Some of the Scottish Musto Skiffers gathered at Dalgety Bay on the weekend of the 23rd/24th October for some pre-worlds training. The Northerly wind, and the first dusting of snow on the tops of the hills made for a cold weekend – very different to conditions expected in Melbourne! We were treated to a fresh F4-5 from the North East on Saturday, and a slightly lighter F2-3 on the Sunday. 7 sailors took part on the Saturday, 2 couldn’t hack the pace leaving us with 5 on the Sunday. The wind coming across the land made for very gusty and shifty conditions, but meant that the water was very flat. The wind direction also meant our training area crossed the shipping channel into the Forth – it certainly focuses the mind on the gybes!
Saturday was spent mostly on boat speed work with long upwind and downwind legs comparing rig and sail settings with Phil Alderson coaching. The morning session was very successful, but some tiredness was beginning to show in the afternoon session, and Phil commented on the increase in the amount of swimming. Sunday morning was coached by Gordon Bisset and Scott Hyslop, who had us sailing short 1 lap races to get some boat handling practice. Ian McCAfferty took over from Gordon for the afternoon session where it was back to longer legs to compare boat speed upwind (we couldn’t cope with any more shorter races).
The most valuable part of the weekend was going over the video footage in the bar afterwards. The main points taken away were:
- The main difference between the pointing well with good upwind speed was the upper leech profile – the quicker boats had flatter upper mains that were bladed out. Boats that were slower had noticeably fuller and more twisted sails.
- Going up wind it can be fast to foot off slightly to get the foils working before squeezing back up onto the wind.
- When going downwind the most noticeable boatspeed variation was in the mainsheet position – aiming to have the boom by the back quarter of the hull. This is further in than you think.
- When going downwind it can pay to ease the main slightly after getting caught by a big gust to allow the flow to re-attach, and then re-sheeting as the boat gets up to speed.
- The key to the gybe is preparation – failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Many thanks to Dalgety Bay Sailing Club for hosting the weekend, and to the coaches Phil, Gordon, Scott and Ian; and the rescue crew, Brian, cammy, and Louis for their time.