Back to practice

It sure does feel good to be back on the water in a catamaran! It has been a few weeks since I have been able to sail and boy does it feel nice to be back out there. I had been practicing for the Laser Midwinters East up until the event which was last weekend.
Start of a practice race

This last practice went very well for the team. The conditions ranged from 10-15 knots of breeze with some bigger gusts with mild chop. On the way out I decided to wear my GoPro Hero2 on my head as a way of trying something new. I got some interesting footage of my crew Erick Weinstein and I on our sail out and of us doing some speed testing before sailing in some practice races. After not sailing together for a few weeks we felt a bit awkward at first but after a while we got back into the groove. One of the things we realized that we immediately were doing wrong was the setting of out daggerboard height, which can be seen in our GoPro footage. At around 10:45 we realized this and pulled them up to a higher setting and immediately saw improvement in our speed testing.

Downwind practice

When we started doing practice races it was all business and the GoPro came off (it was giving me a headache anyways). After a few bad starts we end up tacking off to the right every race, getting the favorable shifts on that side of the course and tacking off and taking them back over to the left side before the other boats could. Our tacks have really improved since January! We hardly lose any ground during the tacks and we are getting out on the wire much faster. We worked on our kite sets which have also improved and our wire-to-wire downwind jibes, which could use more practice.

On the downwinds Erick and I worked on sheeting and steering in unison. Erick worked on keeping the kite trimmed well during waves and puffs and on moving body weight around on the wire to keep the boat powered up in the lulls. I worked on playing the traveler more than steering during the puffs and on keeping the boat powered up in all situations as well.

Erick Weinstein mid-tack

Over all this was a very productive practice. Both Erick and I felt fast and in a steady and controlled groove by the end of the day. Also, the entire team was very lucky to have Mrs. Le Patourel, the mother of one of the sailors, out on the water. She took some amazing action shots of the entire team out training! Thanks again!