North Sails NEWS

April 24, 2019

ROAD TO THE J/111 WORLDS: ESTABLISH THE PLAN

Preparing For The Season

Team Velocity powered by North Sails
In the first article in a three-part series, North Sails expert Allan Terhune describes what Team Velocity will work on over the course of the season to peak at the J/111 Worlds in August.

Based in Annapolis, Md., Marty Roesch’s J/111 Velocity has been an active and successful class competitor since the class got underway half a dozen years ago. In 2018, the team scored a first-place finish at the Annapolis NOOD and in 2017, the Chicago YC Race to Mackinac and Chicago NOOD. Although Velocity has regularly competed at the class world championships, podium finishes have eluded us (I joined the team last season). Our goal for 2019 is to stand on the podium at the end of the Worlds, which will be in Chicago, August 19-23. We’d like to win, but in my experience, if you sail well enough to get onto the podium, you have a chance to win if things break your way. The goal is always to have a chance to win with a race or two to go and then let the chips fall where they may.

What are the team’s priorities?

First priority is to get squared away on our tuning and sail set-up. The class has recently shifted away from using jibs that are tacked to a roller furler, and now they are tacked on the deck. This is the first year for that in the U.S., so we’re installing a new headstay and setting up new jibs to this configuration. Learning how the sails trim and what tuning changes are needed are priority #1. Without speed, it will be impossible to place well at any event.

The class has recently shifted away from using jibs that are tacked to a roller furler, and now they are tacked on the deck.  Learning how the sails trim and what tuning changes are needed are priority #1.

Next priority is to work out how to maximize sailing time for the whole crew and lay out a schedule so we peak at the right time. Rather than focus on results at each event, we’ll set goals for each regatta and measure ourselves against them. Again, it’s a season-long build-up to the Worlds.

The final priority is to consistently evaluate performance to identify weaknesses. We need to plan how each event will be a chance to work on correcting some of these weaknesses.

What do you focus on first?

Establish a schedule that the entire crew could agree on! That was our top priority, and as of late March, that’s done. We leaned toward one-design regattas where possible and are pacing ourselves so we don’t peak too soon or burn out. Our whole team lives locally, and we’ve begun having regular crew meetings, looking at the goals for each event, and giving each crew a chance to own their area of the boat, as well as the team’s goals.

May – Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta (Annapolis, Md.)
June/July – Chesapeake Bay Racing
August – Pre-World Tuneup (Verve Cup)
August – World Championship (Chicago)

What are your goals for the Annapolis NOOD?

We expect to have eight J/111s at this regatta. We have a good local fleet and should be able to sail a couple Wednesday night races and a day of practice beforehand. Our goal is to get our tuning right with the new headstay, learn how our jibs should be flown and trimmed, and identify boat handling weaknesses in all maneuvers including starting and steering. Of course, we want to do our best, but we will be focusing on long-term goals as well as short-term regatta results.

As a foundation for this, we’ll do debriefs every day. To get better as a team, it’s important everyone has a voice and provides input on what they’re seeing. The debrief is paramount to learning as a team and taking steps forward after each day.

What are your goals in June and July?

In the J/111 Class, we have only three sail buttons for new sail purchases, and new jibs are required for the new headstay. The new sails are North’s 3Di, they will last longer than our competitors. This will give us a leg up on being able to sail with the sails a little more and get our settings in a place where we are comfortable with them.

Our June races are in mixed fleets so we won’t be doing closed-course one-design racing and it will be nothing like the Worlds, which will have 25 or more boats on the racecourse. However, the racing will be a great opportunity to perfect our ability to get around the corners. At the Worlds, great boat handling is an absolute must.

The new sails are North’s 3Di, they will last longer than our competitors. This will give us a leg up on being able to sail with the sails a little more and get our settings in a place where we are comfortable with them.

This is also when we’re pacing ourselves and not overdoing it. Early in the season, everyone is enthusiastic but if we push too hard we risk burn-out. One good regatta a month, or a couple of one-day races in June, with a practice or two sprinkled in, should be about right.

What are your plans for the Pre-Worlds and Worlds?

The Pre-Worlds Regatta, part of the Verve Cup Offshore Regatta is right before the Worlds, so our plan is to treat it just like the Worlds and go as hard as we can, developing our game plan. Our goal is to podium for the event and leave it feeling good with all our sails and mechanics ready for the Worlds.

How do you build team connections throughout the season?

We have a team group on the chat app WhatsApp. Our discussions are not always sailing related, and I view that as a good bonding thing for us. I know we also stay together as a group after Wed night racing and other events.

We also started talking about our team weights and where we need to be for the event. It is better to know the goals now with 4 months to go versus trying to do it last minute. The goal is to be on weight, strong and ready for the event, and not have this be a stress point.

Learn more about North’s products for the J/111 Class.