Join Date: May 2002
Thanked 54 Times in 52 Posts
Rep Power: 15
Can you sand ablaitive for racing
Everyone has an opinion about what it takes to win races. Some people say it isnít the boat that wins races, itís the crew. Others say bottom paint isnít important. Others say sails arenít all that important. The truth is that racing is a composite of all those factors, and more, and if you want to do your best, you have to do all those things well.
North U. describes a racing pyramid, in which Boat Preparation is the foundation of the pyramid, and the first step in racing success. The boat should be properly equipped with good sails and hardware, and with control lines rigged and located so that the sails can be raised, lowered and trimmed quickly and easily. The underwater surfaces should be clean, fair, and covered with a good racing paint. The next level of the pyramid is Boat Handling. You can''t win races if you can''t tack and jibe the boat smoothly, round marks efficiently and raise and lower your sails and keep them drawing. The third level is Boat Speed. Good boat speed is the result of a properly prepared boat, good sail trim, and good helmsmanship, among other things. You canít win consistently with a slow boat. The top level is Tactics, which can help you edge out your closest competitors. The cerebral aspect of racing is most evident in your tactical decisions. This is where you decide how to start the race, which side of the course is favored, how to find the best winds, when to tack, how to handle close cross-tacks and mark roundings, etc.
If you want to improve your racing results, you should analyze your performance in these areas, and determine where you can improve. Crew work, bottom paint and good sails are all important aspects of the Racing Pyramid. However, most club racers donít do all these things perfectly, and consequently, you donít have to be perfect in order to beat them. Iíve used soft finish, general purpose bottom paints, and hard finish racing paints, and the latter are unquestionably faster, although you can win without racing paint.. Iíve raced with old and new sails, as well as cheap and high quality sails. New and high quality definitely trump old and cheap, but you can win races with old and cheap sails. Personally, if forced to make a choice between new sails and a smooth, clean racing paint, Iíll take the bottom paint, unless the sails are pretty horrendous. Old sails will hurt you the most on the beat to windward. They will still drive the boat fairly well on reaches and runs. But a foul bottom hurts you all the way around the course. If you are handicapped by having old sails or soft finish paint, it will slow your progress around the race course, but you can still win if you can make up for that lost time with better boat handling, boat speed and tactics.
I agree with e-27 sailor. Spend this season building crew skill, improving the functionality of hardware, and learning how the boat likes to be sailed. Then refinish the bottom in the Fall, and make a serious effort the next season with a thoroughly prepped boat and crew.