How do you gauge your speed

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by Skygod1, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. Ross B

    Ross B Guest


    its a lot easier when you know what "the feeling" already feels like! lol

    I know what it feels like, so it works for me, God bless years of private coaching
     
  2. Josef

    Josef New Member

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    God bless years of no coaching whatsoever in my case =p
    Haven't had any coaching since I moved over to laser from opti. I have alot of experienced highlevel sailers at my club (not in Laser though) and in my family though so I guess I get something from them.

    Anyway, if you got the feeling - great, if you don't - whatever. Maybe you'll get it after more time on the water, maybe not. Dosn't matter to much, if you don't have it you probably have something else that you can use =P
     
  3. Ross B

    Ross B Guest

  4. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Brmmm Brmmm

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    hmm. seems like this is logic vs. experience at war with feel. The scenario you've constructed with logic here, may not actually happen in real life.

    I'm not sure you would feel that you were in "the groove" if you weren't. Some things don't work in reverse, or work if perverse.

    It is not a certainty that you would be using "wrong" technique. You may be using raw undeveloped good technique.

    Sailing at your best, using feel, experience and technique will create your "groove". You won't suddenly fall into Ben Ainslie's groove one day. It will still be yours.

    From a real life perspective, if you get to feeling you are going slow during your solo training and it's getting you down - then go fast!

    Break onto a reach (or whatever point of sail is your "fastest") and go balls out! If there is any amount of wind it's hard to go slow on a reach.

    It's a mind game too. Break the mental brick wall of "slow" that you hit by going around the wall, instead of through it by hammering away at a solution that isn't coming.

    Stay alert and look for subtle accidental windows of opportunity to learn about some other part of your sailing technique tool kit. There is always something that jumps out at you, even when you're having a real crap session. When you see it, go chase it and learn about it. It's like taking the next exit off "slow" highway and going to look at a smaller interesting town.

    Some other day you may be "fast" and feel it and see it. Who's to say that putting one problem down and tackling another isn't gaining you the skills to tackle the problem you left alone? lol.

    One thing is for sure, wandering round thinking " arrgh! I'm slow" isn't improving your sailing experience. Feel that and know it.
     
  5. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Brmmm Brmmm

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    how long is that boat in the picture on his wall? :D

    Today, I demonstrated that if I ever had it, somehow I lost it, and hopefully I'll get it back when I need it, tomorrow.

    I have named a new technique:

    'De Swimage'

    developed in France during a particularly cold winter. It doesn't translate directly into english, but means loosely, 'he who swims'. :rolleyes:
     
  6. Ross B

    Ross B Guest

    remember, Experience is Everything!
     
  7. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    You did something right or they did something wrong- it can be something other than speed. In fact you might have been going slower than the boat you have passed and, unless you know what it is you or they have done any lesson is worthless. And "knowing" might not be possible as you do not know what conditions the other boat was sailing in (wind strength, wind direction, tide, foul wind from other boats/fleets, etc.) and what the other guy was doing (e.g. having a drink, food, phone call, etc.)


    This is a reason why concentration on "speed" is missing a lot of the point. I wonder if some here are still learning sailing and yet have to appreciate what is involved in racing. I wonder if some might benefit a lot from sailing two handed boats match racing. Can teach you a lot about what is needed to win - and it's not always speed.


    Ian
     
  8. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Brmmm Brmmm

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    Within the context of training alone, here are some basic, concrete (but not easily defined in mph/kph/knots) things that say you are approaching or going “fast”:

    Sound

    Under planning conditions in a short chop, you will hear the boat thud occasionally as it skips over waves. Your centreboard may start to hum.

    In a short chop, beating, the front of your boat is not slamming as it leaves waves.

    Your sail does not flap as you pass through a tack.

    There is a hissing noise coming from the rudder.

    Your bailer is making a sucking sound.


    Feel

    At planning speeds, your helm becomes lighter and may track easily in a neutral position. Boat goes in a straight line easily, is stable and has no natural tendancy to bear away or go higher.

    As you accelerate, you need to trim your main closer in or you begin to luff.

    Very little movement of tiller is required for adjustments in boat direction.

    During gybes, the boom does not to crash so violently.

    At no time is the tiller trying to violently pull your hand into the boat.

    You think the length of your hiking stick may need to increase.


    Sight

    At planning speeds, the white water leaving your hull moves aft to around where the centreboard leaves the boat.

    As you accelerate, the windicator will appear to move “forward” - towards the front most position of it’s arc.

    You are travelling faster than the waves: Wave speed in knots = 3x the wave period in seconds. You’ll need to make an estimate of wave speed from a stationary point. Maybe a buoy. This will only be of use if the swell is large enough and uniform enough to see separate waves easily.

    Your wake becomes flatter. The first rise of wake moves to the centre line of the rudder, not the aft quarter or turn of the bilge.

    While beating and hiked, the average waterline rests at, or is above, the turn of the keel to the stem – or “cutwater”

    The main sheet does not catch on the aft corner during gybes.

    You are fully hiked as far back in the cockpit as you can without jamming the tiller.

    There is no time when you are not either entering or leaving a wave trough while surfing.

    Your boom end does not “trip” in the water.


    No doubt there are more. Some are symptoms of other techniques. The centreboard humming is a fault, but it doesn't hum while you're going slow.

    There could be another list regarding going fast strategically, but finding someone willing to give away their trade secrets could be difficult.

    As Deimos points out, what you do with the speed strategically, and whether you can actually be your fastest given the layout of a specific course are additional issues.

    The concept of boat “feel” I find interesting. If some people do not “feel” their boats and they have some other way of “knowing”, I’d like to hear how they do it.
     
  9. abenn

    abenn New Member

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    Sorry to be a boring engineer in all this discussion about "feel", but if you're out on your own and REALLY want to learn what gives you the best speed, why not go hi tech like the Vuiton cup boats and get a Velocitek S10 GPS Speedometer. Gives you VMG every second or so and designed for mounting on a dinghy + data download and display of your entire training session on a PC.
    No I'm not a rep for them but seriously considered getting one myself as I find it hard to get others to come out practising with me and having started sailing at 48, am having trouble getting the "feel", "groove", "force" or whatever.
     
  10. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    What use is a VMG from a GPS alone ? Without a wind direction component the VMG cannot be in terms of Velocity Made Good to Windward (as the GPS does not know the "windward" direction). What you are interested in when training /practising for speed is VMG upwind (or downwind) and if your electronics does not know the wind direction it cannot give you this information


    If the GPS has no wind direction sensor then the VMG can only be a VMG in the direction of the mark (waypoint you have programmed-in). Thus, if you program in the position of the mark you can get a VMG in the direction of the mark. If the mark is dead up/down wind (with neutral tide, etc.) then this will be a useful indication. However, first windshift and your up/down wind VMG will change (even though your speed and pointing have remained identical). So what have you done right or wrong (for the increase/decrease in your VMG) - answer nothing because you are looking at the "wrong thing".


    Again, to get a good VMG towards a point tactics starts playing an important role. To get a training indication of speed and pointing you need something with a few more sensors.


    When using electronics you need to make sure you understand the limitations of what you are using them for or they can be counter-productive.


    Ian
     
  11. Skygod1

    Skygod1 Member

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    Regardless of direction that I choose to sail I want to know that I am going as fast as I possibly can. Some thing like the Velocitek device can tell me that the configuration I am using is the most efficient. Whether I make progress towards a specific destination is a matter of tactics. As long as I sail on a straight course I want to sail that course as fast as possible. Once I have established technique and configuration with regard to wind direction, I will apply that to tactics.
     
  12. Josef

    Josef New Member

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    I guess watching for signs on the boat or using a GPS or something might work if you have perfect seabreeze conditions or something to practice in.
    I don't, I sail mostly on a reasonably small lake with quite dodgy winds, using something like that wouldn't give any usefull readout at all as the wind changes so much.

    Need to eather go by feel or have another boat really close to you.
     
  13. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    With regard to the "gauging your speed" a GPS can give you too readings SOG and VMG (to a point). VMG to a waypoint is not useful in the context of this thread as it takes no account of wind direction, tide, etc. as I described above. The wind direction is normally changing most of the time. Thus a speed over ground is of very limited use (except in the very rare very stable wind conditions). Just ask yourself - why do people sail dinghy races with a compass - to detect wind shift. If you look as wind shifts, they are not (normally) sudden but the wind has a gradually oscillating direction. Thus, as you are sailing along, so the wind is changing direction so you either change direction as well (messing up the SOG reading due to the damping in the GPS) or you hold your course, in which case your speed may increase or decrease (depending on your being headed or lifted).


    Electronics has uses but, as I said before, you need to appreciate what they are actually telling you are they are worse than useless.

    (I've been sailing with loads of top of the range boat electronics for years, then spending hours after the race analysing the performance against the boat polars through PC based logging and analysis software so have come to appreciate a bit about the use and misuse of different readings available.)

    If you are not interested in listening (or reading what I wrote) then I cannot be bothered to keep repeating/explaining myself.


    Ian
     
  14. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    For Lasers (and most dinghys) I would agree. If you don't have "the feel" then practice and practice until to develop it. Buying electronic devices will probably make things worse and stop you developing a feel for things. For me, sailing has always been a game of skill and fortunately conditions are always slightly different that seeking "recipes" is only helpful in the really early days (whilst learning).


    Ian
     
  15. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Brmmm Brmmm

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    skygod1,

    can you describe what it is you see and look at and do when you go sailing?

    You say you have no boat feel. What do you use? What is going through your mind when you sail?
     
  16. Skygod1

    Skygod1 Member

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    I have feel for the boat, that's not the problem. I also have feel for my airplane. My discomfort lies in the fact that when I fly ( flying and sailing have a lot in common ) I am aware that your feelings can lie to you. Thus the discussion now. While flying and trusting your "feelings" over your instruments leads to accidents. I am aware that sailing isnt as fatalistic if you err, you just dont go as fast.
    Currently I watch the tales on my sail for proper trim and try to coordinate the vang and cunningham adjustments to what is recommended. I go off of the feelings of velocity I recieve from the boat and the feel of power and acceleration I feel in the sails. I was wanting to know what other indications that others use. Mr Chainsaw was very helpful with his post. Seeing Ians makes me cautious about buying expensive electronics.
    My whole dilema is that I dont want to develop bad habits because what I am doing "feels" like its correct.
     
  17. Ross B

    Ross B Guest

    gotta learn to ignore them feelings....

    get a coach, he'll tell you when your sucking and when your not
     
  18. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Brmmm Brmmm

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    In that case I think you will never be fooled because your attitude is one that looks for improvement and knows it can be difficult and is aware of the traps. That kind of attribute engenders continuous learning and supports achievement.

    What's wrong with that? Anyone who's good at anything has that attribute. If you didn't have that attribute, you'd probably have crashed your plane by now.

    Relax. Be sure that you're on the right track, whether you believe it or not. It's of no concern which road you chose to take to arrive at "speed city".
     
  19. Ross B

    Ross B Guest

    if there's one thing I learned, it's that you absolutely have to commit, you can't second guess your self. When comes to the start, you gotta ask do I go right, or left? And you have to pick a side, and stay there. If your sailing a 5 mile long course, you cant switch side the whole time. COMMIT! And thinking your right till you know for a fact your wrong always helps
     
  20. viktor188924

    viktor188924 New Member

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    That makes a lot of sense.
     

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