worlds in Boltenhagen, Germany. The event is next month and Christine can not yet afford to go. “137 of the world’s best radial sailors will be there and they’re all in top form as the Olympics are coming up”, said Christine during our interview.“I learned a lot sailing in such a big, competitive fleet at the OCR regatta. I had good starts and upwind speed. I even rounded a top mark in 1st in one race. But my downwind speed and tactics were off. Through it all, I learned a lot by watching the top ladies scoot downwind and now I’ve made some adjustments to my style. I gained a lot of confidence and I can’t wait to continue the learning curve at the Worlds.”

     Christine needs your support to realize her dream of racing in next month’s Worlds. Her current goal is to raise $2,000 to be able to afford to compete. She has recently set up a blog andfundraising page.

- Ronnie Simpson.    04/26/12

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sage Advice

I've been told some great words of wisdom recently while preparing for the worlds. This comes from very experienced sailors:
"Fight your own laziness. It's easy to sit around and do nothing in between races. Don't waste time that you can use collecting information. Do splits upwind before each start with someone (e.g. for two minutes). Try to do it two or three times for each race. When you cross, get together and discuss why. You can also do this with each of you starting at the opposite ends of the line to find out which end is favored and by how much." 
- (Coach) Peter Shope

"Sail hard till the last minute. Sail smart. Know where you stand going into the last race." 
- Chris Boome 

"If you look to windward and the boats on the same tack as you are lifted, tack." 
- Jon Andron

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Classic San Francisco

    Well, Saturday and Sunday were both supposed to be light, but windy was what we got! Two of the most beautiful city front days, one sunny, one foggy. Great upwind workout, and really working on finding a rhythm downwind.

Notes on upwind sailing:
(this is really to help me remember to do this stuff, but I hope you can use it.)

  • Foot for speed, but use it to gain height - always work up when you can.
  • Do the Luke move / fish wiggle / torking / knock the bow down for speed thing.
  • Keep your cockpit dry.
  • Look upwind and anticipate the puffs - make your adjustments early!
  • Pay attention to the big picture, keep your head out of the boat.
  • If you are fast, don't sail away from the fleet, be conservative tactically.
  • Get your hiking strap set just right before the start.
  • Weight out, shoulders out, don't be lazy hike harder (when it's windy).

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Note to Self - Things to Remember on the Water


  • Get on the gybe that makes it easiest to surf waves.
  • Get on the gybe where you are by the lee and pointing the most towards the mark.
  • Keep clear air and sail fast angles, but don't sail more distance than you have too.
  • Don't forget to do up-turns
  • Look at your leech! Make your vang just right.
  • Press to leward (with your feet) as often as you can.
  • Keep pressure on the mainsheet.
  • Look behind for breeze.
  • Neutral helm - steer with weight - don't heel too much when you are going straight.
  • Be aware - keep your head out of the boat!
  • On a crowded line, get there early and let the hole develop.
  • Look over your shoulder for potential hole stealers.
  • Pay attention to the fleet dynamic, don't forget how it changes on a black flag.
  • Keep your cool! Don't get flustered if other people yell at you or whine.
  • Be confident and selfish.
  • Start like Paige - Full speed on the line at the gun. Don't get too close to early.
  • Protect your numbers.
More to come later, time to go sailing! Great breeze on the city front yesterday, hoping for the same today.