Tips for Reaching
Nikki Barnes & Lara Dallman-Weiss, Tokyo 2020 Women’s 470
When reaching, it is a delicate dance of power and speed requiring precise steering, trimming and body movements at the correct time to achieve maximum speed without losing the height. Balance and stability equal speed, if the boat isn’t fast, make changes and see how the boat reacts.
Stability – achieve it through steering and heel of boat
- Steering with too much power – slowly steer down to keep acceleration up without over-heeling and stopping/tripping the boat
- Steering with too little power -when power feels like dropping off slowly steer the boat back up to get that power back into the boat while gaining height to windward.
- This is primarily controlled through the controls; main trim, leech tension, vang, and the other depowering tools -minimize movements of the mainsail
- Most important is vang, centerboard and boom position after setting the other controls at a good average (ie: if its breeze on, you don’t need to keep adjusting the Cunningham because these other controls have more of an effect)
- get the centerboard to a good spot where you can feel the boat tracking through the water well (Not sliding sideways), but not stuck on the water and unable to plane (board too low).
- When the heel of the boat is at the sweet spot where the boat is stable, and the adjustments are small while maintaining high speed, then you know you are in the right spot.
- Try and keep movements small. Every time you move, the rudder moves and creates drag
- Be precise in movements -if there Is a good wave and ooching is allowed, work on the timing of surfing the wave (and bringing the bow back up to windward quickly after so that you get max speed without losing major height). Ask your crew to take a step forward to help get on the wave as well!
- Body weight and sail trim are directly correlated and a constant topic of conversation
- Perfect kite trim is important to either gain speed forward or height
- When the trimming matches the drivers intentions it can mean the difference between passing boats or getting passed.
- Spinnaker cloth is thinner than other sails requiring constant small adjustments and has a much smaller window for error
- Hiking hard at the right moment translates to speed, the more the crew weight can keep the boat flat, the faster the boat will be able to go which then builds the apparent wind on the spinnaker and allows the trimmer to ease!
- Move all of the crew weight together to make the individual weight add up emphasizing clear communication between the trimmer and crew boss.
- Keep crew weight aft and out as it gets windy or wavy, and forward when the wind drops.
Here are some tips:
- On the set, keep the boat as fast as possible.
- Less is more for steering
- Try not to let the boom go beyond the corner of the boat.
- Weight further back in breeze to get more traction on the rudder and the bow out of the water.
- The more steady the angle of heel, the more focus on perfect kite trim and walking the boat fore and aft adding to speed rather than controlling the heel.
- Prioritize hiking hard first then de-powering sails!