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Peter’s Blog: It’s twerking Jim but not as we know it

There was water, sun and even more sailing jargon but very little wind for the first November session of the Parkstone Ladies Sailing Coaching with Peter. 

Water; Check, Sun; Check, Wind; ?

Well as Meat Loaf sang, “2 out of 3 ain’t bad” but there was enough wind to launch and as it was averaging five knots, a race would be run in this wind.  The reaction to that bombshell wasn’t what I expected, it seems the ladies were after a week off racing, apart from Liz and Yvonne who always want to race.

And the excitement was high amongst our group as this is the first time that the Ladies Section had ventured into November!  I can only imagine for the enthusiasm for December!

So after a quick land drill on Roll Tacking and the introduction of new words into their vocabulary – Pumping, Rocking and Ooching – and the explanation of Rule 42 which precludes most of these most of the time unless Flag O is displayed (whoever said that sail racing was simple..?) – it was time to go afloat.  Jo got afloat first which meant that she actually managed to sail out of the marina.

The rest?  Well they needed a tow or shove to get out, the wind had disappeared.  But we had water, we had the sun and we had time so I attempted to demonstrate Roll Tacking.  It seems that some wind is required to roll tack compounded by the fact that Fusion dinghies, which are great boats, are not so great at roll tacking.

But we did have water, we did have sun and we did have time!

So it was time to practice rocking a boat which creates airflow over the sail which propels the boat forward.  And the easiest way to do this is standing up.  So this teaches us balance, timing, steering, trim etc etc. But what it is really giving us is Time On the Water (credit David Lush) and there is no substitute for that.

You will see from the video that the amount of rocking was limited and that is because in the boat it feels like you are about to capsize but from outside the boat it looks like it is barely rocking at all so confidence needs to be gained on how far a boat will go before it capsizes – quite a long way. And this is where twerking came into it.  I rashly exclaimed that we were not meant to be twerking, we were meant to be rocking, and one of the sailors, understandably, assumed that this was yet more sailing jargon that she had to get to grips with.  Just to be clear, twerking is not a nautical term.

Back to the debrief, where in an attempt to show some proper roll tacking, as after all, my demonstration hasn’t been that great, I used a video from the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA).  My eldest son is at Uni in Seattle and races for the University of Washington team (they sailed in snow today). Their University sailing is organised by the ICSA and if you want to see great boat handling, then University sailing both here and in the US is the place to see it.

Click the link here and you will see a beautiful double roll tack. The boat in shot is just missing the windward mark due to a strong tide. To get round the mark she has to do two tacks, but the rest of the fleet are on the lay line so can make the mark.  This means that there is little margin for error from the lead boat and she needs to maintain speed through both tacks which are carried out one after the other. This manoeuvre will have been perfected after much practice, much time on the water and more importantly, no Twerking.

Weight loss was in the negative this week, I blame wedding anniversary dinners.  What was your excuse Angie? Looking forward to my first Christmas Dinner of the year with the ladies next week. Christmas Dinner? In November? Well that ain't going to help the diet.

Peter

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