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Getting better?

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: Dinghy classes
Forum Name: Technique
Forum Discription: 'How to' section for dinghy questions and answers
URL: http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=10711
Printed Date: 30 Jun 22 at 4:55pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Getting better?
Posted By: Clive Evans
Subject: Getting better?
Date Posted: 18 Feb 13 at 9:48am
My first forum post!

I've been thinking about this for a while and thought I'd get some people's opinions

If you're in the Olympic / development squad you get coaching from elite coaches

If you're beginning to race, clubs or class associations can provide coaching to get you entering club racing or your first open meeting

But what about if you are in the middle? What do open meeting sailors do to improve?

I'm 32 been sailing since I was 11, I've done plenty of opens, winning some, and flirted with the top 10 at my nationals recently but getting better is tricky!

I know there's no magic answer but has anyone ever managed to make the transition from 'also ran' to the sharp end?

Is it paying for a coach? Getting fitter? My starts have always been the worst part of my sailing would 3-4 big fleet nationals a year in different but similar classes be better than sticking with 1 class but only getting big starts once in a blue moon?

What would you do?


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Spiral 816



Replies:
Posted By: SoggyBadger
Date Posted: 18 Feb 13 at 11:13am
Improving your starts is bound to help.

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Best wishes from deep in the woods

SB



Posted By: Clive Evans
Date Posted: 18 Feb 13 at 11:39am
Yes that would be start but how to? There's 50 plus boats on a start line, no book can tell you how to get out first. I thought the more you do the easier it gets might be a tactic? Hence multiple classes

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Spiral 816


Posted By: pondmonkey
Date Posted: 18 Feb 13 at 11:46am
Not sure what class you're sailing, but I've always found class training days give a massive boost to my understanding of the boat specifics as well as sharpening up a few basic skills too. 

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Posted By: Ian29937
Date Posted: 18 Feb 13 at 12:10pm
Originally posted by pondmonkey

Not sure what class you're sailing, but I've always found class training days give a massive boost to my understanding of the boat specifics as well as sharpening up a few basic skills too. 
 
I agree, we always try to run different levels of coaching in the 700's, certainly covering the beginners but also looking at the intermediate level and above.
 
Ian


Posted By: Clive Evans
Date Posted: 18 Feb 13 at 12:36pm
Hi thanks for the replies, I used to sail a solo in the uk and currently a spiral in Sydney which is laser like

I know association training sessions can be helpful, solos used to run training days (still do) but they are geared towards intermediate levels in my experience

So do the 700's run training attended by guys in say 10-15 at your nationals (see you had 30 plus at nationals)


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Spiral 816


Posted By: Daniel Holman
Date Posted: 18 Feb 13 at 12:56pm
You are the most important sailing coach you'll ever know. A few tips - spend as much time as poss sailing IN  A FOCUSSED MANNER with guys who are better than you. Also, break your sailing down into its constituent blocks and assess yourself fairly continuously. Any weak area can be assessed and strategies found to improve - there is a lot of literature out there!
Using a coach is something not many people do and even a couple of days a year are cheaper than say, a sail. For this to be worthwhile, it is good to have a fairly decent idea of what you want looked at. Its fair to say that a fresh set of eyes can often bring about really useful changes.
Also, a technique is relatively easy to learn, a skill is a technique that can be performed under pressure (i.e usually under pressure, generally people revert to old/bad/familar techniques and habits) so learning a technique is only a part of the way to improving your skills.
Strike a good balance between training and racing - some skills can only be improved by one or the other.


Posted By: Ian29937
Date Posted: 18 Feb 13 at 12:57pm
Originally posted by Clive Evans

Hi thanks for the replies, I used to sail a solo in the uk and currently a spiral in Sydney which is laser like

I know association training sessions can be helpful, solos used to run training days (still do) but they are geared towards intermediate levels in my experience

So do the 700's run training attended by guys in say 10-15 at your nationals (see you had 30 plus at nationals)
 
Yes, is the simple answer.  We often bring in either one of the top guys to run a session or buy in a coach, after the day before the Nationals.  People like Harvey Hilary (Olympic 49er coach) or Pete Barton (RS800, etc) have run excellent sessions in the past.
 
I think most class associations will do similar, particularly if you let them know you are interested.
 
Cheers
 
Ian


Posted By: gordon1277
Date Posted: 18 Feb 13 at 1:05pm
Hi
Does anybody know the approx cost of a coach for the day.
And would that include his own Rib.
Cheers
Gordon

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Gordon
Lossc


Posted By: RichTea
Date Posted: 18 Feb 13 at 4:19pm
Not every coach has their own rib, most use the centre boats.

PM Jon Emmett, he is a Laser coach.


Posted By: JP233
Date Posted: 18 Feb 13 at 5:14pm
Get some friends who sails the same boat or something similar, and three buoys, two for the start line and a top mark for bearings.

Do a 5,4,1-min start then sail 10 meters turn around and start again.

After that 100 tacks and 100 gybes before you get to the other side of the lake. hurts like hell, but damn we were quick after!


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Thanks
Jamie


Posted By: Clive Evans
Date Posted: 18 Feb 13 at 10:01pm
Originally posted by Daniel Holman

You are the most important sailing coach you'll ever know. A few tips - spend as much time as poss sailing IN  A FOCUSSED MANNER with guys who are better than you. Also, break your sailing down into its constituent blocks and assess yourself fairly continuously. Any weak area can be assessed and strategies found to improve - there is a lot of literature out there!
Using a coach is something not many people do and even a couple of days a year are cheaper than say, a sail. For this to be worthwhile, it is good to have a fairly decent idea of what you want looked at. Its fair to say that a fresh set of eyes can often bring about really useful changes.
Also, a technique is relatively easy to learn, a skill is a technique that can be performed under pressure (i.e usually under pressure, generally people revert to old/bad/familar techniques and habits) so learning a technique is only a part of the way to improving your skills.
Strike a good balance between training and racing - some skills can only be improved by one or the other.
 
Thanks for the great answer, i've been trying this with a few guys at my club who are both top 5 at the nationals and it certainly helps - i need to sail well in all aspects to beat them.
 
 


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Spiral 816


Posted By: Clive Evans
Date Posted: 18 Feb 13 at 10:04pm
Originally posted by RichTea

Not every coach has their own rib, most use the centre boats.

PM Jon Emmett, he is a Laser coach.
 
Thanks, i'm aware of Jon, problem is i'm Sydney based. Watched him winning a fair few races in the radial fleet which started one ahead of us at Sail Sydney whilst he was here though


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Spiral 816


Posted By: sargesail
Date Posted: 18 Feb 13 at 10:14pm
Clive,

You're right to say that actually practising in 50 boats is hard to do....and multiple nationals can be the only way.  But there are some things you can do to make technique into skill, and which you can do by yourself or with friends.

For starting I would say:

Stay in the box / next to the bouy.
Stop-starts.
Stand-still bear aways/head ups (defending a gap you want to start in).

I would also say that a regatta in which you also start second or third rank (deliberately - so you stay mentally sound!) can pay massive dividends.  You will get so much better at getting thru the traffic in good shape when you have a bad one which will happen.

Also work to understand what bias means in terms of acceleration angles/times/distances, speed of closure with the line, and angles to other boats.  The latter you can do ashore.  But you only need 3 or 4 boats for the former as well.

And always make a plan - what you want to do....work out how you will do it....and afterwards assess how well you did it.  (Be your own coach again).

Tell you what though - I'll give you a whole weekends coaching for free....all you have to do is fly me and the family to Sydney for a week....


Posted By: Clive Evans
Date Posted: 18 Feb 13 at 11:29pm
Originally posted by sargesail

Clive,

You're right to say that actually practising in 50 boats is hard to do....and multiple nationals can be the only way.  But there are some things you can do to make technique into skill, and which you can do by yourself or with friends.

For starting I would say:

Stay in the box / next to the bouy.
Stop-starts.
Stand-still bear aways/head ups (defending a gap you want to start in).

I would also say that a regatta in which you also start second or third rank (deliberately - so you stay mentally sound!) can pay massive dividends.  You will get so much better at getting thru the traffic in good shape when you have a bad one which will happen.

Also work to understand what bias means in terms of acceleration angles/times/distances, speed of closure with the line, and angles to other boats.  The latter you can do ashore.  But you only need 3 or 4 boats for the former as well.

And always make a plan - what you want to do....work out how you will do it....and afterwards assess how well you did it.  (Be your own coach again).

Tell you what though - I'll give you a whole weekends coaching for free....all you have to do is fly me and the family to Sydney for a week....
 
Thanks for your answer, this is just the sort of reply i'd hoped i'd get. I think that racing for me has been all about getting comfortable with your racing surroundings. In a nutshell my conclusion is that i haven't done enough nationals in big fleets (maybe 10 in 20 years) so i feel comfortable in any club race, at 20 boat opens but not in 50 (or in solos case 100) boat starts. I frequently get beaten by sailors I beat every week in club racing and opens at nationals level
 
So by reinforcing your technique so it doesn't fall apart during big races gives better results in the long run i guess? 


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Spiral 816


Posted By: sargesail
Date Posted: 19 Feb 13 at 6:52am
Clive,

Are you also aware of the old adage:

In small fleets be bold, in big fleets be conservative.

The symptoms you describe are often tied to not playing the %s enough.


Posted By: Clive Evans
Date Posted: 19 Feb 13 at 10:16am
Originally posted by sargesail

Clive,

Are you also aware of the old adage:

In small fleets be bold, in big fleets be conservative.

The symptoms you describe are often tied to not playing the %s enough.

By that do you mean taking more tactical risks in smaller fleets knowing you can recover most places on skill alone whereas in larger fleets accept that some races will be great some ok and some poor and that taking risks that pay off may get the odd good place but overall it's harder to recover?

We used to have sailors in the solos who would hit hard right banging the corners in EVERY race the whole week and end up with a win and 8 60ths!


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Spiral 816


Posted By: SoggyBadger
Date Posted: 19 Feb 13 at 11:22am
Originally posted by Clive Evans

We used to have sailors in the solos who would hit hard right banging the corners in EVERY race the whole week and end up with a win and 8 60ths!


Colliding with things is never a good tactic, especially anything with corners. That can lead to a phenomenon known as sinking.



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Best wishes from deep in the woods

SB



Posted By: Jamesd
Date Posted: 19 Feb 13 at 11:48am
there is a book by the mentioned Jon Emmett called be your own sailing coach (or something similar) and thats a very good read for helping with self analysis. I recommend it. 
Also there is a website called sailjuice.com which is basically there to help people like yourself get better. It is like 5 quid a month or something but is rammed with useful info and articles. The guy that runs it is great and a quick email to him telling him what you want to achieve would be a good idea as i am sure he will point you towards the best articles. 

I found the biggest jump in my starting was to think about time and distance. What i do before races on the way out to the start is work out in those conditions how fast my boat accelerates and moves. I will stop next to a boy and accelerate and check the second hand of a stop watch for 1 boat length, 2 BL, 3 BL etc. the more you do this the easier it gets and you will get to a point where a timed run pre race lasts all of 5 seconds. 
Then when you are lining up think of the distance in time. I find saying it helps. so instead of 2 boat lengths away, you are 6 seconds from stand-still or 3 seconds from half pace etc. that way you know you need to be 'pulling the trigger' at 6 seconds to go. 
I will sort a transit and know roughly where i want to start and then get other transits for say 1bl, 2, bl etc behind the line. 
Obviously this is sailing and it is NEVER that straight forward, but if you start doing this and knowing where your boat can be in X seconds, your starts will improve massively! I think thats the basics of starting, hitting the line at go, get the basics and build on them with holding position, line bias, first beat plans etc!

Sorry if that is confusing, it is a lot of dribble


Posted By: Hector
Date Posted: 19 Feb 13 at 6:28pm
Very good video about starting strategy featuring http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WzOrK3y9nI - Peter Isler here - -Its VERY long, but some very good stuff.
Otherwise, practise and practise some more.

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Keith
29er 661 (with my daughters / nephew)
49er 688 (with Phil P)
RS200 968
Vortex (occasionally)
Laser 2049XX


Posted By: Hector
Date Posted: 19 Feb 13 at 6:34pm
At 45:30 talking about a 470 opponents strategy -  'start next to a Marshmallow'Evil Smile 
 
BTW, just watching from that point is useful.


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Keith
29er 661 (with my daughters / nephew)
49er 688 (with Phil P)
RS200 968
Vortex (occasionally)
Laser 2049XX


Posted By: sargesail
Date Posted: 19 Feb 13 at 9:28pm
Originally posted by Clive Evans

Originally posted by sargesail

Clive,

Are you also aware of the old adage:

In small fleets be bold, in big fleets be conservative.

The symptoms you describe are often tied to not playing the %s enough.

By that do you mean taking more tactical risks in smaller fleets knowing you can recover most places on skill alone whereas in larger fleets accept that some races will be great some ok and some poor and that taking risks that pay off may get the odd good place but overall it's harder to recover?

We used to have sailors in the solos who would hit hard right banging the corners in EVERY race the whole week and end up with a win and 8 60ths!

Partially - yes.  But also in a small (especially very small) fleet, then a succession of risk averse twos is not going to beat a line of 1s with a few 3s and a 4, one or two of which get disgarded.

In the big fleet consistent top few results will get you there - but they don't all need to be top 3s, potentially.

Also the bigger course and longer duration to accommodate a big fleet means it is easy to be more exposed to shifts/pressure changes.

Being conscious of where and when you are on the course (and what you are aiming to achieve) really helps with the risk taking.  We would only sometimes (very rarely articualte it to thsi degree but in full:

We're half way up the beat, and we're in the left.  We have about 70-30 port and starboard to sail and the fleet is 40-60 lef and right if us.


Posted By: Daniel Holman
Date Posted: 19 Feb 13 at 9:35pm
Basically the consequences of taking risks are far greater in bigger fleets- more boats to sh*t on you, harder to get a lane again if you lose it, boats on every part of a beat so more leverage in shifts, impossible to cover all avenues. If you get rolled on a beat or reach then you can become vulnerable and can end up getting bent over the proverbial barrel by a large proportion of the fleet.
In a smaller fleet you are far more strategy driven, in a larger fleet (or more crowded racecourse) you are more tactic driven - ie you have to be more reactive to other boats.
Laser worlds is ridiculous, pretty much sneeze at the wrong time and you're last.


Posted By: Reuben T
Date Posted: 19 Feb 13 at 10:12pm
I found that sailing in a different class has helped me to improve. I had been sailing the laser for about 3 years, then sailed a laser 2 for the autumn and winter series which was quite disheartening as our small shifty light-wind lake is utterly unsuitable for spinnaker and/ or trapese boats, so we found ourselves fighting with the solo fleet. When I went back to the laser I found my results had improved, I can only think this has been something to do with making me focus on what the wind is doing rather than the other boats as the solos were different a different speed anyway. Also I suspect having the spinnaker made me have to look ahead to the next legs to assess if we should hoist/drop/head high or low to get the best speed, making me look further ahead so as to be one step ahead of the non spinnaker boats whos extra maneuverability made us an easy target. So it might be worth trying an utterly different boat occasionally to see what skills it develops.


Posted By: robin34024
Date Posted: 20 Feb 13 at 12:02am
I would recommend the book 'start to win' by Eric Twiname, if you can get it. it has 2 whole chapters on upwind strategy/tactics in different fleet sizes and situations :D

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Posted By: Clive Evans
Date Posted: 20 Feb 13 at 10:34am
Thank you so much for this, sail juice looks good think I'm a convert and going to sign up, can listen on the way to work beats Sydney traffic

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Spiral 816



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