During the month of May MG Marine teamed up with Olympic Silver Medalist and sailing coach extraordinaire Pease Glaser to bring the Martin fleet “Martin Mondays.”
For a fraction of the cost of private lessons boat owners receive semi private coaching between the hours of 5-7pm with a ½ hour debrief following. We have limited participation to a manageable 4 boats, minimum of 2.
It works like this. Pease emails out a list of drills the Friday before, with each drill designed to enforce boat handling and/or boat-to-boat tactics. We meet in the main channel by 5 and the drills begin. Pease coaches from a professionally driven coach boat and often takes the opportunity to hop on each boat for some one-on-one coaching. She takes careful notes of each individual boat to review with them in debrief.
5 boats participated this month, Lucky Jack, Velerito, Trolley Car, Strange Crew and Off the Wagon. All the boats felt like they really got a lot out of the sessions and we look forward to receiving more feedback from them so we can improve on an already good thing. Pease is excited to come back and we are currently in the planning stages for future coaching dates.
If you want to practice on your own, find another boat to train with & try out some of these drills!
Drill 1- 1: “Tacking Duet”: Port tack boat ducks starboard tack boat. Both boats sail for several boat lengths and then tack back towards each other. As the two boats come together, tack away (ideally when the boats are very close together, bow to bow). Sail for several boat lengths and then tack again. Repeat and continue working to weather. It will quickly become apparent which boat is tacking better.
Drill 1-2: “Downwind escape”. Boats line up-bow to stern on starboard tack layline several boat lengths from windward mark. Bear away and set- you are racing to the leeward mark. Following boat should try to blanket and pass lead boat. Purpose of exercise is to understand where you need to put your boat to slow the boat in front of you. Take turns being the leader and follower.
Drill 1-3: “Tough Start”: Set a short starting line and assign one boat to the cushy leeward position and the other boat to the tough windward position. Practice starting. Take turns in each position, rolling 3-minute starts. Practice building gauge and then accelerating.
Drill 2-1: “Mark Rounding” Sail around a short windward-leeward course with no spinnakers. Practice mark rounding using crew weight and sail trim.
Remember: To bear away or head down at the windward mark: Windward crew weight, eased main, and/or slightly over-trimmed jib.
To head up around the leeward mark: Leeward weight, trimmed main, slightly under-trimmed jib.
Drill 2-2: “Warm-up”: Windward-leeward course with spinnakers: Same as above but with spinnakers.
Drill 2- 3: “Start/Stop”. Set a starting line. All boats are to start on starboard. Continue on starboard after the start until you hear the whistle, then STOP. On next whistle, START. Next whistle STOP, Next whistle START, etc. Practice accelerations. To accelerate, the boat needs to be turned slightly below close-hauled, jib gets trimmed first about 3” less than max. Main comes in a little more slowly. Driver steers into the jib, other sails get trimmed the rest of the way as boat accelerates and heads up to close-hauled. Note: Instead of Whistles you could set a rolling 1 minute watch, sail for 2 minutes, stop for 1.
Drill 2- 4: “Parked Start”: Each boat must be stopped from 45 seconds to 15 seconds. You can accelerate anytime at or later than 15 seconds. Keep racing- If no short, sharp blasts call you back the race is a windward-leeward, finish by rounding the leeward mark and tacking onto starboard (remember to look for traffic!).
Drill 2- 5: “No pole sailing”: Open start, windward leeward course with finish same as above. You cannot use a spinnaker pole downwind!
Drill 3-1: “Rabbit Start”: One boat is designated as the “rabbit”. The “rabbit” rounds a buoy and sails upwind on port. The other boats start by sailing on starboard and ducking behind the “rabbit”. As soon as the last boat has started, the rabbit tacks and now all of the boats are on starboard. Race upwind and finish between the coach boat and a nearby mark.
Drill 3-2: “Leapfrog start”: Start between the coach boat and a nearby mark. Race upwind and finish between the coach boat and a nearby mark. This will become the next starting line.
Drill 3-3: “Upwind Tuning”: Get in line behind the coach boat. Everyone “follows the leader”. Try to get close together. We’ll beam reach on starboard. On the whistle, head up to close-hauled. All boats are now close together sailing upwind on the same tack. Practice sailing faster than the boats around you. Sail upwind until you hear short, sharp whistle blasts signaling a re-start. We’ll do several starboard tack runs and then we’ll do several port tack runs.
Drill 3-4: “Downwind Tuning”: One boat is designated leader. Everyone “follows the leader”, reaching back and forth below coach boat. When everyone is lined up, we’ll tell leader to “go”. Boats will sail on starboard layline, round windward mark and set. Race to the leeward mark. Finish by rounding the leeward mark.
Drill 3-5: “Parked Start”: Each boat must be stopped from 45 seconds to 15 seconds. You can accelerate anytime at or later than 15 seconds. Keep racing- If no short, sharp blasts call you back the race is a windward-leeward, finish by rounding the leeward mark and tacking onto starboard (remember to look for traffic!).
Three minute rolling starts:
Drill 4-1: “Win the port end” starting drill: We will set a starting line, two buoys with some additional mid-line buoys. We will assign you to a specific mark. Try to start just above that mark as if it was the port end of a starting line. Sail upwind until you hear short, sharp whistles, then return to the start line and repeat.
Drill 4-2: “Win the starboard end” starting drill. Same idea as the previous but try to start just below your mark (like you are starting next to the Race Comm.).
Drill 4-3: “Parked Start”: You can start anywhere on the line, but you must stop and be parked from 45 seconds to 15 seconds. You can accelerate anytime at or later than 15 seconds. Keep racing- If no short, sharp blasts call you back the race is a windward-leeward, finish by rounding the leeward mark and tacking onto starboard (remember to look for traffic!).
Drill 4-4: “Duck and tack”: Sailing upwind on port, practice bearing away like you would to dip a starboard tack boat. After dipping, immediately head up to close-hauled and then tack onto starboard. This simulates dipping a starboard boat and then tacking onto the starboard layline at the windward mark.
Anytime Drill: “360”: Complete a full 360 degree turn when instructed by the coaches. Remember to use weight and sails for steering!