Monday, July 03, 2006

The importance of the conversation before the mark

I was to leeward and ahead sailing on a broad reach, he was on a dead run, the mark was still a reasonable distance ahead. I thought that I would reach up ahead of him so as to be the first at the mark and by being ahead I would deny him any overlap and thus water at the mark.

This I did but it was close and was compounded by the windshadow effect of his sails slowing me up and he started to override me. At the mark he asked for water, I did not believe he had rights to it, I also had very little manoverability owing to being in his windshadow so we rounded the mark on top of each other (I think he hit the mark but I didn't see it).

We both made the mistake of not having the conversation.

This is how the conversation should go:

Inside boat BEFORE 5 boat lengths from the mark: "I have an overlap on you" .

Lead boat BEFORE 5 boat lengths and whilst ahead and running parallel: "I have broken your overlap".

Lead boat at 2 boat lengths: "No water at the mark".


Overtaking boat BEFORE the 2 boat lengths : " I have an overlap on you".

And then at the 2 boat lengths point :"Water at the mark please".

It is always difficault to establish the facts after the event and even more difficault if you try to sort them all out at the 2 boat lengths distance.

The idea is to establish that an overlap exists or not first before the 2 boat lengths distance is reached and then if the overlap is still there when the two boat lengths distance is reached.

There might still be difference of opinion but at least there is now an on going conversation about it and if we are being gentlemen on the water we will resolve the issue without too much aggravation.

It's not like we didn't know the technique, it was something that was covered on our coaching day and we were both there, we just didn't put it into practice.

In retrospect, tactically, I think it would have been better to have stuck out wide and given him room and then luffed up fast inside him at the mark and got on his windward quarter. This would have worked because it is not easy to go from a run to a beat and come out fast and I would have come in on a close reach to the mark gone close hauled and luffed past his transom.

What I hadn't considered in my original idea was the windshadow effect of his sails (Doh!) I'm still not convinced that he had rights to water but I'm not sure now that he didn't.

There is nothing quite like a bit of experience to bring home the value of the knowledge in the head.

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