Class Layers - Part 2

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Axel Engstfeld
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 5:44 pm
Location: Cologne
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Organiced advice is needed

Post by Axel Engstfeld » Thu Aug 03, 2006 6:09 pm

I am now sailing Dragon in my 3rd season. yes I sailed before but never raced. So I started bevause I was intrigued buy the boat and the perspective to travel and compete.
I stretched my budget and bought a decent boat, the sistership of Freds. And Fred said.Then you know it is not the material ...
The first season we looked around locally. We sailed a littlelake close to our home town. A dificult lake.When we asked the older guys to share some secrets all we got is : Its difficult. In netherlands we learned that they all knew the boat, but normally the stern. But seeing now the bow they liked well.
Next season we started with training at lake garda with Vinci. It was great we learned a lot.
our position in the races in switzerland and germany was within the last third. This season we started again with training at lake garda and keen enough headed on to Mallorca. First international competitions. A totally different game. We counted little succeses. Even Uli Libor hitting my stern was one, because it ment Uli was behind. But in the end we could not make it better than second last. in a way very frustrating.
What is so difficult. Learning is so difficult. It is so hard to get a proper analysis after the race. Only if you know your mistakes you might be able to improve. But who can tell? Now i try to go to the next race with a coach.to get analyses after the race. it is expensive. But that is sailing anyway. And here are regional and national organisations needed. Why cant the national organisation provide training and racing analyses in the main regions of the country twice a year. Combining with theory lessons. or offer a training week or workshops attached to racing dates. I would love to learn in such a way from the experienced. But doing it all on your own is a hard way.
We have been attending the "sunndayraces"in Netherlands twice. And yes the guys were opening up giving hints and valuable information. That is what i would love to attend on a more organised basis with the professional coaches comming in to teach.
Without such help its a long way to become the enthousiast which I am in my heart.

Axel Engstfeld

Mickey Lake
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:18 am
Location: Spanish Fort, Alabama, USA

Great stuff Axel.

Post by Mickey Lake » Thu Aug 03, 2006 7:34 pm

All of us, even the best of us, have gone through similiar growing pains. It sounds as if you are ahead of most people with your program and should be proud of your progress.

In the Finn class we have a guy who has made it a sort of cottage industry to go around and give clinics at all the major North American regattas. It's $500 per day whether one boat attends or 50 attend. The more boats who attend the less expensive (and more cost effective) the clinic. The clinics are usually on-the-hard lectures and demonstrations followed by time on the water, which ideally is filmed or taped for that evening's chat session. In my mind this is the absolute best way to help new sailors with the questions that they have about tuning and sailing their boats.

All of us have had to learn 'the hard way', through trial and error, but if there was a better way wouldn't we have taken it? Just about every top international sailor (who you would think would need it the least) uses a coach, but the majority of us can not afford to have an individual coach. The clinic system serves that function. It gives every sailor the opportunity to have their questions answered by someone who really wants to see everyone improve.

Just another idea to toss out there and see what comes of it.

Mickey Lake USA149
A disciple of the Norse God of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker.

Fred
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:06 pm

How to avoid spending years that can be learnt in days.

Post by Fred » Thu Aug 03, 2006 9:11 pm

Dear Axel and Mickey,

I think I understand your problem. I offered the Dutch Dragon Class Organisation several times, starting in 1985, to 1 or 2 days in winter to tell them all the tricks about tuning, meteo, current etc
(I did this for a lot of other classes and among others the Dutch Admirals Cup team in the past).
They never accepted this, so I gave up.
I still think people can save many years by talking about the logic of the most important things in Dragon racing for say one or two days.
It's much cheaper and much more effective than buying a new genoa.
In my opinion it should be done not on the water but ashore. Later things can be tested and checked on the water.
It's unbelievable how many misunderstandings there are about tuning, meteo, current, tactics, psychology etc. etc., but it seems that most people like to solve these problems by buying new boats, sails etc. every year (which is of course welcomed by the trade).
Hopefully national class organisations become more clever in the future, because when people like you improve a lot within a few years and become a thread to the top in your countries, it helps the topsailers to get to a higher standard also, as competition is the only thing that everybody needs to improve himself.

Axel Engstfeld
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 5:44 pm
Location: Cologne
Contact:

leraning fast

Post by Axel Engstfeld » Thu Aug 03, 2006 9:47 pm

Dear Fred,
don't give up. Offer it again. And may be also to Rupert and the german association. I would be the first to attend. For me learning is always practical and theoretical. And what better way to spent some winter days trying to get deeper into the compexity of the sport.
i do the same in my profession and ebjoy to give lectures to young filmmakers and pass on the experience of 30 years on the road.
Even a decent DVD properly produced could be a helping tool and probably not to expensive to get it done.

Mickey Lake
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:18 am
Location: Spanish Fort, Alabama, USA

A dvd is a great idea.

Post by Mickey Lake » Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:23 am

I was just reading an article concerning the dvd that the J/24 class has available to help their sailors tune and sail their boats better. The Finn class is investigating this right now here in North America.

Another idea is to create a slideshow on the internet using photos of an event or a tuning session where a knowledgeable sailor could give comments. We already do this in the Finns with photos by the well-known photographer Jan Walker. You'd be surprised how much photographs can help with things like where you set your traveler, the way the genoa leech is set under certain conditions, the luff of the main, etc. There is much to be learned (since I don't have any Dragons to sail with normally I already study the photos on the IDA website pretty closely. It helps).

If we ever do get a dvd of the Dragon I will be one of the first in line to purchase it.

Mickey Lake USA149
A disciple of the Norse God of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker.

ROBERT ALPE
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2006 3:13 pm
Location: Sydney, AUSTRALIA
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Don't give up hope please Axel

Post by ROBERT ALPE » Mon Aug 14, 2006 12:32 am

Dear Axel,

Thank you for your POST on the Class Layers discussion papers. And thank Fred and Mickey also for their quality comments.

Quite honestly, you typify the person I had in mind when I was thinking about ASPIRATIONAL Dragon sailors. It is interesting that almost all of us can easily identify with you, including your endeavours to better your racing skills and by association, your results. We still retain the love of the classic design of the Dragon. It never fades, only grows, as one begins to tame her.

And there are many sailors out there willing to give of their time and expertise to make you a better Dragon sailor. So please keep reading these posts and in due course, we will show you what is possible.

Regards

Robert Alpe :D

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