Wednesday, July 18, 2007

No Wind

In a comment to my previous post, the picture of my former sailing lake in New Jersey showing a typical wind situation there (little patch of wind one place, no wind anywhere else), Edward -- yes the same superstar Edward who writes the EVK4 SUPERHYPERDRIVE BLOG -- asks...

did you have to scull over the the other side? that seems like a bit of a bummer every time you go sailing. Could a laser be fitted with an outboard bracket?
Great question Edward.

First of all let me say that that lake has produced some of the best Sunfish sailors in the world. (We mainly sailed Sunfish there.) There's something about little lakes with challenging shifts and patchy winds that seems to develop the talents (in some people) to eek every fraction of a knot of speed from the boat, to read wind conditions with a sixth-sense-like intuition, and to know instantly how to to deal with every tactical situation that can come up in crowded starts and mark roundings. Unfortunately I was not one of the people who ever acquired those particular talents.

Secondly you learned that no matter how still the water looks there is almost always some wind. Maybe not much. But if you have some sensitive wind indicators made out of cassette tape maybe, heel the boat to leeward to help the boom stay out, and stay absolutely still for eons... .... ..... the boat will slowly, slowly, slowly ... .... ..... yes actually accelerate to a tenth of a knot. Many is the time the fleet has inched its way around the course like that. As a result, even though I am a fairly big guy, I do seem to be able to keep a boat moving in light airs and flat water in conditions that will defeat sailors who haven't had the "benefit" of training and racing on a lake like that.

Thirdly... I always took a paddle.


EVK4 said...

Standard Regulation Equipment in the El Toro class is a pingpong paddle. If you get to the point of taking that beast out, I'm pretty sure 1/10th of a knot would be looking pretty good.

Carol Anne said...

LOL, Edward! In the Etchells, we have to have not just one, but two paddles, and they have to be at least 1200mm long. But then, if we're out in the lake and the wind dies, so the crew has to do the Hawaii Five-O thing, it takes some paddle power to get that massive keel moving.

Meanwhile, for VERY light air, what works even better than cassette tape is foam-rubber surgical tape -- the stuff that gets wrapped around one's arm before blood is drawn.

Tillerman said...

You wrap it round your arm and draw blood and that generates some wind?

Pat said...

Shhh, that's classified Black Magic. We've also had some interesting test results with different kinds of incense.

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