Dienstag, Mai 13, 2008

Shifting Gears - The Group Writing Project

Tillerman from the "Propercourse" blogsite called for a group project and I felt obliged to contribute. A good day last week as I was homebound with a cold. Otherwise, I think I would have liked to go out for more learning experiences and finding out about them in my latest love for speed sailing. The Foiler Moth. The Bladerider. OK, now you are already informed that this is not about cars and shifting into sixth gear on the German Autobahn. No, it is about sailing and the importance about "shifting gears". Many of you might have read about it in the "thousand books" about sailing. It is the importance of getting your boat going. No matter what kind of boat. If you stuck your boat into a big wave, if you bring her to a halt during a tack, you need to start in the lowest gear possible. Otherwise she won´t go where you want her. This is the experience which I made through my keel boat days. And there are mainly 4 ropes responsible other than the all important sheets. On my keelboats the OUTHAUL together with the CUNNINGHAM always played an important role and than the BOOMVANG. And the BACKSTAY. OK, if you forgot about the VANG, to ease before a windward mark rounding, it is possible to break your boom. All this I seem to have inhaled well and it sticks in my memory.

Last weekend, going racing with the Foiler Moth I made the experience with myself that I did not even think about the above. The basics in sailing. There was real light wind at the start of the series, lot´s of wrinkles in the luff and the sail as deep as possible to get me going. OK, I played a little with the downhaul (CUNNINGhAM) which has an 8:1 purchase. But not really enough as I should have done. When the wind picked up later and I got up on the foils, more than doubling the speed, I kept going with the same profile, I was up in the air, so exited that I did not have a disadvantage against the top sailors in the class due to weight or other issues... I was inhaling the thrill holding my breath and trying to keep her going on the foils. Racing in a new class. New mates. Than the other boats kept moving away from me. Going faster and faster. At the end one or two guys lapped me. I was puzzled. Could not get to grips with it. Asked around in the evening how about them doubling their speed again when already foiling. Carlo said to me more or less: You must shift gear! "Du musst Dein Segel anpassen..." it struck me only than. Yes, I had forgotten the basics. If I go racing, there is no excuse not to built on your experience. All you have learnt is counting on whatever boat you are sailing with. You have to use it. I will make a note on my boom. Next to the LiveSailDie sticker. livesaildie.com/

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