Never let a gust take you by surprise. The resulting heeling slows the boat and causes dramatic side slip. Instead, pre-feather before the gust hits, even if it means backing the jib beyond comfort. When the full-on gust arrives, the boat should be feathered just the right amount into the wind to keep the boat relatively flat.
I hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable holiday. Coming into a new season, there will be some more big changes coming. I am changing the number of races for the year and fate of Club Championship; as well as considering making some rating adjustments.
The 2016 season will be five series long with 4 races per series, instead of six. In between each series, there will be a bye week (a week of no racing). We will run Series 1, have a week of no racing and start Series 2 the following week. The main reason for this change is to give race management and racers a break among the intense WNR schedule.
For 2016, there will not be a Club Championship Series. The intensity of this series tends to drive competitors to the limit of pushing boundaries and sometimes being careless resulting in minor damage to borrowed boats. The last few years, I have spent many hours and dollars making repairs because of the club championship races. Over the years, it has been a challenge to locate 4-5 like boats and then spending hours and dollars to make them even. The frustrating part is the time and money involved after the series of races to get the boats back into original condition. There has never been any major incidents, but mainly minor repairs needed. It is also frustrating to give a loaning boat owner my word that their boat will be taken care of because these are some of the best racers in our area, and turn around to tell the boat owner there are some repairs to be done. I know there are some racers that claim this is all part of sailboat racing, but this does not fly very well to someone who has dropped thousands of dollars on fixing up their boat to keep it nice.
With these changes, we will be revamping the Notice of Race as well as the Sailing Instructions. We also realize some boats perform differently in the lake than their rating represents and we have some ideas on implementing adjustments. We will either implement a Clear Lake rating adjustment that factors in keel depth and the sail area to displacement ratio or use US Sailing Yardstick for everyone. I am still evaluating which will be the fairest system.