LSC Crew Notes - May
Information for Crew Involved in Racing with
Members of the Lansing Sailing Club.
Thirteen Practiced in Five Boats Last Tuesday
We had five Lightnings on the water last Tuesday. It was an opportunity for
the 13 of us who participated to work on some specific skills. Read on for more
Practice Tuesday, June 3
Please feel welcome to join us for some practice next Tuesday - 6 PM to sundown.
It is helpful to email Pat Dolan, LSC's Crew Coordinator
ahead of time to let him know you are coming. This will help assure sufficient
boats will be available to accommodate those participating. You can just show
up - but no guarantees on whether there will be a spot for you. The goal is
to to provide a structured opportunity for crew and skippers to expand their
sailing skills. We will be doing this every Tuesday evening as long as there
is an interest. Only lightning and very high winds keep us off the water. Assume
we are practicing. If weather conditions are really bad, we have plenty of video
to watch and "chalk talks" ready.
Let Us Know What Interests You
If there are some specific things you want to practice, send a note to LSC's Crew Coordinator.
We are trying to tailor the sessions to those things crew and skippers tell
us they want to work on.
Stop and Go
Last Tuesday we worked some on "Stop and Go". Stopping the boat quickly,
mainly by backwinding the main - then getting the boat up to speed as fast as
possible. These skills are particularly important in the pre-start portion of
a race. A boat that is early want to slow down, or even stop and hold it's position.
Then, as the clock ticks down to the start, it is critical to get the boat up
to full speed quickly. Another place where knowing how to stop can be important
is when coming in to the dock. As a reminder, here are some of the keys to these
- When stopping the boat, the jib must luff and
the main must be pushed out aggressively so that the wind is hitting the wrong
side of the sail.
- If you don't want to stop completely, a crew
can adjust these actions to control the speed of the boat. For example, let
the jib luff, but keep just a little of the main full - or let the main luff
and keep the jib partially full - or let both sails be partially luffing.
As another example, the main can alternately be backwinded and filled.
- The skipper needs to keep the boat on a close
reaching course - even if the sails are luffing. If the boat is on a beam
reach, the main sail cannot be pushed out far enough to get wind on the back
side of it. If the boat is headed above a close hauled course, the crew loses
the ability to quickly fill the sails and get going again.
- Keeping the boat on a close hauled course with
the sails luffing is a possibility - but the boat will get back up to full
speed much more quickly if the boat is on a close reach.
- Smoothly trim the sails until they are full
to get the boat going back to full speed. The skipper might even put the boat
on a beam reach for a short period of time to build speed even more quickly.
Don't pull the sails all the way in to a close hauled course yet - trim to
gain speed on the reach first. Once speed is up, then come to a close hauled
Leeward Mark Roundings
We also worked on Leeward Mark roundings. The leeward mark rounding is one of
the most important boat handling skills to master. A skipper and crew can gain
a lot on other boats who don't do a good rounding. Here are some of the keys
we emphasized. Keep in mind that these keys do not consider other boats being
involved - we are just concerned about doing the best possible rounding without
other boats around to contest us. We are assuming the spinnaker is down. Also,
we are assuming that the mark will be on the port side of the boat during the
- Remember you are NOT TACKING around the mark
- you are simply going from a downwind course on port tack to a close hauled
course on port tack. You are not going "around" the mark - simply
going past it on your way to the next mark.
- Approach the mark wide. The skipper should aim
at an imaginary point about two or three boat lengths to the right of the
- The turn to the mark is timed so that the boat
is on a close hauled course when going past the mark - and close enough that
the crew can reach out and touch the mark.
- The turn needs to be done smoothly with very
little rudder movement. A sharp turn slows the boat. In a smooth turn the
boat gains speed.
- Heel the boat to leeward to help it turn.
- Smoothly trim the main to a close hauled position
to help turn the boat. There is a tendency to trim the main too slowly - or
to pull it in so fast that your movements bounce wind out of the sail. It
is very helpful if the middle crew member can trim the main during the rounding.
- As the boat begins turning toward the mark,
let the front half of the jib luff. If the jib is full it keeps the boat from
turning. Bring the jib in at a pace that is slightly slower than the main
so that less and less of the jib is luffing as the turn is completed. When
the boat gets to a closehauled course, the jib should be trimmed for closehauled.
- Get the spinnaker down early enough to make
sure that all crew members can focus on doing a good rounding. All non-critical
clean-up should wait until the boat is settled and going fast.
© 2003 by the Lansing Sailing Club, 6039 East Lake Drive, PO Box
51, Haslett, Michigan 48840.
Prepared by the LSC Crew Coordinator. Send suggestions and comments to
the crew coordinator by going to the Contact Us page of the LSC web site.
Lightning owners also receive copies of LSC Crew Notes.