The thing about Sailing that I am continually blown away by is how many people are willing to give up their own time and to share their knowledge. Neil is the tactician on DJ, has tons & years of experience and quite rightly (along with Robert the Skipper), wants us winning 🙂 As the dynamics have changed on DJ in the last year, Neil suggested that we have a theory class one night. He asked us all to have a think about things we’d like to chat about – honestly, I wasn’t sure where to start!! I know there’s more I don’t know than what I do know… if that makes sense?
We covered a lot in a few hours, so I’ll try to summarise high level what we covered:-
Sails – Laying them below in the order you will need them. Of course to do THAT, you also have to know the course 😉 Talk about the weather & wind to figure out what sails you will need – again you need to know the course. Trimming the sails – keep an eye on the tell tales, they all need to be flying horizontally. If the top one is lifting, it’s not right – cars may need to be moved forward. Hiking – usually on DJ we need to be at the fattest part of the boat, and if we’re sailing deep we need to be hiking on the other side. Neil got pretty technical using a model boat as a demo with the Main & backstay stuff – not yet fully sunk in (also possibly because that’s not a role I’ve been exposed to) BUT, something I’m reading up about (Sail & Rig Tuning – Ivan Dedekan), I’m hoping a few passes of that, a few more days out on the boat, will help it all sink in. Will probably invest in the North Sails Trim book too 🙂 Chatted reasonable amount about the kite – YAY, and about what one we can use in what weather (I may start playing a guessing game with myself as to what one’s we’ll take out!!). I guess the two really important things I took away from the night – was communication, between everyone but key to the Skipper & Tactician (esp if flying the kite!), being aware of the course you’re sailing and of course rules of the race!!
We covered so much, it’s hard to really get across – and I’ve probably done Neil’s lesson a disservice. It was a brilliant night – fingers crossed we can persuade him to do more 🙂