Sorry to make a direct cross-post from another forum, but this was too good not to share.
My very green crew has been stuck with 5kts or less of breeze for nearly a month and a half. Last night, we had about 15, and here's what happened:
Jesus-H-Christ, best race I've ever had on my own boat. I'm so excited, that I probably won't sleep well tonight.
1. The exhaust hose blew off of the Vernalift muffler on the way out to the course. The crew handled the boat nicely, without power or sails while I put the exhaust back together.
2. We made it to the line, just on time. 12-15 knots of breeze. The most wind that this crew has seen in weeks.
3. Downwind start. The boat was properly prepared, the pole and bag were on the correct sides. We had a perfect spinnaker set while noting other boats were hour-glassing, and nearly broaching.
4. We round a mark, and turn upwind about 5 minutes later, and the douse is perfect. We're hanging with the fleet.
5. The course is a "dogleg", so about 10 minutes later, we turn and set the spinnaker again, with no problems at all!
6. Halfway down this leg, we need to gybe and this is where things get pear-shaped. It took a solid 90 seconds to accomplish, and I'm dodging returning boats from the Spin B class, left and ******* right. No worries, we'll practice and get it right.
7. We're about to douse, hauling ass towards shore and thin water, when they notice that the jib sheets didn't get gybed properly. The foredeck manages to un-tangle things in the nick of time, but we've overstood the mark, wasting time.
8. We're beating our way out of the river. Our tack angles are great, but the jib trimmers are taking way too long to get the sail trimmed in. "What is this wind, you speak of?" They simply weren't used to an actual breeze! After a few tacks, they got smoother, but it cost us more time.
The rest of the race was a decent stretch of beam reaching to close-hauled, all on starboard tack. People were very focused on their trim, no idle chatter, we made up time as best we could. In the end, we finished 2nd to last.
I have no complaints. The crew work was outstanding. People were working together, communicating, anticipating, helping each other, correcting mistakes before I notice them, and correcting them on their own, without nagging from me. It's only the 5th race with the spinnaker and these guys are setting and dousing like pro's. No shrimping, no hour-glassing, no wrapping around the shrouds. The areas that we need to improve are very clear. Nothing that practice won't fix.
I made sure that they knew how much I appreciated their hard work, and how rapidly we're improving. Just freakin' awesome.