10 essentials for your next sailing adventure.
As sailors there is an awful lot we can learn from other adventure sports. As climbers, paddlers, hikers, adventure runners and other backcountry enthusiasts have done for years, sailors of all kinds can benefit from a systemic approach to the gear they bring with them on the water.
The point of the Ten Essentials list (developed by The Mountaineers) has always been to help answer two basic questions: First, can you respond positively to an accident or emergency? Second, can you safely spend an extended period of time out in the elements? The list has evolved over time from a list of individual items to a list of functional systems; the updated Ten Essential Systems list is included in Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, 8th Edition.
As someone who is often jumping aboard other people’s boats (OPB) I try to come prepared with my own Ten Essentials. Here is an outline of my system that is in my “coaches pack” or PFD nearly overtime I step aboard:
Ten Essential Systems
- I always carry a detailed chart of the area I am sailing in. These days, I often don’t pack a paper chart, but rather use the very accurate electronic charting apps I can use on my phone. I use Navionics, iNavX and nvCharts as my primary nav tools. I also will research a sailing area using actual paper charts and MacENC before going if I it is a totally foreign place
- I still always carry a compass. I use a hand bearing compass such as the Weems and Plath hand bearing compass.
- In addition to all of that, my iPhone is a useful GPS.
- I live in sunglasses and a baseball cap. Sunscreen for lips and skin are crucial. Recently I’ve started wearing a long sleeve shirt too. My favorite sun protecting shirts are made from Patagonia. The Capilene® Lightweight shirts last forever, never stink, wash well and take logo’s and even dye sublimation better than most. Many sailors are wearing buffs these days too. They make for good neck protection.
Thursday Night Racing starts tonight! For more than two decades J World has hosted Thursday Night Racing to help local fleets gain valuable experience and practice time while also honoring our commitment to experiential learning for our customers and club members.
With the help and partnership of Severn Sailing Association and the sponsorship of Quantum Sails, we are excited to host another season of the best weeknight one design racing in the country.
You can find the online notice board with all of the associated documents here.
J World’ s Thursday Night Racing – Sponsored by Quantum Sails is governed by the Racing Rules of Sailing. The purpose of the racing rules is to ensure safe and fair racing. The value is that we all play by the same rules, which makes racing more fun.
The Racing Rules of Sailing
Every four years the racing rules are refreshed – and the new rules for 2017-2020 will be in force this season. The rule book is made available both by World Sailing and US Sailing. If you are a US Sailing member you can request one for free or download a free app. You can also go to World Sailing’s site and download the rules and more.
Other Important Rules
There are other important rule considerations too. There are several documents that contain rules everyone must follow. The first is the Notice Of Race. The Notice of Race (NOR) has information that sailors need to plan for a regatta. You can find the Thursday Night Racing NOR at the online notice board. The Sailing Instructions (SI’s) are written directions that describe how a regatta will be conducted. You can find the Thursday Night Racing SI’s at the online notice board. Finally, the class rules govern each individual class. While on Thursday’s we don’t inspect boats for class rules compliance we hope that you sail within the spirit of your class rules. Thursday’s are an opportunity to practice at a high level so practice like you are going to play.
Rule Compliance and Enforcement
Sailing is a self policing sport. The rules are enforced by the sailor’s themselves. One of the most important rules is that when you break a rule you take a penalty. You don’t need a referee or even a fellow competitor to tell you that you broke a rule; nor do they need to tell you that you broke a rule in order to take a penalty. It is important to remember that by participating in a race, each competitor agrees to be governed by rules.
Fair Sailing, Good Manners, Sportsmanship
Racing sailor must compete in accordance with recognized principles of fair play. They must not commit any conduct that is a breach of ood manners, a breach of good seamanship or unethical.
Sailors are encouraged to minimize their impact on the environment. There is a specific rule that prohibits putting trash in the water. Trash is anything you would throw away at home – including food items (e.g. apple cores.)
J World is welcoming folks who would like to gain experience on our Thursday Night Racing Race Management Team to join us this season onboard the J World race committee boat. No previous experience is necessary to make a huge contribution to the best weeknight one design racing taking place in the country. Maybe even the GALAXY!
The race management team is made up of lots of people, so there is something for everyone who is interested. No one person can run the whole thing (all though we’ve tried) and it takes a great team to make something as important as Thursday Night Racing in Annapolis happen for the J/22, J/24, J/70 and J/80 classes happen with the quality we expect each week.
Here is an outline of some of the volunteers needed each week to make J World’s Thursday Night Racing – Sponsored by Quantum Sails happen.
Mark Setter – The mark setter is responsible for operating a small powerboat while positioning and possibly relocating marks of the race course. They may also be responsible for communicating changes to the course and even recording finishes on a shortened course.
Wind Reader – The wind reader is responsible for observing, tracking and recording changes in the wind direction and velocity and making suggestions about course axis and course lengths. This information is relayed to the principle race officer (PRO) who will make the final decisions about course configurations.
Spotter/Recorder – Identifies and records all boats starting and finishing, including competitors who do not start or complete the race.
Signaller – The signaller is responsible for flags and other visual signals from the race committee to the competitors. An exciting position; the signaller raises and lowers class flags, individual and general recall flags and more.
Line Sighter – Sights starting and finishing lines to track boats that are over early, returning to the start and finishing.
Timer – The timer is the “heartbeat” of the race management team. The timer calls the time sequence aloud so the start and finish can be properly run.
Scorer – The scorer takes the recorded finishes made by the Spotter/Recorder and tabulates points and finishing times.
Sounder – The sounder is in charge of sound signals including our electronic “ollie” as well as horns and whistles in the event that there is a failure of the “ollie.”
Committee Boat Operator – The committee boat operator plays a crucial role in preparing, outfitting and operating the RC boat. The CBO ensures that the RC is on station at the correct location and manages the boat while the other members of the race management team are focused on their important roles.
Principle Race Officer – The PRO is the chief executive of the race management team. Makes the major decisions about the management of each race night.
If you would like to join us for Thursday Night Racing as volunteer, please contact us at 410-280-2040. If you would like to learn more about the roles of race management teams you can check out these resources:
Ever wonder why some sails are “crosscut” and some are “tri-radial?” Wonder what “crosscut” and “tri-radial” means? Well this recent webinar from Quantum Sails is a great introduction to how sails for one design boats like the J/70 are built.
There is some very interesting information provided by the designer. There is a lot of thought that goes into construction design and material choice.
Sailing World magazine has really become a great resource for racing sailors. So has their website – where you can find hundreds of well written and illustrated articles on all sorts of racing topics. In fact, we’ve stopped handing out a proprietary book on racing and point our students to the treasure trove of resources available on the site and others. It is also cool that they used a J World boat – Wild Horses – as the featured image for the article. Just sayin.
After more than 40 days of racing already this season (you read that right) you wouldn’t think an article like the one written by Steve Hunt about low risk first beats would have much impact. Haven’t we seen it all? Isn’t it easy by now? But leave it to Steve, one of the best in business, to boil the whole thing down to its root and make it actionable.
If you like the right, he says, position yourself just to the right of your competitors. If you like the left, position yourself just to the left. It’s that simple. There’s no need to sail off by yourself, splitting from the majority, hoping for the horizon job, because if you’re wrong, you’ll find yourself deep at the top mark and unable to catch up. By positioning yourself in the proximity of the favored side, you’ll be in contention if you’re right, and if you’re wrong, you’ll still be close enough to have a decent comeback. Taking a huge risk by splitting creates more of an all-or-nothing outcome. Winning regattas (or simply doing well) is more about avoiding bad races than it is about winning a few and placing deep in the others.
I should have that tattooed on my arm. I have been frustrated so many times by the simple fact that I can’t — or don’t execute my game plan or decide to swing for the fences because I am feeling way behind.
The only time sailing to an edge is safe is in really light air, when the edges tend to have more wind and the middle is disturbed. My dad, who is a light-air expert, used to tell me, “You have a 50-percent chance of getting the edge right in light air, and a 100-percent chance of being wrong in the middle.” He’s always right.
As North American sailors – especially here on the Chesapeake and on Tampa Bay – we ARE light air sailors. So that last quote should be tattooed in our brains too.
Check out the rest of the great stuff over at Sailing World — even if it means kicking yourself the next time you are racing.