Another Boat Whisperer Critique and this time it's Mark Riddington with his crew Claire in an RS200. They have been practicing for about a year and Mark says that they are ready to compete in some South Coast events next season. If everyone waited until they were as good as you, Mark and Claire, then there wouldn't be anyone at the open meeting. Let's take a look at your video. I was viewing it whilst I also had Mark to chat to on Apple Messages, so you can see our discussion which I think adds to the critique.
Start: Nice leeward heel to instigate the leeward mark turn. 0.46: Nice trim upwind, great windward heel. That must take some time to convince the crew that the boat is OK heeled to windward but some great RS300 style heel.
I was going to say just that, I can't get out of the habit of heeling to windward. No problem if you don't think the footage is up to it, I'm working on a mount for the transom of the boat.
It would be good to see the jib and see how you are steering, but we can learn lots from this position too. 0.48: I am suprised to see the main off the centreline, it must have been windy.
Wind with tide in the Itchenor channel, 18-22 knots but the water state was fine.
02.25: First tack - Claire moves across a little too soon. She needs to move to the inner part of the circle a little more, although in 22knts I should not complain and I think you (Mark) need to let the sail out as you come out of the tack, then snatch in as you get the boat back to upright.
You are right about the tacks and pinning the main, I hadn't picked up on that.
04.04: Nice bear away and hoist. Yes it is quite windy, it's also great to see the teamwork. You must be proud of where you have got in a short period of time. Great crew, great crew work.
04.43: Do I see a nice foot instigated gybe, Mark? Nice gybe, although I sense if Claire stayed a little more to windward on the way into the gybe, your turn would be faster and the boat would spin round making your eventual gybe less stressful. Currently Claire is anticipating the gybe so is moving across a little too early which makes the gybe feel more like a 2 sail gybe. Sarah and I went through that learning curve last year. Eventually when she stood up on the rack into the gybe and then kicked off as we bore away, we really started to make gains downwind in our Rooster 4000.
I should say again that I love your foot instigated gybe, it reminds me of the RS300 and it makes up for the weight issues a little.
The 300 is a good tutor.
10.31: Just before the gybe you got wrong, the boat is heeled to leeward and the crew is to leeward too. It's not going to make it a fast bear away.
You did give the mainsheet a good pull and your hand slipped off the strop, but I think that was because there was an unusual amount of load on the sheet. The boat had not turned enough due to the earlier leeward heel and you were in a rudder over leeward heel type of gybe. The mainsheet loads increase lots with this type of gybe. Sometimes it's better to wait for the right moment. In the 4000 I would rather be a little late on the gybe than rush it and swim. If the gybe was more weight induced, you would have found that the boat would have travelled further round and the sheet loads would have been zero as you could have started to reverse your rudder mid gybe. I imagine you already know this from the Boat Whisperer Downwind DVD.
I suggest you keep encouraging Claire to use her weight to control the speed of the gybe. Further to leeward, the slower the pace of the gybe and the more likely you are to swim. The more heeled to windward, the faster and easier the gybe and the boat will plane around much more quickly and you will gain loads of speed in the gybe to boot.
Have you changed your toestraps Mark?
Yes I take the crews toestrap off the front kicker take off. I looked at your blog and we have done all the tweaks.
Great. I just love sailing with my wife, for me its the journey, learning and improving together. It's obvious you are enjoying your journey. Good luck to both of you.
So if you want a critique - please send me your youtube link to steve at rooster sailing dot com.