FROM THE EXPERTS: Tips to launch the spring season
Published on March 18th, 2013
Born into a sailing family, with a father who was one of the founders of Annapolis’s Severn SA (SSA), and having crewed with his family at a young age, Jonathan Bartlett had a leg up on sailing long before he started teaching it at SSA as a teenager and then working at North Sails in the mid-1980s. Now co-manager with Will Keyworth at North’s Eastport office, Bartlett sails with multiple winning crews personally and professionally.
Most recently, he served as tactician on Robin Team’s J/122 Teamwork for the crew’s third victory in PHRF 1 at Quantum Key West Race Week. In the March edition of SpinSheet, he shares some insights for Chesapeake racing sailors as they launch their spring seasons.
* What are the top three things you see successful race teams do before a regatta even begins?
1) Organization. Everything comes out of that. 2) Keep equipment (including sails) perfect. 3) Practice.
* Can you list a few drills a sailing team can do for practice?
I like to see a team practice stopping the boat and then get going again. Practice going from a dead stop to maximum speed. As Wayne Bretsch noted (in the Chesapeake Racer Profile in the January issue), so many boats end up parked at the start… Also, if you have a chance to do drills with a coach, utilize that outside set of eyes. If you go to Key West on the Melges 32 course, for example, you see so many coach boats out there. It doesn’t have to be the best coach or even a coach at all; it has to be someone observant. Video is great, too. It gives you so much basic information, such as how a boat sits on its lines.
* Any tips on nailing the start?
Have someone set a start line, and have him watch the line as you sail to it. Get your bowman to raise his hand when he thinks you’re on the line. He’s usually a boat length off. Then practice until the bowman has it right.
* Is there a common mistake you see out on the race course when it comes to sail trim?
Jib leads are often way too far forward.
* Do you have any tips on overall communication onboard?
Have a crew boss, generally not the skipper or navigator. Discuss upcoming maneuvers. Delegate responsibilities, and share the workload. – SpinSheet, read on