Now that you have made your marks, set the rig at base, and begun building your tuning guide, it is time to record data and use it to perform better on the race course. Make sure you are recording data every time you go out for a practice sail or during each race. The more information you have across varying conditions, the clearer the big picture will become. During a race day, it is important to provide structure to your team. One great way to work on this is building a system for your pre-race tune-up. When the whole team knows what to expect, it will eliminate confusion and encourage participation from everyone. Use the playbook below to record your information and document your pre-race systems.
Before leaving the dock, take a moment to sit down with everyone in the cockpit. Make sure all necessary gear is onboard, discuss conditions for the day, and talk about team goals. As you get on the water, take a look at your tuning guide and make sure everyone is on the same page with settings for the conditions.
Once you get to the racing area, sail upwind as if you are racing and record your angles, target boat speed, and wind direction. Depending on what instruments you have, you can record other numbers as well such as tacking angle and heel angle. This is also a great time to get a feel for what the wind is doing. As you sail upwind, do you consistently get knocked heading to the left side of the course? Is the wind oscillating? Write all of this information down and take pictures of instruments and sails for more in-depth note taking later on.
When you are comfortable with your targets upwind, sail downwind and repeat the process. Record target boat speed and true wind angle. Be sure to do a few jibes to make sure everyone is warmed up –and make sure the kite is rigged correctly!
After warming up the team and recording your data, take a break close to the starting area and discuss how the boat was performing going upwind and downwind. Are you happy with the rig tune in these conditions? Do you like the cunningham, outhaul, boom vang, traveler, halyard tension, jib block position, etc? Refer to your tuning guide as needed and address any problems now before the race. When you are happy, begin your starting line homework, and gear up for a great race!
If you have any questions, please reach out to Wally Cross. Catch other episodes of System Sailing here and download the full System Sailing playbook here.
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