Puff Response Upwind

At some point these hot days may bring in the dinner winds and with it some gusty conditions. Here’s a video from Bill Gladstone of North U on the right way to respond to a heavy gust, trim don’t feather.


By |2014-05-15T08:17:18-07:00May 15th, 2014|Racing Skills|0 Comments

Heaving-to in a Gale

More great writing from Karen Sullivan.

Sockdolager hove-to under storm trysail, 100 miles off the Oregon coast at the beginning of the gale.

Sockdolager hove-to under storm trysail, 100 miles off the Oregon coast
at the beginning of the gale.

Because a lot of people have asked us about the traditional way of “parking” your boat on the ocean, called heaving-to, and because so many have also asked, “Are you going to write a book about the voyage“, (and because I am writing one,) here is a compilation of story and technical information about heaving-to, from a couple of draft chapters and an appendix. We’ve also posted three videos. They are:

1. Sockdolager hove-to off the Oregon coast;
2. Sockdolager hove-to off New Zealand; and
3. A side-by-side split-screen comparison of conditions in the two videos.

We hope this post helps to answer some of those technical questions while also telling a story for our non-technical readers.

On July 22, 2011, we were hove-to 100 miles off the Oregon coast, waiting out a gale. We remained hove-to for 48 hours. Every so often a big wave collapsed squarely onto the windward side of the hull, punching us—BAM!—like a heavyweight prizefighter. It shoved the boat nearly onto her side. The first time it happened, Jim was bracing himself in the galley and I was laying in his settee bunk. At impact I tensed for a knockdown. Stay up, stay up, stay up! I beamed strength to the boat; the rolldown lost momentum at about 50 or 60 degrees off vertical. Then the heavy weight and leverage of Sockdolager’s keel began righting us. Ah, whew, we’re okay. But if these waves get any bigger, we won’t be.

story continues here

By |2014-01-11T15:28:11-08:00January 11th, 2014|On the Water|0 Comments



Win a Lifesling by practicing two MOB drills

Boating safety is a concern to all sailors and in an effort to promote safety; the PTSA is encouraging the entire fleet to practice man-over-board drills.

During the spring and summer race series all boats which complete the man-over-board drills and watch the LIFESLING video will be eligible to win a new LIFESLING (value $150, compliments of PTSA and West Marine)

Of the two drills, the skipper can be at the helm during one of the retrievals. The second drill should be run by a member of the crew. It is recommended that all members of the crew watch the video prior to the drill.

For the drill, if you don’t have a LIFESLING, please contact Ed Edwards at (360) 301-1386 to arrange a loaner.

Experience has shown that physically getting the victim back on board can be the most difficult and hazardous part of the drill. Each boat and crew will need to develop their own boat specific procedure.

If you don’t have a willing victim to jump into the water, we do have several volunteers who are available. Contact Ed Edwards at (360) 301-1386 to make arrangements. Upon completion of watching the video and completing two drills (live victim not mandatory), contact Ed to enter the drawing for the LIFESLING. The drawing will be after the summer Cats Paw Series.

The LIFESLING video can be seen through the link at our web site or on You Tube here. The best video is the “LIFESLING 2011” by the Sailing Foundation.

On the behalf of PTSA, always think safety.

By |2013-04-23T08:29:01-07:00April 22nd, 2013|Safety|0 Comments

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

By |2012-03-10T09:23:46-08:00March 5th, 2012|Racing Skills|0 Comments

How To Start

It’s make or break time out on the racecourse, MARK RUSHALL explains how to get a flying start and what to do when things don’t go quite to plan.

J-24 Start Line Sag

When the race officer sounds the starting signal for the Sunday race at Daydreamers YC, he can already see which boats are going to compete in the leading pack, which will be fighting with the mid fleet masses, and which crews will consider a recovery to the mid fleet a success. For most racers, the first five minutes set the agenda for the entire race. Yet, unlike sprinters or tennis players, who spend hours and days practising starting and serving techniques, most of us are content with the 15 minutes or so starting practice we get each weekend in our local club races, compared with the three hours course-racing practice which inevitably follows each start. We all experience elements of a bad start from time to time: no space to leeward so no opportunity to accelerate without being lee-bowed; blanketed by boats to windward; starting at the unfavoured end and seeing the fleet crossing boat lengths ahead within minutes of the start; in irons going backwards when the gun goes; or simply being pinned on starboard tack unable to follow any pre set strategy. Worse still, sticking out from the crowd in the event of a black flag or individual recall. Consistently good starters avoid these dangers by applying a mix of skills. Many are class specific: the fastest way to learn is by watching your class expert. Sadly these skills can’t be learned simply from reading. They have to be learned just the same way the expert learned them – through time on the water.

Strategic Awareness when Sailing

A clear race strategy leads to a definite starting objective. [Strategies for the beat were discussed in the December 2002 issue of Y&Y.] A starting objective enables realistic priorities to be set; rather than trying to win the start outright we might aim for a more conservative approach, which achieves these priorities. For example, in light conditions the top priority for a keelboat is generally speed off the line, while in a dinghy it’s clear wind. If there is a wind bend favouring the right hand side of the course, the priority will be a clear lane to tack onto port.

How handle the boat

Practising some specific boat handling skills will enable you to accurately position the boat on the start line: • Stop quickly by pushing out the boom, keeping the boat’s alignment constant. • Learn to manoeuvre at slow speed, using sails and body weight. • Practice holding the boat on station in semi-stalled mode; (between close hauled and head to wind) using rudder and sails; maintaining control all the time. Try bearing away fast without acceleration, then promptly returning to semi-stalled mode. • Learn to tack when in semi-stalled mode, using body movement and sails, without gaining forward momentum. • Accelerate quickly from semi-stalled mode.

You can read the rest of the article on Yachts and Yachting here.

By |2012-02-12T11:58:19-08:00February 12th, 2012|Racing Skills|0 Comments

BOATHANDLING: Secrets of a Sensuous Sailor

Lifted from WaveTrain, Charles Donne’s very literate sailing/boating blog.

(Photo by Fritz Guerin)

It wasn’t until I first sailed on a boat with an engine that I understood precisely what is most seductive about sailing. Any who have cursed the din of a motor while afloat will know exactly what I mean. We feel it the very instant we switch our engines off, as the awful over-riding sound of internal combustion dies away. I call it the orgasm of silence, that moment in which it seems all of our senses have suddenly been turned on.

Considered purely on an aesthetic basis the sensuality of sailing is hardly unique. Any mode of transportation, particularly when raised to the level of sport, necessarily creates sensory stimuli, and those engaged in it will attune themselves to these. Sailors may argue that stimuli experienced while sailing are inherently more aesthetic–that the caress of the wind and the hiss of a wake must, for example, be more sublime than the roar of an engine and the smell of fuel–but this, I think, is mere prejudice. And, of course, many of the stimuli we enjoy while sailing are also experienced in other modes of boating. A canoeist or kayaker–even that lowest form of mariner, the floating motorist–may share our affinity for wind and wave, and, like us, they are subject to their dictates. But, unlike us, they are not wholly dependent on them. To other boaters wind and wave are most often obstructions; to sailors they are sustenance.

Read more here

By |2012-01-20T11:39:21-08:00January 20th, 2012|Racing Skills|0 Comments

Three Simple Go-Fast Rules

From Sailing World for the last scheduled PTSA race of 2011.

by Steve Hunt

It’s easy to overcomplicate sailing, because it can be a pretty complex sport if you want it to be. That’s why, come race day, I stick to a few simple rules that keep me focused on the things that really matter. I have three rules that have never failed me, and I continually drill them into the young minds of the Point Loma High School sailing team. And if the rules can work for a bunch of fast-sailing teenagers, then they ought to work for you, too, right? Let’s review them one at time.

You can read the entire post here.

By |2011-10-19T14:03:58-07:00October 19th, 2011|Racing Skills|0 Comments

Getting a Handle on Mainsail Twist

Lifted from mysailing.com.au written by Dave Flynn of Quantum Sails.

The mainsail trimmer on Fez has depowered the main to cope with a sudden gust of wind. By including a more mainsail twist, the boat remains upright and sails faster.

Technically, twist is “the change in the angle of attack from the bottom of the sail to the top.”

Twist is necessitated by the changing speed of the wind, hence changing angle relative to the boat, as you move away from the water. The drag induced by the water slows the wind near the surface, shifting it relatively further forward by comparison with the faster flowing wind further aloft. This effect is exaggerated at lower wind speeds.

In the real world, it means that the leech of a sail must open up to some degree as we move from bottom to top.

In mechanical terms any time the aft end of the boom is allowed to rise, (easing the mainsheet or boomvang), twist is increased. The same length of fabric is now strung between two points that are closer together, so the leech of the sail opens up. Conversely, pull down on the clew and twist is reduced, closing off and rounding up the leech. A tight, round leech creates power and forces the boat to point, but can also cause airflow to stall, or overpower the boat (create too much helm and heel). A twisted leech profile promotes airflow in light air when it is hard to get air to stay attached, and in heavy air the flatter, more open sections depower the sail and help keep the boat on its feet.

On all boats, but particularly on the new breed of fast sailboats which often rely on bigger mainsails and smaller foretriangles, having the right amount of mainsail twist for the conditions is perhaps the single biggest key to upwind boatspeed. A competent mainsail trimmer can get you in the ballpark, but the true boatspeed virtuoso understands, feels, and can implement the changes on a moment-to-moment basis that make the difference. In a very real sense, they are driving the boat as much as the helmsperson. That’s why you often see them hunched over, (usually directly in line with the view of the helmsperson), as they ply their trade. They are looking at the same inputs to guide their sense of feel and dictate the appropriate reaction: angle of heel, jib telltales, boatspeed, waves, and wind angle.

By |2010-10-07T08:24:39-07:00October 6th, 2010|Racing Skills|0 Comments

Audi MedCup – On board Luna Rossa – Barcellona

One of the fun things that’s been happening with sailing is the improvement in the video presentation of our sport. Here’s a great one, on board the Italian TP52 Luna Rossa at the Med Cup in Barcelona. Lots of great stuff to see and enjoy, or as we say on the Bay, “L’ultima regata della tappa catalana dell’Audi MedCup, vista da bordo di Luna…” Thanks to Zerogradinord.it. who put it on YouTube here.

By |2010-08-01T10:06:44-07:00July 30th, 2010|Racing Skills|0 Comments

When the Going Gets Light…

A light air nightLast night the forecast strong “dinner winds” never appeared. Instead, the southerly stayed for awhile, wandered away for a bit as the westerly paid a visit, then came back, then left again. It was one of those nights. Through it all the flood roared. If you were going into it, you were parked while 100 feet away a boat was happily being swept along in a small counter current river. Sometimes an idea worked, sometimes it didn’t. One minute the goat, the next the wisest of old salts.

What did pay off in the end was staying with it. Vivace crossed the line first after heading off into what looked like no wind and the seemingly unfavored boat end of the line. Congratulations to them for solving an interesting – and a little bewildering – night on the Bay.

While we wait for the results, an article on racing in light air by Greg Fisher.

By Greg Fisher

Light-air racing presents more than its share of frustrating moments, but it also provides more than the usual number of chances to get ahead of the fleet. A well-sailed boat can develop a great speed advantage; at times it can go literally twice as fast as its competitors – so it is not unusual to see the largest race-winning leads developed in the lightest of conditions. With good preparation and the ability to make your boat go fast in the smallest of zephyrs, you can put yourself in a position to take advantage of the abundant opportunities on a light-air race course.


By |2010-07-17T08:06:28-07:00July 17th, 2010|Racing on the Bay|0 Comments