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Saturday Solo Practice

It was supposed to be another light air day. Rather than wait for the wind to pick up, I left the marina early anyways. I got to buoy 6 at 11:20 AM, a new record for me. I passed buoy 6 then turned downwind towards buoy TG.

With the wind blowing from 270 or so, buoy 6 and TG make a good windward-leeward course that’s about 2 and a half miles long. I wanted to go around this course at least twice. Maybe three.

ECMWF, GFS and even HRRR weather models all forecasted 7-8 knots of wind. I saw constant 10 knots, 13-15 knot gusts in the early afternoon.

I had the #3 jib up, and this was plenty of sail area going upwind in 10+ knots singlehanded. I practiced upwind sailing and while I was at it, I also calibrated the masthead wind sensor. I sailed back down to TG, then sailed upwind again. And again.

20-mile practice

I ended up going around 3 times, totaling over 20 miles. Each time, I tried to concentrate on making the boat go, both upwind and downwind. It’s like doing buoy racing except for the crewed boat handling.

The goal here was practicing the boat speed part. I want to connect better with the boat and the elements.

Since I consider myself still returning to sailing, I’m not quite ready to start flying Spinnaker on my own again. So on downwind runs, I sailed on a broad reach with the jib, trying to surf and scoot on every puff and wave.

Jib Twist and My Mediocrity

As I sailed upwind in a freshening breeze, I noticed that the Jib has a fair amount of twist in it. This is even with the jib car moved forward all the way. This twist helped a lot in chops and swells that are typical of Coronado Rhodes. If I steered to the middle telltales – footing off a few degrees in essence – the boat would sail .2-.4 knots faster. This was a good thing.

BlackJack struggles to go against chops and waves. If I steer around the waves to avoid crashing and bashing against the hull, the boat will easily go another half a knot faster. Twist helps when you steer like this also.

On the last downwind leg, I tried to think what was and wasn’t working.

All these bits of theory I’ve known for years, and I am quite happy to see I can still put them into practice.

I can still sail with some semblance of a clue. Well, that’s good.

What wasn’t working? Well, I am not terribly good at putting it all together. When I focus on boat speed in waves, I become oblivious to wind shifts. When I try to follow shifts, I sailed half a knot slower.

When I was buoy racing In the past, we did brilliantly if I got someone good to call tactics. Otherwise, I was just a middle-of-the-pack racer going just a tad slower and being slightly out of phase.

As I sailed around the buoys for the third time, I tried to see if I can keep up the boat speed and be cognizant of wind shifts and strength. I seem able to do it, but I need more practice.

Now, about the twist in the Jib. Why would the jib have so much twist in it, though?

There are a couple of possibilities. First is the equipment. I’m using #3 jib leads that are bit tall. The jib also has shrunk as all mylar sails do. The combined effect is that I can’t get the twist out of #3. The second is that the rig needs to be tuned again.

I’m guessing it’s probably a combination of both. I’ll build a low profile jib lead with Antal rings, and also tune the rig.

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