Sunday, July 25, 2010

Slalom Sparring and Prototype Fins - 60 Days of Summer Day 16

With just a week until the final Maui slalom race of the season the action at the beach is hotting up. Everyone seems really motivated to do well next weekend and it had led to some great training opportunities as racers jostle for position on the water. Confidence is so important during these super charged testosterone full races and that knowing that you can out pace or out turn your fellow competitors is vital if you are going to succeed on race day.

I am starting to meet a few of the racers at the beach who seem to be at Kanaha every afternoon and it has been really useful to get some input from equipment set up to advice on starting. I remember my first few events on the UK national circuit in the 90’s and how intimidated I felt, that cannot have helped my performance so it is great to feel a little more at home amongst the racers here. Tonight I set up some sparring with a fellow competitor who has his own buoy. Rounding a mark on your own is one thing but when you add other sailors into the mix the perfect laydown slalom gybe may not, okay probably isn’t the best policy and you have to adapt to the situation FAST before you either bounce out and fall and/or get hit by someone else. I almost don’t want to write this but I seem to be developing a habit of falling when the person in front of me falls, not sure why but that is certainly the time to attack rather than falter. After several rounds of sparring I was really pleased, I had plenty of speed and managed to cut inside at the mark and come out with some speed. We were running really short legs to get as many competitive corners in. We were both using GPS tracking and it was great to be able to compare. At first I was running 26-27 knots but as the wind picked up my speeds increased to 27-29 knots. At the end of the session we had a good chat about the good and bad and agreed to meet up to practice starts – I now have a timer so need to get used to using it and the starting procedure.

I am pleased to see less dark colours on the turns today = better speed maintained! Best 100m run today was 29.035 knots with a top end of 29.605 knots.  

I was set to test a 32cm prototype race fin today but that almost didn’t happen when I realised that I didn’t have a set of screws that fit – they were all too long. Luckily after searching my box of bits I just about managed to find enough washers (about an inch think on each screw!) to fit it snugly into the box. (My session was almost halted again when I broke my downhaul rope and had just enough left for a double run through the pully rather than a tripple, it was rather hard to get the desired tension, note to self - get some spare line!) For the last couple of days I have felt the need for more grip and this new fin certainly gave me that, it was really smooth and I felt in more control. I think that this will be perfect for 6.6m and lighter wind 6.0m weather but, I think that I might need a 30cm when I am over powered on the 6.0m and a 34cm or 36cm for the 7.3m.

The 32cm prototype felt smooth and fast, it was great to have more control and better grip. I look foward to getting my hands on some other sizes.

I also have a some 16cm Twins to test out, they have plenty of flex so I am confident that they will have plenty of slide. I have my fingers and toes crossed for some waves so that I can try them out and report back.

On arriving back at the ranch I still wanted to push myself a little further and again donned my running shoes, to be honest maybe I should have rested but I am always keen to see when the max is and I came pretty close to finding it today as I totally blew out half way through my run, eventually I got home but totally shattered. This is where I must pay tribute to Powerbars which proved an excellent way to help speed up my recovery. I think that it is time for some rest and the latest episode of Friday Night Lights!

I have been really pleased with the Powerbars I bought the other day, these seem to really help in the recovery phase and I will certainly be buying some more.

Pic of the day - Paia Bay

This is one of my favourite beaches in Hawaii, whether you want a swim in the summer, to relax in the sun or a surf in the winter this is so often the perfect place to be.

Sailing record = 100% (15/15)

More to follow…


  1. Glad you are enjoying it. Thanks for the feedback and keep reading. Chris