Keep Calm and Put the Bow Down

A reminder that pinching doesn’t pay …

“Keep your head out of the boat!” That’s a phrase we’ve all heard from coaches in sailboat racing. It’s an important concept. In fact it will be one of our Rules to Sail By this year, but it is just as important to keep your head in the boat if it means keeping the boat going full speed. Without consistent driving, tactics cannot reach their full potential.

Last weekend, I sailed the stars with my dad who had very little tiller time in the class. The vast majority of his sailing experience has been in dinghies and E-Scows which are deceptively light and accelerate quickly. Hanging over the rail in the crew’s harness with little to look at except the waves coming at me, I found myself pestering him to “keep pressing,” and “put the bow down,” mostly because I didn’t want to drag in the water! But I also wanted to remind him that the boat needs to “eat” in order to stay fast. After the day’s racing, Dad laughed and told me his similar experience earlier that month when he was crewing for my brother Michael in J22s at the San Diego Yacht Club Championship. Michael’s helming experience is also dinghy-focused, so Dad kept reminding Michael that weekend to “Keep the bow down.” Now tables had turned and he had to take some of his own medicine.Rule Number 8 of our 50 Rules to Sail by in 2012: Put the bow down!

From Andrew Campell’s “50 Rules to Sail by in 2012” Series

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