Perfect Circle Sailing; training and Certification for Sailors

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Top Mark 2005 Nationals - 10 boats going for the mark
Top Mark, 2005 Schock 35 Nationals, 10 boats going for the mark (click on photo for larger image)

Top Mark Spinnaker Set on 'Perfect Circle"

The following sequence shows Perfect Circle, rounding a top mark during the 2004 Nationals in Marina Del Rey, California. Click on each picture to see a larger version and get a better view of what is happening at each stage of this rounding.

Click on the image for a larger view.

   The air is light, and the boat has begun turning around the top mark. The chute has been prefed and hoisted to the masthead, but has not yet filled. This chute was packed properly allowing it to be easily controlled.
We are continuing our turn downwind. You can see the pole coming back on a starboard jibe. The Chute has not yet started to fill, but you can see it will fill nicely since it is not at all twisted. The Jib has been let out to the lifelines to allow the chute to feed nicely out of the hatch bag, and to be inboard of the lifelines for the Jib drop.   
   In this frame, the boat is still turning, the chute is beginning to fill, and the trimmers are bringing the pole back and sheeting in. The air is light, so we are turning to a heading that will give us close to the proper wind angle. We will then sail our polars.
As our chute continues to fill, you can see the bow of our arch-rival "Powerplay" approaching the weather mark. Note their chute has already been prefed and is starting to go up, earlier than ours was. They are very good sailors. with a good top mark rounding with a good set a boat can pick up a boat length or two on the fleet.   
   Now, as our chute is full and drawing, we are on starboard jibe several boat lengths in front of "Powerplay". You can see that "Powerplay" has prefed their chute, and it is at about mid hoist. You can also see Sparkle's pony tail floating out of his hat. You can almost hear him say "Oh Crap! how did Perfect Circle get in front of us!" Read'um and weep Sparkle.
Here, we are just completing a jibe onto Port. You can see the pole moving into position, and the chute being trimmed. We have fraculated by this point, which moves the top of the mast forward. This moves the center of lift forward and help to pull the bow out of the water. keeping the weight out of the bow is important in order to achieve your best downwind boat speed.   
   This is a nice shot of us after we have completed our jibe. We are concentrating on boat speed as Lorenzo cleans up the bow. You can almost hear him say "it doesn't need to be pretty, we can clean it up later." If you look closely, you can see our good friend Sal in 'Xylocaine' behind us going upwind on Port Tack. One of the benefits of one design racing, all the boats are together, adding several elements to both tactics and strategy, as well as knowing the racing rules, and being able to maneuver your boat in a crowded fleet.
Still on port jibe, we are headed for the leeward gate with Santa Monica in the distance. Even though the wind is light, we are able to keep our sails full and are sailing a bit over 6 knots in this picture. Notice the main is not all the way out, it is still working as an airfoil and needs to be trimmed similarly to sailing upwind. We are sailing about 142 degrees off the wind for maximum VMG (Velocity Made Good).   
   The building on the left is the old GTE building on the corner of Wilshire and Ocean ave. in Santa Monica. The ocean off of Marina Del Rey is a great place to sail. Cal Race Week, held every year the beginning of June is a great regatta, and one in which all good racers should participate. Cal Yacht Club puts on a great event. It is well organized, they have an excellent race committee who sets good start lines and calls good courses, and they have excellent parties.

Schock 35 Perfect rounding a bottom gate. Circle (click on photo for larger image)

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