It's great to see more video's to critique, specially of a sailor who has as much experience as and club racing success as Mark Harper. I know that many experienced successful sailors find it hard to change their habits and would never even consider taking a look at their style in this much detail, so its refreshing to see someone of Mark's experience eager to see if I can find something that could unlock yet more speed around the course.
11 seconds. Opps - a rudder push to initiate a tack. I'll rewind to check there was not some extra sheet tension. At 9 seconds Mark is responding to a header - the boat is starting to heel to windward and he is bearing away to follow the shift. But at 10 seconds the boat is still heeling more to windward and Mark opts for this tack. Remember that the tack is more efficient if you can build up the angular momentum in the tack. Slightly oversheet, move the weight in to re correct the boat balance as the boat is turning towards the wind without rudder action - then when (and only when) the luff starts to head then re move the body back to windward to reduce the angular momentum in the turn and accelerate the turn of the boat - without the use of the rudder. This method gives more windward glide (cheating the wind as the boat spends more time pointing at the wind) and is highly effective. Checkout the Boat Whisperer Upwind DVD
for a more comprehensive explanation.
36 seconds. Sail shape options: I prefer to use the traveller in the Solo rather than the vang which enables me to control the upper leach of the sail for power and twist. I notice that your small adjustments of sheet makes the boom move too much (IMHO). If these sheet movements were put through the traveller - you would be controlling the camber and twist instead. So if you got a header - then I would sheet in to flatten the sail - (this helps to keep the boat moving and stops the sail luff from stalling in the header) and the closing of the leach will also help reduce the windward heeling effect of the header. However, this does not last forever - as the leach will begin to stall - so you will have to be more active to correct for the header with your weight and then re ease the sheet. I think this method works more effectively and helps to reduce unnecessary rudder movements and also helps to keep the trim of the boat more consistent.
56 seconds - you got a huge header! The luff of the sail is now backed. So any movement to windward will help waft the boat round head to wind (as the front of the sail is not working) which should reduce the amount of rudder you need. Take a look at me sailing the RS300 - without the extension (at the bottom of this blog) - all of this tack is weight and sail induced - no requirement for the rudder to push the boat round - which makes it smoother and faster into the tack (more time head to wind with speed).
1: 23 - nice work with this progressive header - working your weight into the boat.
1: 29 - no glide again to head to wind.
2:05 - boat nicely trimmed - very upright. :)
2:21 - I guess this was a training situation, but in your concentration, I have noticed that you have not looked upwind to second guess the next bit of pressure or shift. (good explanaiton of this on the Boat Whisperer Tacktics DVD
2:23 - opps - I should have mentioned the benefit of the frying pan handle style for light wind sailing. When you are in the boat like you are now - you would have a better independent body and tiller movement if you changed from dagger grip to frying pan handle grip - taking the extension to your side. Its really effective and gives you more freedom to move into the boat should you experience a header or less wind - either way your movement would help the glide for a tack or to keep the boat on its feet.
3:59 - you had not let out enough sheet - so the use of the rudder took the boom to the water too much (an indication that the boat is not heeled to windward enough) - which would have slowed the bear away as it becomes a sinking bear away not a lifting bear away. Better explained on the Boat Whisperer Downwind DVD.
4:19 - nice kiting trim to balance the boat downwind.
5:00 Presumably you are sailing by the lee now - as your luff tell tails appear to be going from left to right. I think you could work more on the easing of the sail with a hard stop to induce the upper leach waft that works well in these conditions and its less easy to spot and more effective than the pull in. (by the lee easing = pulling the sail in)
If you can take all these points on, I can't see the Solo fleet at Chichester getting anywhere near you this season.
Steve's tack in an RS300 - no push because there's no extension!