Orange Bowl is one of the most competitive c420 regattas on the circuit and considering the challenging conditions this past year, and our the team’s limited time in the boat, the level of competition was really high and we performed really well!
That this was the third regatta that my skipper and crew had every sailed together, considering that they proved great skills at communication and teamsmanship in the boat. HOWEVER, in a two person boat every day should be an opportunity to better communication.
There will be a time when movements and adjustments in the boat become intuitive and the skipper and crew may be able to communicate with a few efficient words, until then talk-talk-talk (about the racing, of course). TRUST each others skills, smarts, and opinions. Two heads are better than one and while you’re sharing responsibilities in racing the boat you must also share the decision making process.
Big Things To Work On- Crew:
-Confidence on the trapeze. The more time you spend on the wire the more “at home” you’ll feel out there. And the better your skipper will be at balancing the boat for you.
-Flying at trimming the spinnaker, this comes with time and experience- lots of hours in all sorts of conditions. The good news is, you get better every day with the kite in your hands. Your hands, eyes, and body will continue to become more sensitive to each flicker and inflation of the spinnaker. Until then, hyper-focus is critical.
-Communication: both skipper & crew are smart and knowledgeable, capable of making good racing decisions. As I mentioned, its important to share those thoughts with your teammate, so the team can make the best choices for your boat. Consider each teammate’s perspective in the boat: (A) the skipper has the best position to push the boat to optimal VMG, constantly trimming the main sheet and helm. (B) the crew has the vantage of being positioned 4-5 feet outside of the boat, watching the other boats, position of mark, wind on the water.
-Speed and Efficiency with sets and douses. Practice makes perfect and repetition is the only way to master these skills so you don’t waste or give away any time/speed around marks. Ask yourself this question, how many touches/seconds/boat lengths did it take to set/douse/set the pole?
Big Things To Work On- Skipper:
-Fleet Management. Making good choices of (1) when to cover, (2) when to separate from competitors to go for speed, and (3) how to pick off boats. This comes with time and lots of racing experience. You will get better every race if you reflect on specific situations and boat-to-boat decisions; consider how they affected your race.
-Intensity- Roll tacks, sets, and Jibes. During practice, races, and free sailing always give 100% on these maneuvers so that you can instinctively give 100%.
-Balance & Body Position: This is important no matter what the wind is doing. You know where to sit, don’t get lazy – always ask yourself “what can I do to go faster?”
-Sets: practice, practice, practice: quick pulls to get the kite up and then sit quickly to get weight forward. Here’s a great video of the Men’s 470 at the Worlds in Santandar. Check out their sets.
Next year for OB, keep your sights on a top 10 finish in Gold Fleet. That will motivate you to work hard throughout the year. Take that goal into your boat everyday.