North Sails NEWS
Finger-lake sailing at its best!
Spending the weekend in a J/24 on one of the most beautiful finger lakes in upstate New York; Who could ask for anything more? Well, maybe the sleet and rain were a little more than one would ask for, but the racing was competitive, fun, and very tricky, making for a great experience for all 27 boats.
Teams arrived Saturday morning at beautiful Canandaigua Yacht Club for some good old fashioned lake sailing. Fully suited in fowlies, everyone was prepared for the unpredictable finger lakes for a test of skills, crew work, and most importantly, patience. There is something to be said about the one liner: “Wait for it…”, as conditions were more shifty, puffy, and challenging than most could imagine.
A post-race debrief with Mike Ingham from North Sails offered great insight on maintaining control of your own destiny in short course racing. Most importantly, teams were advised to keep the comms up when Mike said,
“We did better when we were all talking about it. I noticed when things got quiet onboard we didn’t do as well.”
This was true for all sailors in the fleet as staying focused and keeping track of what was going on could make or break your next race. As pressure moved in from the West, large puffs were coming in on both sides of the windward leg, making decisions at the start very important. One start in particular that Mike reflected on was where there was a huge lefty right which caused the entire fleet to tack right at the start, making the next decisions very crucial. Keeping your head out of the boat, looking for what pressure is coming down, but also making sure there was a future after the first move was very important. Shifts were big enough to lift you 15 degrees, and force an auto tack seconds later. In other cases it was better to follow the header down and determine if it was significant enough to tack in. There were also some major fluctuations in velocity, making it difficult to sort through whether a decrease in pressure was in fact a header as well.
Boat set up was important as you never wanted to be too tight or too loose, the default for most was to set up for the lulls. You could easily make the fine-tune adjustments and crew weight to get you through the puffs, as they were not steady throughout the race course.
Another thing that teams practiced diligently throughout the weekend was never giving up. One minute you could be looking great, the next not so much, but keeping your head out of the boat, looking for the next pressure line to come down, being patient, and having faith and trusting in what you know gave sailors the best shot of staying between their competitors and the mark.
Congrats to Andrew Carey and team ‘Mr. Hankey’ for winning the J-Daze Regatta, and thank you to the Canandaigua YC Race Committee and staff for your hospitality and support. This was a great regatta for the J/24 class!