Thursday, November 10, 2016

Columbia YC Regatta -- 11/05-11/06

Hi all,

The opti race team competed at Columbia YC this past weekend -- the last regatta of the season for most. 

Some of the sailors were disappointed with their final results; however, I want to remind you that progress is not perfection. I saw an improvement with each and every sailor, whether that was on the starting line, leeward mark roundings, fleet management, or boat speed! It's so easy to get caught up with numbers and results, but it's important to establish mini goals. This will help establish a sense of accomplishment (which is typically harder to see/feel within yourself). 

This was a tricky venue, but fun! On both days, the puffs were clearly visible on the water, and we were working on thinking two steps ahead. 

  1.  The line was SO short -- which means we have to be earlier and more aggressive! 
  2. Being a Shark vs. Minnow -- Minnows set up on the line earlier, and have a “home”— They protect their spot/hole from the sharks. Sharks come in later and try to steal the minnow’s hole. Think about times in which you may want to be a shark vs. minnow. Maybe the fleet is more aggressive. Maybe the fleet is setting up too late and you have to be a minnow.
  3. With persistent right shifts, we needed to be able to stay on starboard after go. Meaning, we had to really focus on being in that first row, and maintaining our point, proper sail trim, and boat speed up for that first 30 seconds-1minute
  4. With persistent left shifts, we needed to plan ahead for the ability to tack right off of the line. On Sunday, sailors could not even make the pin from the boat, meaning HUGE lefty and not a square line. Instead of having a hole to leeward, we want to create our hole to windward! We got better with this as the day went on. I found that sailors were tacking onto port too late, and would wait for ‘go.’ Jump the gun, and get up to the line on port, since you know people won’t be able to call starboard on you! They won’t be able to reach you. Be smart about this though. 

  1. The race course was also extremely short — 1st race lasted 6 minutes long.... This means that we have to begin thinking about our approach to the windward mark sooner. 
  2. Questions to ask yourself: 
    1. Is it too risky to come in on the port lay line?
    2. How can I position myself on starboard lay line to pick up one or two boats?
    3. Which side of the top of the course has more pressure? What can I use to bring me across the middle (is there a big puff I can connect to? or am I in the biggest shift right now?
  3. On Sunday with the persistent left shift, you have to ask yourself how you can get over to the mark which is now over to your left (since you all paraded out on port from the starting line). Think about taking any little shift over to the other side or pressure! Find the pressure! 

  • You should know if you are going to hold on starboard after the windward mark, or if you will have to gybe onto port right around the mark. 
  • Because the course was so skewed, we needed to recognize that early gybe around the mark was KEY!!! I saw people holding on starboard for too long, then having to reach up to the mark, giving boats inside overlap, and causing our sailors to round on the outside of the pin wheel. Not good… 
  • On such a short course, you have to fight for the inside at the leeward mark. That means, protecting the boats behind you, but also recognizing that you can pick up a few boats ahead of you by “jumping" them to the zone. Work hard to get inside overlap (all you need is a bit of overlap with their rudder and you are golden). 

Second upwind:
  • Be careful tacking early around the mark if there is still a fleet of boats coming downwind. Remember that light breeze goes around the fleet (towards the edges of the race course).
  • Be patient! Many sailors got anxious on the second upwind and starting tacking too much! I saw this quite frequently between the boats in 1st and 2nd. You have to trust that you are smart. You have to try to outsmart the other boat. If they tack before the puff, and they are not getting the max pressure of the puff, just extend into the puff to reach that max pressure. 
  • When I’m in this position (battling it out with another boat regardless of which place you are in), I think — is there something that the other boat is not doing that I can do better? Are their tacks slow/bad where I can engage him in a tacking duel and beat him off of boat handling? Is he extending out to the wrong side of the race course? Is he tacking shy of the puffs and not digging into them? Or, do I have to forget about this boat and just protect my position within the rest of the fleet? 

Last downwind: 
  • With the finish line to the right of the race committee boat, that early gybe is key. Let’s recognize this before the race even starts! 
  • We still need to work on consistent windward heel on the downwinds… perhaps we just need to eat more burgers :) 

Thank you for such a great season, and for inviting me to join you all this fall. Looking forward to working with you at Midwinters! Please let me know if you have any further questions. 

-Katia DaSilva

CYC Opti Team Gets Top Results at Consecutive Regattas!

Halloween Spectacular Regatta at Lake Forest

October 29-30th was the Halloween Spectacular regatta hosted by Lake Forest. CYC had the largest Opti participation with 7 of our newest Lime sailors sailing in Green fleet and 8 of our Championship sailors competing in Red White and Blue Fleet.

Amy Kehoe coached the Green team and it was many of the sailors first regatta. The kids had a blast (all left with smiles) and did a great job!

Katia DaSilva and Julia Melton coached the Championship fleet. Peter Barnard was the 1st overall, Christian Prendergast was 5th overall, and Dina Fedulova placed 3rd in white fleet. All of our sailors improved throughout the weekend. Way to go sailors!

Lake Forest post (23).jpg

Shepherd's Regatta at Columbia Yacht Club

On November 5-6 the Opti team traveled to Monroe Harbor for the Shepherds regatta hosted by Columbia YC.

The conditions on Saturday were light, shifty and variable winds from the west. Sunday conditions were light and shifty, but slightly more consistent breeze coming from the east.

The Race Committee raced both fleets on the same course, which made it challenging to stay in clear air and avoid other boats around the course. The kids did an outstanding job-check out the results below!

Championship Fleet (R,W,B)
1st Peter Barnard
2nd Christian Predergast
4 Annie Samis
5th Parker Rasmussen
8th Deana Fedulova
9th Jack Baldwin
10th Emilia Rose
11th Avery Baldwin
12 Cali Frerker
Green Fleet
4th Charlie Dishchner
5th Spencer von Peterffy
6th Cate Baldwin
9th Grace Renz

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Halloween Regatta Debrief -- RWB

Hi! Here are my thoughts on this past weekend's regatta. Everyone sailed exceptionally well -- even though many were upset with their end results... It seemed like a perfect weekend to practice our 'focus words,' too! 

  • We seemed to be getting mixed into the pack. To avoid this, we need to work on finding a rhythm during the set up/prestart. I personally like starting with a port approach so that I can see how the fleet is setting up. 
    • Questions to ask yourself during your approach:
      • Are people setting up early? late? on time? 
      • Quickly remind yourself -- What is the current doing? Are there waves pushing people down opening up the boat ? Will I have to accelerate earlier (in light air) or can i accelerate a bit later  (in heavy air)? But, how about waves?
      • Do I want to hold on starboard after the start (as was the case on Saturday with the lighter air and the persistent right shift) or do I have to be able to tack out onto port (as was the case on Sunday afternoon with the persistent lefty)? 
  • Starting line priorities: 1. Be front row 2. Be full speed at go 3. Be on the proper side
    • For now, we are practicing 1 and 2
  • Key points about starts: 
    • Don't be in the pack
    • When the boats around you start accelerating, you should be too -- listen for the ratchet clicks!!!
    • The most important time (I believe) of a race is right after the gun at go -- focus on your sail trim/tell tales/ boat speed to punch out. This will make your life much SO much easier

  • Too many people were sitting in dirty air off of the starting line (TIME IS MONEY!)
  • In lighter air, extend to a side. In heavy air, you can make the middle work better
  • Again, focus on boat speed for that first 30 seconds - 1 minute after go. Make it perfect...
  • There are different types of puffs (we can talk about this later). Questions to ask -- can I tack on the edge of the puff to get the shift or do I have to sail in it/dig, to get more of the shift?
  • We need to start thinking about your approach to the windward mark earlier. Anticipate the 'opti train' on the starboard lay line. Think: How can I catch one or two boats on the top 1/5 of the upwind. Can I get one of them by calling starboard on them (i.e. through a starboard/port)? 

  • Keep trying to maintain constant windward heel
    • heel = higher sail = more pressure (and less surface area in the water)
  • Before rounding the windward mark, you should know which side of the course has more pressure. That way you know whether you should hold on starboard or to gybe onto port — don’t just follow the leaders. Go towards darker water
  • Make sure you keep looking over your shoulder to see where the breeze is coming behind you! You were all tunnel vision forward, but the breeze is coming from behind you! 
  • Let's talk about S curves in breeze and how to get on a wave/surf/stay on the wave. Great attempts for pumping and surfing on Sunday though! That was really fun to see. 

  • This upwind is more about risk/fleet management. If you are in the back, and need to gain many boats take a bigger risk. How? Leverage. Going further out to the side will give you leverage. More leverage, more risk, so you can gain/lose more boats. 
    • e.g. if you bang the right corner and have good boat speed, you will either win by a mile or lose by a mile. 
  • If you want to protect your position (say you are in the top 5), K.I.S.S. — keep it SO simple. Just protect from the 'middle'. Don’t take risks banging corners. If people are gaining/catching up to you on a certain side, protect more on that side. Don't give them leverage. You become like a basketball defender -- stay in between your opponent and the 'basket' or in this case, the mark. 
  • You all can find a nice balance between taking risks and keeping it conservative. Just make sure you know what your goals are first. 
    • These goals also change throughout the course of the regatta (as they do during a race) -- do we play it more conservative Saturday morning and take bigger risks on Sunday afternoon or can we just go for it from the beginning and play it conservatively if we are ahead? This is something you can talk to us about. 

Lastly, ALWAYS say thank you to the race committee after every race. You never know when they will give you a little favor later on…

Side notes: bring more gear, food and water! Prepare for all weather while packing your bag. I always bring extra fleeces, pants, etc. just in case. No excuse to be cold, tired, or hungry :) 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Shepherd Regatta Nov 5-6

RWB Opti Team,

We have practice on Wed Nov 2nd. Practice will run from 4-6pm we will review video from the regatta last weekend.

This weekend is the Shepherd Championship regatta hosted by Columbia YC!

Ø  If your boat is currently on the Opti trailer and you are not planning to sail in the regatta this weekend, please unload your boat by Thursday 9am. Let me know if you need help unloading, I will be around all week.

Ø  If you are planning to sail in the regatta this weekend, please be sure to do the following:

o   Let us know you are going by signing up for the regatta on the Opti Blog. We need a headcount to plan for the weekend, so please sign up by 9am on Thursday.

o   Please read the NOR attached for more details. Entry forms are also included in this document. You can fill out and send to or you can register at the venue on Saturday morning. The regatta fee is $10. Sailors need to provide their own lunch and bring refillable water bottles.

o   The plan is to tow the Opti trailer on Saturday morning and unload during the  designated time below. We are unable to leave our trailer there during the event so it might be easiest to come back by water on Sunday.

o   Schedule:

Saturday, Nov 5

9-9:15am Unload Opti Trailer

9am Registration Opens

9:55am Rigged and Ready

10am Skippers Meeting

10:15am Team Meetings

11am First Warning

Sunday, Nov 6th

9:55 Rigged and Ready

10am Skippers Meeting

10:15 Team Meetings

11am First Warning

Ø  We will be loading the Opti trailer for USODA Midwinters/ Orange Bowl at 4pm on November 16th (before the scheduled racing rules talk from 4:30-6pm).

Let me know if you have any questions!

Julia Melton | Sailing School Director