J/70 MRA Series 2 Day 2 Recap
Written by Daan Goedkoop
July conditions have rolled in with lighter winds and heat. We motored out the Tinkers as soft 7-9 knot South East breeze was edging its way towards us. The race committee postponed us for only one half hour and a sequence was quickly initiated after the wind filled.
In the first race, we had a marginal start. The fleet raced toward the left side and we tacked off to find more strength. This initially paid but the left top ended up marginalizing our initial gains. Not many positions changed on the first downwind leg. On the second beat, we went left early while the majority went right with Rhodes 19s in the middle. But the left ended up paying big dividends with more wind strength. We rounded the windward mark in first and held that position to the finish.
In the second race, we had a better start being second from the pin. VitaminJ totally killed it winning the pin and leveraging up on the fleet. We stuck left while VitaminJ tacked to port to cover the fleet. VitaminJ rounded first, with us in second, and Shred and Chinook in third and fourth. After rounding the leeward mark, we tacked away leaving Shred and Chinook uncovered. VitaminJ tacked with us, and Shred and Chinook capitalized right top wind strength. Shred and VitaminJ rounded first and second around the windward mark. We pushed on Chinook on the downwind leg waiting to jibe on their jibe to port. Chinook waited until they were close to the layline leaving them with less options and as we jibed on their breeze, we took third place.
The third race was a speed race to the left. We started as left most boat and VitaminJ was on our windward hip. VitaminJ tacked to cover the fleet from the left and we tacked well before the layline to keep our door open if VitaminJ were to return to cover. They did come back on us and put on hard cover protecting the right and the favored tack to the mark, which was a perfectly rational call. However, we tacked back left to the layline and found more breeze, requiring backstay to keep the boat upright. Perhaps a softer cover would have worked better for VitaminJ. We rounded the windward mark in first with VitaminJ in second. The only downwind A course leg was port favored so we jibed as soon as our chute was fully deployed.
• In lighter conditions, finding pressure on the favored side of the course trumps most other factors (current, wind angle, waves conditions, even fleet traffic or marginal bad air)
• During the start, a last minute dip to avoid being over too early and our subsequent head up causes the boat to slide to leeward giving it a very weak “takeoff” due to poor turn transition. This puts us in a weaker position on the boats to our leeward and ultimately reduces our first beat options
• Use observable data to support your decisions; do not assume prior experience of success is necessarily repeatable: in the second race at the bottom of the second beat, we made a mistake trying to repeat our prior race’s 2nd beat left side success by tacking away from two covered boats and away from underneath a road block of upwind sailing Rhodes 19s
• Multi-fleet traffic can distract you from developing the next leg macro picture; it also makes our game inherently more of a gamble as less options are available if new data is observed
• Jibing early in races 1 and 2 never paid due to the “cone of death” and weaker geographic wind strength. Downwind wind strength softened on most legs the further down we got, and our apparent wind on port tack seemed to always move forward
• Stay vigilant on rig adjustments and pre-race game plan development as conditions change throughout the day. The last race of the day counts the same as the first
• Our rig was set one step below base in the first race and probably should have been two below base. We dropped it to two steps below base for races 2 and 3. We used a little backstay near the top of the beat of race 3.