Re: Trimming "Zero"- Poplar Island Race
Bubble, apologies. I was assuming since you said 'pit' you had a pit. Inexperienced crew, always have them check each other's work. Your mast/pit and bow should be a team... what happens up there stays up there if they're working well together.
Honestly, don't cull your crew just yet. In the fall you'll be glad you've got 8. For beer cans, dial down things just a bit and focus on good clean sailing (driving/trim) and boat handling. Sure, for more 'important' races, you just say I'm taking ____, and I've got three slots open. First come, first served. This assumes that you've got two or three regulars who you really need on the boat of course. Sounds like you do need a new sail though, or at least a better one.
Keeping bodies out of the cockpit in light air, if you can reach it, you do the jib sheet release. Have your lightest most competent trimmer finish the tack. Main trimmer should cross as far forward in the cockpit as possible, everyone else is out and where they need to be to roll tack the boat. Extend your tiller and sit to leeward and as far forward as you can yourself. If your crew doesn't know what a roll tack is, then sail by some competitive lasers, etc... that are out. It'll be crystal clear what the goal and timing are.
Movement on deck is at an absolute minimum, and silence is golden. Sure, talking very softly to each other on the leeward rail is fine, but if I can hear it enough to make out the conversation, it's too loud. Set up for spin hoists, douses, etc... happens deliberately and slowly, timed with being on the correct tack. Do as much as possible on the rail (pre-feeding the guy and the like) If you can't get the pole up without moving the boat around, just hoist the kite using a human guy, then get the pole on.
Nothing needs to happen quickly. Usually inexperienced crew makes the mistake of doing things much too fast in light air. Think more 'slo-mo ballet', and remind them to slow down, particularly during gybes. Only roll tacking is done quick'ish. Have someone count it down so everyone move across the boat at once... quickly, smoothly. Loosen, up, go bow down. The jib trimmer is absolutely driving the boat. Sail a bit fat. If you get a lift, the trimmer eases a bit to match the lift and let the boat accelerate, then head up and let the trimmer slowly work it in. They'll tell you when to stop. Conversely, in a header, the trimmer sheets in a wee while you head down, then he/she eases a bit. They should be telling you if there's any pressure on the sail, and to 'head up' or 'down' as necessary. Same with the spin. If you're trying to make it all work by your driving, it's nearly impossible to sail effectively in the light stuff.
I'm sure you know all this stuff. Somedays we nail it and make the boat go like hell in light air. Other days we're just a bit off. Interestingly enough, there are still very few surprises on the winner's list, light air or heavy. Often as not, it's the same sailors.
Last edited by puddinlegs; 07-09-2012 at 08:20 PM.