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post #6 of Old 08-19-2003
Join Date: May 2003
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I started racing here in SF about 6 months ago. Things I know now that I did not know then:

1. You can''t over-prepare for changes in temperature. Bring lots of layers, even if you don''t use them (get a big boat-bag.) Over-dress to start, and peel down as needed. When you''re on the rail, sit behind the big guy.

2. Wear synthetic socks & long underwear. Wicks persperation away fast. 2nd, 3rd layer of socks for fit/warmth.

3. No cotton.

4. Layers of fleece warmups and fleece vests work well.

5. Drink water.

6. Spend the money on good foulies--it''s worth it. I bought crappy ones to start with, and suffered. Now I have a nice set, and it''s great. That includes goot boots. If you''re on bow, I suggest traditional fisherman''s boots. Pit, mast crew and rail meat, dinghy boots are OK.

7. Get good offshore auto PFD (SOSpenders, etc) with built-in harness, & wear it. I hope the rest of your crew does too. Practice using it, and know how to repack/rearm it. If you need inspiration, go to and search for "drowned PFD" and so forth. Note how well the generally stories turned out when the COB was wearing a PFD, and how poorly they fared otherwise. Good news: many racing associations (including those here in the SF area) will disqualify any boat with any crew (especially the captain) who isn''t wearing a PFD from start to finish.

8. Kneepads will save you from a lot of bruises and cuts.

9. You will have a black-and-blue butt after a good race--my wife, sailor but non-racer, can judge how well the race went by observing my marks of honor each night. Nobody I know wears padding, but then I don''t know them that well...

10. Put up the hood on your foulies _before_ the wave washes over you. If you do it _after_, it just keeps it in.

11. Keep everything zipped and fastened. Winches and loose clothing don''t mix. If you''re too hot, unzip and flap while on the rail, but get it all fastened again before tacking.

12. You need to figure out a compromise between warm, dry hands and dexterity. I wear open-fingered gloves, and keep my hands in the warmup pockets on my jacket unless using them.

13. Wraparound sunglasses with a strap: keeps water out of your eyes, no frames to block peripheral vision, less eye fatigue.

14. A hat with a bill is great if it''s sunny. If it''s not, a fleece watchcap is better. If you like it, tie it to your harness. The old salts use twine & bowlines; us newbies use thingies from REI with ''gator clips on each end.

15. A folding, blunt-ended knife on a lanyard--you won''t use it until you really, really need it, and then you will be very glad you have it.

16. If you''re going offshore, collect the following and put in your foul-weather jacket pockets:
- lifeline
- strobe
- whistle
and practice using them.

17. Leave cameras, etc wrapped in a waterproof bag in your sea bag below. You''ll never have time for pictures while racing--and if you do, you''ll have time to go below to get it.

All I can think of for now.
bob_walden is offline  
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