The 2023 Train Wreck was Melges MC Racing at its best! Seven races over three days with fantastic conditions of up to 17mph. Nearly 60 Melges MCs from around the country convened on Lake Eustis for a great weekend.
What was fast?
Start in the Wind
It sounds simple, but it’s not when you consider you have almost 60 boats and a big starting line. In all 7 races, the wind was streaky and you had the opportunity to place your boat in the breeze – you just needed to be aggressive in doing so. So many competitors wondered how I had a big jump off the line. I would pick the favored end and then start nearby depending on where the wind was. I looked up the lake and determined where the wind would be at the start gun. Being in pressure off the line ensures a good start so long as you are in the front row.
Dark Water, Lifted Tack
Position your boat in the wind and then sail the lifted angle. In other words, sail to the wind, get in it, and then sail the lifted tack. You do need to get into the pressure before you tack if needed. The conditions again were so streaky, which provided opportunity for boats all across the course so long as they sailed the lift and not the header through the breeze.
Trim and Hike for Pointing, Ease and Foot for Speed
Whenever you needed to point, you could trim harder, hike harder, and go faster in that scenario. Oftentimes, you could sail over people by sailing in this mode. Trim hard, hike hard.
When you had room to go fast you could drop the traveler, vang on, and ease the main in order to foot to the next line of breeze or the next shift. Know your mode and how to achieve it.
Day 1: Power Needed
In the real light air of Day One, you needed power to go fast. Vang off, traveler centered, cunningham off, outhaul eased, boards all the way down. Don’t pinch, and make your boat go fast.
Days 2-3: De-Power
We had plenty of wind for the next two days of the regatta. To go fast in the breezy conditions, start with your boards up 1” – this helps with helm. Then it is cunningham on, vang on, traveler down 4”, outhaul on hard, and HIKE! When you apply these sail controls, the MC is pretty easy to settle down and allows the boat to go fast through the water. Adjust as needed, though.
When going through periods of lighter wind, I use this sequence to power back up:
1. Traveler Up.
2. Cunningham Off.
3. Vang Eased.
Work the boat and anticipate the wind.
This content was originally published on Melges.