Often in a new class, the first event can go quite well and then, in the second event, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the details of the boat.
I was in the position of tactician and main trimmer aboard an Etchells at the second Jaguar Series event in Miami. This weekend we were fortunate to have enough wind to complete five races series. The wind started at NE on Saturday morning and by Sunday afternoon was SSE. Although the wind was trending right, the left was often good. This is a classic Miami situation.
While we were confronted with many variables from tuning to evolving technique, it was most important to keep things simple, so here are a few simple lessons from the weekend.
1) In unstable light air, you can be lifted in the middle, but people on edges will usually beat you because of more pressure.
2) Don’t follow the forecast too closely. The forecast predicted a max right of 150, but we saw 160. And, it took a long time to shift back into the forecasted range, so always remember to race in the wind you have at that moment.
3) Know what type of race you are sailing. Race four began in a steady breeze. We needed to switch from playing the edges for extra pressure to playing clean lanes. We made the mistake of seeking extra pressure on a port lane, which would have been good in the unstable wind from the previous races – but the wind became stable. As it was, the boats that tacked early on neutral headings were well in front of us because they had clear lanes for more of the beat.
My next event is Miami OCR in the 470. I am excited to be back in my Olympic class for an event, but disappointed to be missing the Etchells Jaguar Series event #3, which, unfortunately, conflicts with Miami OCR. Good luck to the Zhen team in their next event!