Sunday, September 30, 2012

Photos from the Nationals 2012

We didn't take pictures during the race 

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So warm! and we need to finish the day in style :)

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Day started light, then wind picked up to about 20 knots. 
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Scott and Mark chilling out
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Sunday was a no wind day. The race was abandoned.

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Super hot and sunny!!
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Mike took a hand-operated grinder and we had mai tai with crushed ice!
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Mark fixing a pin in the main sheet
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and Elise's new boombox in action :)
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Decadent! Chocolate-chip cookies with Nutella!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Elise's get coat all fixed :)

She looks ready for the Nationals :)

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Sailing on a J105 today

Chuck, Amy, Laurie, Alex and Tim - thank you for having me!

AND wine (and not beer) is served on the boat :)

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Ride Today

I checked the Half Moon Bay webcam in the morning and saw sunshine so I decided to try riding down the coast; it was great. Temperature is much cooler than that of the Palo Alto inland area which makes for a much nicer ride.

I raced a boat along the coast and won. It was a cat and didn't have a jib up. Very little wind in the morning

Highway 1 is a little crowded and I got lost off bunker hill rd (which I should never have left, turning for about 20 minutes and adding miles...)

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I ate some fresh fish in Half Moon Bay, there was some kind of festival at Pillar Point Harbor and then took off for my return trip.

I took Millbrae BART (really tired!!) and biked for another 1.2 miles in the city.

Total mileage today is probably about 48 miles...Most I had done recently (since I stopped biking down to Mountain View) was about 25+ miles so that was a bit of a trek for me today!)

Total mileage for the week is 122.57 miles (197.26 kms) - time to rest!! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hoisting Elise and Serge single-handling

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Nat arriving on the scene

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Serge waiting on the scene
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Elise is ready to go
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and looking her usual beautiful
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Latte waiting for Nat
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First Nat kept Serge and Elise on a leash
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Serge is getting ready to go on his own
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Wait, Serge, that's not the right way, you're heading straight into the dock

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Ah, that's better
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Closing in on the destination
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Trailer on its way to meet the boat
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Well deserved breakfast, from Sandbox
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Looking over at competition
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Yeah, this is the competition for breakfast. We call these guys Nathan Junior.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Post Sail Chores

De-salting sails and gear...

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Ride Today

I did a lot of missed turns... About 22 miles. Went up four hills (if you count Bernal Heights) - 

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feeling great!

Lessons from our practice

From Scott and Nathan (summarized)

Twing position: Twingers need to be higher in heavier winds - and have them run under the lifelines

Driving downwind: We obviously need to keep the boat going downwind without wiping out, and that is mostly a coordination issue between the driver and the trimmers which takes time and experience.  And at least the second time we didn't lose the chute completely :)

Pole Position: Driver and trimmers have to feel the boat and the wind and the effect of the waves on the boat attitude and anticipate when an ease is needed.  And in heavy wind the pole should be a foot or so forward of optimal (90 deg to wind angle), but no more. 

Use the vang more: actively trim it just like a sheet, powering and depowering the main as the wind changes and puffs hit.

Gybes: the clew being a bit more forward helps me get the gybe done faster.  And we need that extra line as the foredeck person attaches the pole to what is now the new guy.  Otherwise that person has to fight the pressure.  (assuming of course that the downhaul is released). We got closer toward the end of the day.

Pole position on exit from gybe - not usually very far aft.  In heavy breeze, a little bit forward keeps some tucked under the main and makes the exit from the gybe a little more stable.  In lighter breeze, you're not going to be steering really deep so it needs to be forward anyway.

Trim during the gybe - a few times early on in the practice one or
both clews wound up trimmed very tight after the start of the gybe in an
effort to keep the shoulders from collapsing.  After a certain point, that
causes more problems than it solves because a tight foot makes it hard for
bow to get the pole on and exiting a gybe overtrimmed in heavy breeze can
lead to drama. The good news is that the heavier the wind the easier it is to float the spinnaker.

Driving out of a gybe: Gotta do the full "S" turn to come back down when the boom starts to go across to make the sails refilling more graceful.

Single Handed Richmond Race

Crew: Nathan

Writeup posted with permission

Course: Berkeley Circle->Alcatraz->Harding->Brothers (passing Red Rock
to Stbd)->BYC (passing Red Rock to port)

Nathan's brilliant execution:

        Leave RYC in very light air, motoring

        See Ergo without engine, go over to them to offer a tow at least
out into the breeze, throw helm over to circle around, watch engine spin
on its mount and then fall off (don't think it sucked up any water as what
stopped it was the kill switch popping out- checking again tomorrow and
running it to Sea Power on Monday if necessary. The pull is easy and it
sounds like it's about to start but doesn't catch- I might have just
flooded it with fuel trying to restart it).

        Ergo tows Elise out past the RYC breakwater- their engine started
this time.

        Sail to start, still arriving in plenty of time.

        Start, not particularly well but not disastrously.

        Reasonable upwind to Alcatraz, beating Ergo and Archimedes (both
of them doublehanding.

        Stay ahead on way to Harding.

        Lose to Ergo+Archimedes during a long set between Harding and
Racoon Strait (Nick was having some trouble driving)

        Catch up to Ergo+Archimedes coming out of Racoon Strait and
heading along the Marin shore towards TYC.

        Lose them when they gybe out early and I stay inshore.

        Destroyed by the time I reached the Brothers- was expecting the
wind to come sharply aft and it didn't so I had seriously overstood.
Also, I need to research the current up there in the other channel: I
think the Richmond side channel was going in the opposite direction from
the San Rafael-side one.

        Sail back up to BYC, wishing I had the #3 the whole way (blowing
about 17-20, jib marked for up to 20 but obviously with no weight at all
on the rail that's hard).  Went easy on the jib (cracked off a little),
no problem sailing but not that competitive.

        Sail back to RYC.

Another part of the training for the Nationals

Sailing is a sport (racing mainly that is) - round the buoy can really do with fast lean and athletic people. long distance racing is an endurance sport and having proper nutrition, amazing recovery skills (which is a training item, the more endurance training you do and the great fitness you achieve the faster your body recovers) are super important. Strength (particularly if you are an elf like I am) is also key. I practice upper body strength so I can trim the spinnaker without help from a winch (slower) in higher wind speeds. 

I train for endurance, general fitness level, mental toughness/commitment (also key to success) and leg strength via cycling (which I am starting to really like as it is also a 'discover cool places' type sport)

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From yesterday, courtesy of my mom!

Serge video of the Nationals Practice

Nationals Practice

The main crew for Nationals this year practices gybes for half a day along the city front. 

Consistent Training

The most common experience even with top athletes is that consistent training (as opposed to way too much training) in small dose is much more likely to bring improvements so we are keeping the sessions short and focused

Focus on improvement points

We are focusing on our weak points and whatever little time we have for practice we will address what will most likely bring the most improvement. In sailing, often it is about not messing up! The less time we spend practicing, the more focused we have to be at practice - and we need to heavily prioritize that time.

Lasting Commitment

It is also helpful to train to be successful. The best boats in the fleet have been sailing TOGETHER for over 10 years. Consistent crew that can grow and learn together is probably one of the most important success criteria. Success does not come immediately, the rewards will be reaped after years of hard work. So being able to have an environment that is fun for the team, that provides learning and growth for everyone is great so that the commitment can be a lasting one.

People who do not mind training in the rain, who do not mind training alone, with a can do attitude, looking at constant and small improvements without sweating the small stuff are the ones I recommend having onr your team.

Make sure you don't burn people out. Asking for too much too quickly or too early is probably a sure recipe to have no crew again very soon or no one turning up for practice. 

Have A races (your goals) and B races

Racing is a great practice at ... racing! Doing individual practices in a slow manner just to rehearse maneuvres, that you can isolate away from any kind of tactical settings is great. Alternating this with 'real-life' practice settings in a race where you don't care so much about the results but have an objective to maximize learning is also great. If every race is about finishing in the top 3 then you won't progress as much and your results won't be consistent. You are also likely not to hit these goals and will be disappointed. If the class events are the ones you want to score high at, enter other races to be around other boats, even if it is PHRF and not EXACTLY the same type of racing. If you are learning to start in a busy start area, it won't matter what the other boats race, if you are practicing mark rounding around a busy mark, pick a light air race (almost guarantee to have a pile up, regardless of rating)

Be flexible and have a larger roster of team members

You will be tired. Some will have business trips - start with a plan and be ready to make changes.

I feel so lucky this season. We have a strong fun and solid team. We are all racing to become better sailors and to have fun. And we are sticking together to make things happen. Elise is one lucky girl.

Photos courtesy of my mom and of Serge.

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Pre-practice briefing
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Not sure why someone would take a picture of my butt...it isn't wet yet
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'Our training grounds
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The other side of it :)
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Words from the observer on shore (my mom) taking photos on the first leg of practice (where we had one round up, one round down with perfect recovery and a lot of messed up gybes and collapsed spinnakers)

  • I saw this boat really close to shore but I couldn't see the sail number. I was thinking 'what a bunch of morons, they really suck at this and they pick an itinerary that is close to one of the busiest part of the Bay.
  • I do not think that it is normal to sail with a vertical deck (note from Nat: this was a comment after a round down)
  • Is it normal to put the keel out of the water? (note from Nat: this was after a round up)
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    Going upwind to the mark for the set. We hoisted the jib before the set since we were practicing, set, gybes and douses.

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Incidently our tacks with the jib up were very good. Comments from the shore observer

  • Your boat speed upwind looked really good. You were really hawling ass out there 
  • I really liked your tacks.

Our speed upwind was hovering around 6 knots (and above cross current) and we were back on track really fast after our tacks.

QUOTE OF THE DAY (as we have just completed a tack)

Mike 'have we tacked yet?'

Nat 'er,...we have just tacked actually. I guess it must have been smooth'

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After the practice, putting the boat away

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and drying out my butt
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Back to setting the boat up (Serge is taking over as a photograph
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Discussing how we can practice recovering Mike from the water.
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Nathan must have made a joke, Mike is doing a facepalm...
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Scott brought his laundry bag.
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Hooking up the cruising #3, the crappiest sail Elise owns
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Testing the new pullpit
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Note that Mark and my mom are color coordinated.