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Virtual Debrief on Dustin and Mike Video from Midwinters

By March 18, 2013 December 8th, 2018 No Comments

Interesting video and follow-up discussion from the email list:

Bryan Richardson:

Was hoping to generate some lessons learned from the video of Holt and Dustin sailing downwind in race 7 down in FL.  These gopro cameras will be almost as good as a coach boat for those of us trying to get better.

Dustin and Mike, you guys are pretty sick out there on the water and the rest of us would like to starting chasing your heels a bit more.  As a crew trying to get better, I watched you guys to take note of your your movements in tacks and gybes.  Couple of questions for both you and Mike.

Dustin, right at the beginning, we get to see you do your last tack as you approach the windward mark (about 30 seconds in).  Was watching how you unhook, and then grab the new jib sheet in your forward hand as you are crossing under the boom, and carry it with you to the new side.  It looks like on that tack that you cranked it most of the way in on the new side before hooking up and stepping out.  Is that usual or do you typically clip up, step out, and then haul it in to the new trim.
Dustin and Mike, on your raise (at about a minute in), you have a system where Dustin raises the kite halyard.  Do you guys like this system?  Why did you choose it rather than Mike hoisting?
If I saw correctly, it also looks like the lines for the pole launcher come back to Mike and he actually launches the kite on the raise.  Do you guys like this system?  Pros and cons to Dustin pushing it out on the raise? You have a system on your boat where Mike blows the pole on the jybe.  What do you think of this system?

Small thing, I noticed that Mike uncleats the jib and recleats the new side on the jib before you go into the jybe.  Do you have the lines run in any special way to do that or can he usually grab them.  Would he do that in heavy breeze?

Dustin was watching your hook up and go technique on the gybes (take 7:20 as an example). Once you are on the new tank, it looks like you grab the ring by the top and just pull it toward your hook and it is about the right height to snap in.  In looking at your hook, it seems to sit higher on your stomach than mine does.  I would say my hook is just under my belly button.  Does your hook sit higher on your stomach?

Mike, Jesse made this comment as well on the youtube page, but I noticed that you sail with a fair amount of helm and are active in pumping the main close to centerline downwind.  You also seem to go through the gybes pretty quickly.  Does your kite stay all the way filled through the gybe while turning more quickly?  Can you talk about what you are doing with your weight and what you are taking note of on your sails as you drive?

Eager to hear Jesse, Ali, Ethan, and Macy and anyone else chime in with their observations as well.  Sailors, trying to get better, there are no dumb questions so chime in as you need!

Jesse Falsone:

When wire-to-wire tacking, crew should uncleat, unhook, then swing into the boat. If you hold onto the trap handle a bit longer, you can get that back foot over the cap and onto the other side of the boat. This allows you to face forward in the boat, grab the new big sheet at the cleat and rotate up onto the new tank. As you rotate, you trim the jib in and get it into the cleat. Then, grab the trap ring, jam it into the hook, and throw your body out over the rail. Driver should be sitting on the tank at this time and
trimming the main in as the crew goes out. Don’t trim before if you can help it. Going out on the wire “up-hill” is more difficult and slower.

The crew hoist is pretty good, but I found that the driver really has to pre-launch the pole if possible to speed things up. Get it half way out before rounding and doing a bear-away set. Driver also should be the one to release the trap twing (since they have nothing else to do on the hoist). So, it should be easily reachable.

Mike Holt:

I will answer the helm appropriate ones…

2. Back at the Worlds in 2011 in Hamo, Peter and Hasso out set Carl and me with Peter pulling up. With twin poles this is certainly quicker, if done right. The following are the important parts.

a. Minimum friction. The set up has to be completely clean, minimum turns best possible blocks.

b. Helm has to pre set the pole and launch as far as possible as the kite goes up

c. As you approach the mark, pull sheets, guy and halyard as far as you dare.

3. What I do is reach under the jib sheets and pull the pole out as far as I can and leave the line by my hand. Then keep pulling as I can, I also try and grab the sheet, primarily to stop it going over the boom.

4. Yes, nothing special but an important part of a smooth gybe, unclear the jib and windward sheet the “new” one. Stops the pole from being hindered on the new set.

6. Two parts here:

a. Downwind. I drink too much coffee. I think I am pretty aggressive all the time steering and sheeting, up, down all the time. Many years ago, sailing in England I came off of a start next to Peter Colclough (aka God) and he just sailed away, I watched and emulated. Through the 70’s and 80’s he was a league apart. In my mind, although the tiller and therefore the rudder is moving a lot, I don’t feel weight, I believe I am letting the rudder move to the boat and waves, if that makes sense, we are not sailing on flat water and steady breeze, we are sailing on a bumpy track with shifty breeze.

b. Gybes. So I blow the pole, have done for years, mainly because it is easier, I am lazy. It is also way safer, firstly, less chance of a pole in the face, secondly we initiate the turn with the crew on the wire, so the boat is going fast and you can turn faster. Much less loader and yes the kite stays full most of the time. Out of the gybe I reach in and pull hard on the new sheet. I think Dustin liked it.

Dustin Romey:

Here’s a shot at your questions below:

Funny you say that.  I went out really slowly on this tack.  If you can read lips you’ll see Mike was calmly suggesting that I might wish to get out on the wire more quickly (you know, in that formal English proper way).  I thought we were closer to the mark than we were.  Jesse’s right, the fastest tacks are when your back foot goes all the way across the boat to the other side of the CB.  I’d say I do that most of the time, but not always in crash tacks.  I’ll pull an upwind clip and post it and we’ll see.  Aside from that, if you grab the jib sheet from the cleat and then walk across the boat, its pretty much trimmed into roughly the right spot.  I do that and then clip in on the rail and push out on the wire.

I don’t think we had the fastest sets.  We added a bunch of McLube and that helped, as it usually does.  Crew hoists can be faster, but another big gain is that the driver gets to drive.  That way they can focus on where they should be relative to the other boats.  The same thing you get out of the crew douse.
He was either grabbing it after the last tack and pulling it back to his area, or I was pulling it out 2 feet and throwing the launcher line back to him before I went to the halyard.  Probably 75% of the time he had launched it fully by the time I had the halyard up.  Which let me just grab the sheet, clip in, and go.
Mike does that pretty quickly.  With Henry, I tend to play the jib more.  Driver’s preference.  Mike was actually complaining that my jib sheets were too long because on his boat when Carl is out on the wire and aft (like in a windy kite reach), the jib sheet is stretched out in front of him.  Funny enough, Henry and I lengthened them at the NAs since when its windy you want to be able to flog the jib when you’re standing at the back of the boat.

I’d call it an inch or two above my bellybutton.  Not sure it matters much, as long as the harness is comfortable, and you can hook in quickly. When I wore the Spinshop harness, I wore it much more loose; loose enough that I could roll around in it to look around upwind.  That worked with that harness, the Ronstan style isn’t comfortable that way, so I wear it much tighter.

Just to give my perspective on this question, I thought the kite stayed full in most of our gybes.  Mike stayed going down a wave longer than I’m used to.  That meant that everything was unloaded for most of the maneuver.  Which probably contributed to your comment about how fast the pole went out.
The boat-handling thing that was really different with Mike was that he was releasing the pole launcher in the jibes.  This meant that I wasn’t focusing on releasing the pole when I swung in.  I could focus on getting under the boom and pulling the new pole out.  I liked it, but wonder what it looks like outside the boat.  It certainly didn’t feel slow.

Chris Brady:

Pole trip for the driver…?  No one would move their weight forward before the gybe.

If my back foot doesn’t cross in a tack, it means I am late and doing the “hop”. If this happens in any kind of breeze I go straight to the wire regardless of where the jib is.  Having a flat boat out of a tack with a loose jib is far better then a totally stalled boat on it’s side.

Dustin Romey:

I asked him why not rig a trip, and he said every time he’s tried it, the trip releases when you don’t want it to.  He just grabs the launcher line and whips it upwards.  Its a little athletic as far as most drivers go, but effective.

Weight-wise, it makes a lot of sense.  The crew stays on the wire longer, helping the turn.  And you never come through the jibe without the pole having released (no crossed poles).  No one gets the pole in the face. The new pole goes out faster because you’re going directly to the new pole.  Not sure what Jesse thought when they sailed the NAs, but I’m a fan.

Interesting point on just going for the wire first in a bad tack.  Thinking about it, I probably worry about the jib too much.

Jesse Falsone:

I think the driver blowing the pole with the crew on the wire is fine for heavy air, but I don’t think it’s as good in marginal wire running. it’s not as smooth and I think the boat slows down too much in the tighter turn. I prefer a slower, smoother turn in those conditions. It would be interesting to see which is faster down a run.

Stergios Papadakis:

We use a trip, I think it is the best way to go.  The trip line, which has a ball on the end, goes through a fairlead behind the mainsheet cleat and runs forward under the CB cap.  The launcher lines go through spinlocks mounted cleat-down on flipflops on the mast.  To prevent unintended trips, there is a shock cord that pulls the trip line forward near the mast under the CB cap, right before the trip line turns to come up through the CB cap and to the cleats.  This holds the ball tight against the fairlead.  In order to trip I need to stretch the shock cord some (maybe 4-6”) before the trip line can be tensioned and pull on the spinlocks.  The two spinlocks are connected by a line with a block on it, the trip line the skipper pulls connects to the block, resulting in a 1:2 purchase, so it requires a bit of a tug.  It never releases unintentionally.

The trip happens right before the crew swings in, as I am steering down. In breeze, it is a smooth turn all the way through the boom coming over, and the kite stays full through the boom coming over.  In some conditions it works to stay low and the kite stays full until the pole goes out, in other conditions it is safer and faster to head up and let it luff rather than drop off the plane on a dead run with both people standing in the middle of the boat and the CB down.

In light-air run-run gybes, it is much smoother to have the crew bring the pole back more slowly.

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