Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dry training is fun

Dry training isn't sailing without capsizing. It isn't sailing in sunshine either. Nono, - usually dry training sucks. Big time. It is about lifting weights, interval training, running, training balance, and maybe go over a few cases to sharpen up on the rules, when your arms are no longer able to lift anything but a piece of paper anyway.
Grab a favourite boat
That's all changing. Today, virtual sailing is good enough to provide live tactics training. Starting tactics and infight tactics can be trained intensely under specific conditions; Winds, shifts, currents, waves. The excact same conditions can be recreated, which is very usefull for training a specific maneuvre. Everchanging conditions can be created too, to create realistic conditions reading a course.
Laylines drawn  on the water
That's not all. Hawk has been doing some fantastic work with "painted" starting lines. It's just like the ones they use in the AC races. Only we had them first, and ours are better. Our lines can be seen not only by the spectators but also by the sailors.  That way we can choose to have lines on the "court". Just as they do in tennis. Have a look at the image above, where I am rushing towards the starboard pin - on the layline.
Just tacked...
And I know for sure, that I am on that layline. Not a shred of doubt in my mind, I can lay that mark. In fleet race, those lines are usefull for planning a good start; In match race, they are critical. Countless evening classes are held every day explaining new match racers about those lines. Be here at a certain time, don't go there, get over here, chase him out there, do the dial up in this section et.c. et.c.
Full speed ahead!
That's actually very hard to explain in a live RL situation. When you are out there, and you must steer, trim, balance, track time and position for infight, all this while the wind howls, sails flap and waves are spraying every other second, the other skipper yells starboard and ur jibman just lost the genoa-sheet, it gets pretty intense. Who cares about those lines? Turns out - those who care, they usually come out on top.
The helicopter view
And there's more. The timer is floating over the line, so everybody knows the time. Some boats even have an onboard display, that feeds from the RD's timer. Check the shot above. Helicopter view is great. In SL the coach, the judge and the RD can fly over the course and watch and comment on the action. My dad couldn't do that, when I was in the Opti. Better yet, rounding marks and using rule 18 is easier, because the zone is painted on the water too.
Relaxing after a training session in a nearby marina
So how do you get in on the action? Easy! Create an account in SL. It's free. Go through the SL training courses. Takes an hour or so. Search for Tradewinds and get a free boat, maybe even buy one. The QSM40 I am sailing above is very nice. Check the calendar on for a race, and you are on your way. Those shots here - they were taken in Fruit Islands. Beautiful area for leisure sailing too, - when ur done training and racing. See you there...

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