LSC Crew Notes - August 4 , 2003

Information for Crew Involved in Racing with Members of the Lansing Sailing Club.

Practice Tuesdays
Don't forget that we continue to practice on Tuesdays from 6 PM to sundown. The goal is to to provide a structured opportunity for crew and skippers to expand their sailing skills. 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. 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..

Basic Rules of the Road
Periodically we find it useful to remind ourselves of the five basic Racing Rules of Sailing. For those new to sailing, it is very helpful to know these fundamentals so you can help call the driver's attention to potential problems. Hugh Elliot, US Sailing Certified Judge, simplifies them as follows:

  1. Don't hit other boats.
  2. Port tack boats usually have to stay out of the way of everyone else.
  3. Windward boats must stay away from leeward boats.
  4. Keep out of the way of boats in front of you.
  5. At a mark, the boat closest to the mark gets to go round the mark first.

Racing in Light Air
Having very little wind is frustrating to sailors. However, light air is very common in the evenings and occasionally during the day. Here are some tips for sailing faster when the wind isn't blowing very hard.

  1. Help look for signs of more wind. Your boat will have an advantage if it can get to more wind first - even if you have to go out of your way to do this.
  2. Move very slowly in the boat so the wind doesn't bounce out of the sails.
  3. Heel the boat quite a bit so that gravity helps shape the sails.
  4. Keep crew weight low in the boat.
  5. Get cozy - concentrating crew weight makes you faster.
  6. Ease the sheets. Having the sails out quite a bit more than normal going to windward is usually faster.
  7. Discourage tacking. Tacking in light air greatly slows the boat and it takes a while to get it going again.
  8. Be alert to changes in wind direction. Take more notice of your telltales on the shrouds and the subtle changes you feel on your neck as the wind shifts or changes in velocity.
  9. When the wind goes away, look for it to come back from a new direction.
  10. Work to keep crew spirits up. It is very easy to get discouraged - and even easier when discouraged to miss important opportunities.


Copyright © 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.