Moving on up!

My wife and I are fairly new to sailboat racing. We have been club racing (lake) our Flying Scot for 2 seasons. Our Scot has nearly new sails and is rigged according to the sail manufacturer's specifications. We have taken sailing lessons, I feel that we have solid beginner skill sets. No doubt that time on the water is critical for us to advance. However, the question is - how do we move on up in the pack? What tips do you have? What should we focus on? What key elements made the most significant gains for your racing? Andy FS4957



Andy. Ask some of the other racers in your club that are better than you to sail with you. Lend your boat to another club member and see if they do better. It will convince you it is you and not the boat. Look at other boats and how there sails are set, tell tails streaming, how much vang is on, where they are sitting on the boat, there is no one magic bullet. Swap crew with another couple. Ask a 3rd person (better sailor) to come with you. Just some ideas.[:)]

Thanks, MrDave.

Thanks, MrDave. Great advice.

Andy This is acritical time in your siling experience where thin

Andy This is acritical time in your siling experience where things can get frustrating because there may not be that much progress. Try and think why you are not with the pack? some critical elements are: - boat speed; Do you get to the windward mark with the others? - boat speed; do you loose out on spinnaker legs? gain? - starts; are you with the lead group at the favored side of the line? - Have you assessed which side of the course is favored even before the start? - Are you constantly aware of wind direction and speed, know and consistantly tack for the favorable windward leg. This may be the first most difficult acquired skill - Are you keeping the boat flat with a minimum of rudder movement? Does the tiller feel balanced with little force on it? Have you learned to adjust the centerboard on the windward beat to ease the the helm if needed? Do you pull up the board part way on a reach, most of the way downind? - Do you sail with tell tales on the jib for optimum windward work, masthead fly for the spinnaker? - Finally your boat is much newer than mine, but is the bottom smooth with no antifouling paint? - last but perhaps very important, are your sails tired? For club racing, unless the sails have been abused , they should last a long time and be able of mid pack and better performance for about 5 or more years. - do you sail with similar brand sails as the other guys? - Check the cenetrboard gasket, make sure there are no rips and that it is taught There are a lot of second nature things that go into being at the top of the fleet and as you work on the above items you will get better. Gabor FS3512

Karafiath, Thank you for the listing.

Karafiath, Thank you for the listing. You got me thinking about the different aspects so I can focus on overcoming our weak areas. Boat Condition: I am sure that the boat is in great shape. No bottom paint and she has been dry sailed her entire life. In addition she has been kept inside during the winter months. Flying Scot has checked the rigging and she has 2 seasons on her sails. I would like to inspect the centerboard just to make sure it is fared well. I must admit that I am somewhat confused about the proper rudder angle/position. Any info on this subject will be appreciated. Windward Mark: During heavy wind (>13 mph), I seem to stall during tacks. I can’t pin-point exactly why. Maybe I am feathering too much before the tack –loosing speed. Maybe I am pushing the tiller too far over. Any other suggestions? The only thing I have done with the centerboard on the windward beat is to force it all the way back (down) during heavy wind. Is this wrong? How should the centerboard be worked going windward? Spinnaker Leg: We lose some boat lengths on this leg. We are generally happy if we can maintain our position. This is an area that we need more experience and I think this is an area of opportunity for us. Most of the time we run straight with the wind (our courses are relatively short). We need to play the angles more and get comfortable with spinnaker jibes. Any advice? Starts: We were told by more experienced sailors that we had to get more aggressive in our starts. We were too far off the line prior to the gun which translated into being off the line at the gun. We have made some big leaps in our starts. Strategically, I am always wondering when we should make that first tack off the starting line. More often than not, I play follow the leader. I have learned that you can't win races when you follow other boats! During a couple of races in light wind, we couldn’t hold our position due to the waves of motorboat traffic. Other Flying Scots handled this much better than we did. Any tips on maintaining boat balance /speed in waves? TKS Andy

Check out Dave Perry's Winning in One Designs.

Check out Dave Perry's Winning in One Designs. Excellent book on for both the experienced and novice racer. Link to Amazon page:


Andy. 13 knots and above tends to be sufficient wind to heel the boat and it is difficult to keep the boat flat. With the hull heeling over, the boat has agreater tendency to round into the wind and the skipper has to correct for this by pulling on the tiller. This is called weather helm. To offset the tendency of the boat to round up into the wind it is helpfull to raise the centerboard a bit with the rollers being an inch or two up on the curved part of the centerboard trunk. In steering, the boat tends to pivot about the centerboard. Raising the board moves the pivot point aft increasing the moment arm distance between the center of sail force induced pressure and the center of water force induced pressure ( pivot point), and causing the bow of the boat to go leeward. A larger % of the sail area is exposed in front of the pivot point because you have moved the pivot point back. By adjusting the centerboard you can decrease the rudder action and rudder force needed to kepp the boat tracking straight even when heeled over. Speed improves. Practice your starting technique by yourself. Picka buoy on the water and pretend it is a starting mark. Sail away from it and sail back in a simulated start, trying to arrive at the buoy just as the pretend start gun goes off. In an actual start you want to make your final approach to get there early, possibly 15 to 30 seconds. Other boats will slow you down as you approach the real starting line, and unless the favored spot is at the leeward end, you can sail down the line to use up time, assuming that you evade other boats. Also you can always scrub a bit of speed say 15 sec or so before the start. You will know that you are agressively starting when you are over the line early a few times.Plan on what to do when that happens. Sailing in light wind in a chop is the hardest to master. The sails must be full and you must allow the boat to pick up speed by sailing a bit lower and then when at speed coming a little closer to the wind and as you feel losing speed sailing lower again. Watch the jib tell tales very carefully. Gabor FS 3512

Contrary experience: we have found that one should not ever rai

Contrary experience: we have found that one should not ever raise the Scot centerboard from the full down position while sailing upwind when racing. If anything it should be rolled aft on the flat section of the trunk. This means the centerboard line (or wire) needs to be long enough to allow this. This board subject is relatively minor for the new Scot racer. Much more important is setting the rig up per your sailmakers mast rake specification and go sailing. Time on the water Is most important. Get the top sailor in your fleet to take you out for a race on his boat. Then invite him for a spin on your boat. You will learn a ton.

Also, if you have too much heel upwind, hike harder and play the

Also, if you have too much heel upwind, hike harder and play the main to keep the boat on her feet. If you get rolled over to a position with too much heel in a puff, the boat will just stop. If you feel like you are getting worked, more outhaul, vang and cunningham will make the rig more manageable. Flat is fast. I agree with Hot Wheels on the CB. I find this rolling it back is a bigger help in choppy water than smooth water. Also if the board is rolled back we tend to get the crew back against the skipper, with the skipper right across from the mainsheet block. In smooth water, we are both a few inches further forward upwind. Practice, practice, and more practice on the spinnaker jibes. Also jibing with almost no rudder by moving the people in the boat is fast. If you feel a tug on the tiller, going downwind, move the people until it feels neutral with no bubbly gurgling of the rudder. Play the spin sheet constantly, and if the luff of the spinnaker isn't curling at least every few seconds, you are probably choking it. Girls are betting at maintaining attention on this, so have you wife trim the sheet and you can adjust the guy if you really feel like you need to help. Her job is to trim, and your job is to keep the boat in the wind that is going to get you downhill the fastest. Have fun. Dave Perry and Greg Fisher both have great books. I also just read a good Buddy Melges book. Phil Scheetz FS 4086

Phil Scheetz

Flying Scot 5919

Fleet 163, Nockamixon Sail Club

time in the boat you could give a great sailor a bad boat and h

time in the boat you could give a great sailor a bad boat and he still would win most races you have to sail the boat, practice tacks, practice jibes, practice starting, and then go out and practice more

We recently posted some video clips of a clinic that Greg Fisher

We recently posted some video clips of a clinic that Greg Fisher and Al Terhune did at our club a few years back. These guys are really fast in a Scot and there are some good tips. The point about the boat setup is key. If the rake and tension are off the boat will fight you. Set up correctly, you should be able to hold the tiller extension in your lap and not move it for a long time to weather in smooth water. Good setup, time in the boat and being sure to keep actively trimming the main will help with this. Phil Scheetz FS 4086

Phil Scheetz

Flying Scot 5919

Fleet 163, Nockamixon Sail Club