Archive for May, 2011
1) A small, light sail used in very light winds, e.g., drifting or zephyr conditions. Instead of expending the little wind energy available on trying to fill a heavy sail, you use a windseeker to help get your boat moving. This creates apparent wind to add to the small amount of true wind available. Once some boat speed is attained, you can consider hoisting a larger sail. 2) A crew member who watches the water and other boats, looks for signs of wind puffs and lulls, and ascertains whether they are headers or lifts.
a race that is conducted on a large body of water and that lasts an extended period of time—from a few hours to several days or more. Offshore races can begin near one port and finish near another (i.e., a port-to-port race) or can return to the starting port after covering considerably more miles than a buoy race. Also referred to as a distance race. Offshore race strategy evolves as a race progresses. Early in the race, the strategic priorities are to find the most favorable weather pattern, to get to the weather pattern before the competition, and to be better placed within that weather pattern. Of course, as competitors approach the finish mark of an offshore race, tactics shift more towards buoy race strategy, where the priorities are to stay between any opponents and the next mark or wind shift, and to consolidate any leverage gained. Compare to: inshore racing.
downdraft or outflow winds that ripple the water’s surface in a dark, paw-shaped pattern—the winds are diverging at the leading edge of a gust. A fan puff is often preceded by a lull. A good turbulence and wind shear indicator. Also referred to as a cat’s paw.
slang for sending crew members below when the winds are really light, to relax on the leeward cushions near the mast. This offers many advantages: wind drag is reduced, the slot is not clogged, and their weight is concentrated closer to the boat’s center of gravity. Low centered weight also helps reduce pitching in leftover waves and swell. Being sent below is not always fun for the crew, but they can get out of the sun, have some food, and catch up on some reading. Also known as being bilge buddies or mushrooms.
If a particular side of the course is favored, you protect that side by being in a controlling position on that side of the course. Not just towards the favored side of the course centerline, you want to be the boat farthest to the advantaged side if you are to gain maximum control and advantage.