Mcnay Racing

Performance Sailing

Melges 20 Miami Winter Series Event #2

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We just wrapped up the second event of the Melges 20 Miami Winter Circuit. I was calling tactics and trimming main on Odin with Camille at the helm and fellow Yale sailor Thomas Barrows was trimming jib and spinnaker. Thomas and I have team raced with each other a lot, but we have never raced on the same boat before. It reminded me how much there is to learn from other talented sailors and the best way to learn from each other is to race together.

One of the things I appreciate about the M20 fleet is everyone’s willingness to share knowledge.  Certainly in the Olympic 470 fleet, you do not find this level of openness. On Saturday after racing, there was a fleet debrief. Andy Burdick moderated a panel of helms and crew from several top teams on the day. While there weren’t many surprises, it was nice to hear from different voices to confirm what we were thinking.

Photo Credit Joy Dunigan at

Photo Credit Joy Dunigan at

Here were some thoughts from the panelists:

-As soon as the mainsheet is eased the primary shrouds need to be slid aft (tensioned) to keep headstay tension, so jib stays flat enough and rig remains stable.

-Plays the lowers based on vang tension. As the wind increases, vang harder and slide the lower shroud cars aft (tension). Also, crank on the diamonds. The overall effect is a flat mainsail up high with some depth down low and twist is controlled by vang. This is a good heavy air shape.

-Downwind in lazy plane or full plane conditions, steer to angle of heel. Heel should always be between 0 and 5 degrees. If at 0 degrees heel, head up, if at 5 degrees heel head down. In lulls, the crew moves forward and inboard over the motor, which will keep a little heel and allow boat to keep speed on lower angle. It prevents helmsman from diving up unnecessarily. In Marginal planning at 8.5 kts hull speed, heading up is good when you can hit 9.5-10kts of speed, but 9kts and high angle will not be VMG.

-When making your final approach to the line and watching your Velocitek, there should always be more meters to the starting line than seconds to the start. No need to worry about a boat with their jib up, they will rip by with a lot of momentum and not be an issue later.

Results are Here.

Author: stumcnay

Athlete and Coach, Sailing

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