Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Magical T-Bar

So the 2006 Sailing Season is nearly upon us, and while basically nothing has been done to LinGin in the off season, I’ve thought a lot about what needs to be done, and I’m really looking forward to the season.

Glen and I get together every Friday for breakfast, and we’ve had some good discussions about this season. I’d like to get everyone involved.

I read an article in Sailing World about “the T-bar”. This is a simple concept to help one develop an awareness of what his strengths and weakness are. It looks like this:

Hopefully, you see the gray “T” (hence the name T-bar). The strengths and weaknesses are ordering in descending severity. So the weakness a the top of the list is your worst weakness, and the one at the bottom your least troublesome weakness. Got it?

The key to leveraging the T-bar is to spend the most time practicing your worst weakness. It’s human nature to enjoy spending time doing that which you are good at, and to avoid doing that which you struggle with. However, your biggest gains for the smallest time investment will come from practicing that area in which you have the most to improve.

My challenge to you is to help me develop as an accurate T-bar for the LinGin crew as possible. Please post comments to this blog entry and I’ll add/modify the list as we come to agreement on this.

Then we can work on those items, and rock the fleet this summer!


Brian P said...

I agree with your listing of strengths and weaknesses. Let’s take the weaknesses and break them down further, or start offering suggestions for improving. For example, would it make sense to find an online "Racing Rules of the Road" to link to from the LinGin blog, and possibly set a schedule to have it all studied before the season starts? I know this is an area I personally am very weak.

As far as strategy goes, I know little enough of this to offer a good suggestion how to approach this. Can anyone else offer suggestions? One thing I can think of is that I forget things easily... (does that make any sense?) In any case, what I mean is, If we did something good or bad early in the season, I might feel like I learned a lesson from that race, but then later I might be in another race where I should be applying that knowledge, and I don't think of it until later.

An example is the race back from Queenstown last year... We previously had a race where we were pointing in high wind and Tim was fighting the tiller. Tim and I worked out a system where I was helping him keep a neutral helm with my main sheet trimming while I was able to sit forward of the cockpit on the rail. We were halfway across the back on the return race from Queenstown bfore I remembered to both help Tim steer and also get my weight out of the cockpit. If I consistently could help shave off a few seconds here and there, and everyone was doing the same, then some close 2nd's might turn into close 1st's.

Any thoughts?


Brian P said...

ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing 2005-2008

Does this look like something we should use, or is there something better that anyone knows of?

Tim said...


Yes, let's break them down. Post some suggestions of weaknesses and strengths, and I'll update the T-Bar so we can focus on it.

The link you gave is a great reference. Those are the official rules. However, it'll be easier for us to learn them with another book as an aid. And certainly easier if we can discuss them together.

Check out my post today.


Glen said...

Just some quick notes: (I haven't really gone over the latest entries with much thought yet. That will have to wait until after vacation.)

-Having a good time - No matter what our performance, we usually remember we're having a blast doing it.
-Having consistent crew - There's no substitute for task familiarity.
-Boat speed "in the groove" - i.e. when wind is 5-15kts.

-Light air boat speed - (under Strategy and above Rules) - Racing on the Chesapeake in mid-summer, nailing down a few more light air tricks to add to our tool bag could be a big boost.
-Heavy air trim - As Tim mentioned last fall, we should probably find more efficient ways to de-power the boat in heavy air. We tend to heel more and point lower than many others when the breeze is up past what I'll call 'normal' conditions. Once we reef or put up the #2, the boat speed advantage we normally enjoy seems to diminish.
-Race particulars - This includes knowing or having quick access to all the information details we need to race well: courses, times, waypoints, special rules, etc. I only middling-succeeded at this last year but will take on on again and see if I can improve. The fewer times we're dashing up the first beat unsure of course to the mark and unable to find the WNR course details, the happier I'll be. :)
-Pre-departure boat prep - (bottom of the list) - We occasionally spend the motor/sail out to the course installing and fixing things. This could be valuable time spent discussing tactics, strategy, conditions, etc. (Or at the least spend this time catching up with each other. This is a *big* part of the enjoyment I find in racing with you guys!) Within the limits of our over-busy lives, I'm all for pitching in more to help Tim with projects. (This is a tough one. I know we all sometimes walk a fine line on how much of our time we can reasonably obligate to racing :^)