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2012 Wayfarer Midwinters
some observations by and tips from
our champion, Trevor Fisher
a work in progress: updated 8 March 2012
From: Trevor Fisher
Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2012 5:50 AM
Subject: Thanks

Hi Al,
Richard has just forwarded me some more pics - thanks! 
I just wanted to say thank you again, to you and everyone else in the Wayfarer Class and at the sailing club in Eustis who made the event so good and in particular, to Richard Watterson for putting up with me in the back of his nice new Mark 4!  Without exception, the North American Wayfarer fleet are a pretty special group of people.
I am pretty poor at speaking off the cuff, but really meant all I said at the prizegiving.  Like you, I have sailed at a few events around the place and without doubt, the Midwinters was one of the most well organised, enjoyable events I have ever sailed at.  Richard Johnson summed it up by saying 'boats, beer and friends'!
The racing was spectacularly well run, with no waiting around, good courses, good starts, no unnecessary postponements or mark changes etc etc.....  The folk in the club - the Lingemans, the Murtos, Andy Douma and the MC Scow folks and others were all very welcoming and made the event what it is.
I repeat my invitation to all to come to Ireland.  We have space in the house, access to loads of sailing kit, boats, etc, so all you will need to bring is yourself!
If I don't manage to come across for the next Midwinters, I will definitely see you all (at the Worlds) in Toronto, but hopefully some of you will manage to get to this side of the Atlantic before then!
And, it was great to finally meet you!
Thanks again,

From: Al Schonborn [mailto:uncle-al3854@cogeco.ca]
Sent: 13 February 2012 22:58
To: Trevor Fisher W8848

Hi, Trevor:
Finally got home last night, after Marc and I decided we would go home a day early and pass on the LESC club races. Thanks for the lovely letter which I am asking you to let me post on our CWA site - and I would also like to copy (in the next instalment)  the various people you thank/praise. BTW, in my not all that humble opinion, your off-the-cuff speech was excellent.
Progress is being made on the pics editing front for Mids coverage and I hope to do the results posting as well as a partial report tonight. Meanwhile, I can't wait to try out my newly learned techniques at the northern regattas and I have another question for you: Do you sail small shifty lakes at all? If so, does your flat at all costs philosophy apply there as well?
Now back to Mids work. Thanks for the invite to Ireland though I do very much hope that we'll see you at the 2013 Mids and even the 2012 DM (Danish Nats) in late August.
Best regards,
Uncle Al (W3854)
PS: Did you like the pic of you and Bubbles first to the windward mark alone in the dark skies? I thought it was great and asked Richard to send it in case you didn't have it.

To: Trevor Fisher
Cc: Butch Minson ; Trevor Fisher W8848 ; Tony Krauss W864 ; Ted Benedict W2415 ; Scott Tillema MC2107 & C Scow ; Richard Watterson W10862 ; Richard Johnson W10139 ; Richard Hartley W Copyright Holder ; Peter Rahn W286 ; Nick Seraphinoff W10864 ; Mary Krauss ; Mark Hartley ; Marc Bennnett W10861 ; Julie Seraphinoff ; Jim Lingeman W2136 ; Jim & Linda Heffernan W2458/W1066 ; Dotty and Mike Murto ; Denis Oldham LESC ; Dave Moring ; Andy Douma W9913 ; Al Schonborn W3854 ; Dave & Joan Williams
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 1:37 PM
Subject: Re: Thanks

Hi again, Trevor - and all those I have copied:
Great stuff, Trevor, which inspired me to rush out into the web and buy the two books you recommended - see below:
Delivery estimate: Feb 21 2012 - Mar 7 2012

1 "Sail, Race and Win"
Twiname, Eric; Hardcover; CDN$ 2.09
In Stock
   Sold by: wobcanada

1 "Wind Strategy"
Houghton, David; Paperback; CDN$ 9.37
In Stock
   Sold by: wobcanada
Will respond/comment in green below, but first have to admit I cannot find the coaching materials I thought I had copied from your computer. If I give you the secret code to my site FTP, can you (re)send those to me?
Best regards,
Uncle Al (W3854)

From: Trevor Fisher
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 4:51 AM

Hi Al,
By all means copy what I wrote - I am sure I have left out some important people (you could add Scott Tilema and the Flying Scot folks to my list!), but it is through my forgetfulness rather than a deliberate snub!  I have written something for Linda Heffernan and passed it on to her for Skimmer, I also wrote a short piece for Yachts and Yachthing, the main dinghy magazine in the UK.  I did use one of the pics that I copied from you - I hope that is ok?  One of my (many!) hobby horses over here is the lack of coverage of the Wayfarer class in the UK and the failure to blow our own trumpet.  There was never any mention of Richard and Mark going to the North Americans, for example...   lovely report, Trevor - one that I have promptly "stolen" for the Whiffle Web as part of our Mids coverage (so that it will appear on our 2012 CWA Yearbook DVD where the link won't necessarily be enough)
To answer your question - where I sail regularly at East Down YC on Strangford, the sailing area would be smaller than Lake Eustis, and last years 'Inlands' in Ireland were held on a lake that would be less than a mile across!Have a look at a map of Strangford Lough -  from the northern-most tip of the lough, to the outside of the Narrows is about 20 miles.  The lough is about 4 or 5 miles wide at its widest and is a great cruising ground.  Check out the strength of the tide on the generator structure! and http://www.panoramio.com/photo/3941583  for an idea of our sailnig area.  This pic is looking S / SE towards 'the Narrows' the exit to the sea.  Our sailing area is at the south end of the lough.  Our prevailing wind is generally from the NW through to S, so is always off the land and quite shifty.  Wednesday evenings, when we hold our club races, tend to be light through the summer.   will look at this at more length when time permits
I do sail 'flat at all costs' except when heeling the boat to steer (bearing off etc) and when the wind is really light and I need to heel the boat slightly to keep the boom to leeward.  I could send a brief page with my thoughts on this if you want?   What I said to a few folks (and what I think) is that it doesnt matter what we do in the boats to be more comfortable / faster / more efficient / happier......but we need to be able to justify it to ourselves.  This can apply to rig tension, sheeting angles, adjustable bridles, mast chocks (think Mike Mac and Ian Porter!), sailing flat or pretty much anything else.......  If we can reason and justify things for ourselves, we will be happier and more confident, sailing in a better frame of mind will be better than doing sometihng that we cant reason in our own head. I couldn't agree more, Trevor!!
Sailing flat at all costs gives the biggest projected aerofoil / sail area possible, gives us an ideal hull shape and does not result in any force increasing displacement.  There is an arguement that heeling gives a hull shape that tends to 'squeeze' the boat to windward, but I dont agree.  To get to this shape, we are creating a bigger bow wave, requiring more energy, and there is quite a big force from the sails towards the sea, increasing displacement..........Its easier to explain in diagrams, which I can do if you want!.   definitely a new trick that this old dog will try this summer - still trying to figure out how this will affect my shift-playing on the very small lakes
I may get to the midwinters next year, but it is unlikely that I will make the Danish Nationals.....getting Denmark from ireland is very expensive, especially in August.  I will be in France in July, at a wedding with my family, so even suggesting Denmark to my wife wouldnt go down well!   Rats!! looks like we won't meet again then until 2013  :(  speaking of which, after Mids coverage is done, I will set up the 2013 Worlds site which will start with a poll about course preferences and # of races desired - Marc Bennett and I decided that our committee should let each timely entry vote on these questions: e.g. 7 or 9 races in 5 days of racing? courses: all sausages, all Olympic triangles or 50/50?
There are a lot of really good photos - I am sure I have the one you mention somewhere, but havent had time to go through all of the pics.   have copied said pic (above) into my on-line version of this e-mail exchange

All the best,
From: richard watterson
Cc: Trevor Fisher ; Butch Minson ; Tony Krauss W864 ; Ted Benedict W2415 ; Scott Tillema MC2107 & C Scow ; Richard Johnson W10139 ; Richard Hartley W Copyright Holder ; Peter Rahn W286 ; Nick Seraphinoff W10864 ; Mary Krauss ; Mark Hartley ; Marc Bennnett W10861 ; Julie Seraphinoff ; Jim Lingeman W2136 ; Jim & Linda Heffernan W2458/W1066 ; Dotty and Mike Murto ; Denis Oldham LESC ; Dave Moring ; Andy Douma W9913 ; Dave & Joan Williams
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 2:14 PM

Hi Everyone;

I feel compelled to correct Trevor.  Far from "putting up with him..", it was a great experience to sail with him.  "Putting up with him.." amounted to him solving in a quick and efficient way the various problems that come up like blocks coming unscrewed from shackle and falling into the floor, spinnaker halyard twisted hopelessly on the forestay and the countless times that I was looking forward obsessing about all the wrong things but he was in the back of the boat handling things while I dawdled.  It was as much his ability to stay unruffled and calm as anything else that contributed to our success.  Trevor is a great guy and we are lucky to have had his company during midwinters.

Richard w
From: Trevor Fisher
Cc: richard watterson
Sent: Monday, February 20, 2012 6:06 AM
Subject: Mids pics postings

Hi Al,
The pics look great on the website......it's always good to look through pics of events and I will certainly be pulling some out for a coaching evening I will be doing in the club here in March!
Richard and I seemed to sail with a lot of bend in our mast (which was more than I wanted but probably suited the windy conditions on in the first 6 races!) - have a look at pic 110s and pic w on the same page - way more bend than anyone else!  We did put some chocks in, but didnt have enough, Richard and I spoke about using a bit of scrap wood to fill the space, but decided against it.  At least the mast was not overbent  (which would show if there were big creases from the  spreaders down to the clew) and the mainsail set well.  I did sail with quite a lot of vang, especially on day 1, so that would explain some of the bend, although there are pics where there is not enough vang, such as pic g on Friday Race 2.3 - way too much twist in the sail and top batten nowhere near parallel to the boom.  The top tell tale would definitely have been streaming here!  I also had the jib sheet travellers set as far back as possible - this happened by mistake: they were set about 4 or 5 notches forward,  I tried to adjust one and it slipped all the way to the back of the track.   This seemed to be fast, and we pointed higher, so we left it here for the rest of the event! 
Our mast was raked quite far forward, probably about as far forward as it should be, so if we had decided to rake it back a bit, we would have needed to move the jib travellers forward to maintain the same leech tension on the jib.  We may have gone a bit better upwind with the mast raked back slightly, but would have lost out downwind.  I am not so good downwind, so the balance was probably about right.
I dont see many pics of me sailing a boat, so am happy to see that the boat is reasonably flat most of the time (but there are lots of examples when I dont keep the boat flat, some at key moments like bearing off at the windward mark - ha and hb - definitley not as good as Marc / Julie and you / Tony in o and p on the same page - but a bit better than Nick and Peter, 111y!)

Sent: Monday, February 20, 2012 11:33 AM
Subject: Re: Mids pics postings

Hi, Trevor:
What a treat it is to have someone really putting my efforts in the pics posting dept to good use. Don't have much time today since today is Weekly Whiffle day (after a three-week break!) and I want to include your observations in this issue.
Just a couple of points for discussion therefore:
  • Tony and I did notice your boom end seemed to point up a bit much of the time - we had lots of opportunity to observe this, unfortunately!
  • my contribution to the world of jib tuning: in 1990, Mike Mac came to Toronto to coach us (see various items in the WIT) - one morning he had us tip a W onto its side on the TSCC lawn and asked Mike Codd (now CWA Chair) to sheet the genoa in for a beat. Mike then invited us to watch the jib leech at spreader height as he had Mike Codd sheet in one inch. That one inch brought the upper leech in 5-6". I was making my 8 hours of W Coaching Tapes (crude video work but fun memories of the past) at the time and eventually realized something even Mike Mac had never thought of or seen: You can end up with the correct leech tension on the genoa from anywhere on the track since correct leech tension = tension that keeps the upper leech from falling off and from being in too tight. And that balance can be achieved by simply adjusting sheet tension, i.e. sheeting in or out until the desired balance is achieved. I had not moved out jib leads in a good 20 years when last spring I decided to get rid of most of my jib track length on each side of the boat and this has worked just fine. Don't know if you noticed that at the Midwinters? If not, see pic below from Midwinters 2011:

click here for XL image

All for now. Best regards,
Uncle Al (W3854)

Cc: Butch Minson ; Tony Krauss W864 ; Ted Benedict W2415 ; Scott Tillema MC2107 & C Scow ; Richard Watterson W10862 ; Richard Johnson W10139 ; Richard Hartley W Copyright Holder ; Peter Rahn W286 ; Nick Seraphinoff W10864 ; Mary Krauss ; Mark Hartley ; Marc Bennnett W10861 ; Julie Seraphinoff ; Jim Lingeman W2136 ; Jim & Linda Heffernan W2458/W1066 ; Dotty and Mike Murto ; Denis Oldham LESC ; Dave Moring ; Andy Douma W9913 ; Dave & Joan Williams
Sent: Monday, February 20, 2012 11:49 AM

Hi, Al,
Our boom was high, as the mast was raked quite far forward - right on the limit of what is recommended (I cant remember the exact distance - 23' 9''?).  We were also using Richard's Evolution Sails which may be cut slightly differently to other sails.  However the forward mast rake will have the effect of making the boom appear higher.   I used quite a lot of vang in the wondy weather, but probably not as much as I would use in my own boat, with a smaller crew.
I agree with what you say about jib leech tension - this is where the streamers on the leech are really useful.  If you think of it crudely, when the mast is raked forward, it has the same effect as moving the jib traveller forward, effectively increasing the 'pull' on the leech, for the same amount of sheet tension applied by the crew. Raking the mast back has the opposite effect - effectively reducing the 'pull' on the leech, and requiring the crew to pull the jib in more to obtain the same jib tension.  Mike Mac explains leech tension really well, in the boat park and makes the point that 1 inch on the sheet has a huge effect on the shape of the jib.  Richard was making the same point, while we were sailing, and did play about with the sheet tension.
I look forward to the latest Whiffle!

still more enlightenment from our 2012 Midwinters champion, Trevor Fisher:
From: nseraphinoff@comcast.net [mailto:nseraphinoff@comcast.net]
Sent: Sat 3/3/2012 14:05
To: Trevor Fisher

<>Hi, Trevor,

 It was an absolute pleasure to have met you and raced against you. I hope your snake pictures came out good. Something you said during the regatta caught my ear and I would like to hear more about it. It was probably obvious to you that I do better in heavy air and it is the same for Peter. It is very easy to say "Yeah they are both 200 hundred pounders!" but I don't think thats all of it. I was always better in heavy air than the light stuff. Even in the early eighties when my wife and I only totaled 300 lbs we always did better in heavy air. I think you said something about technique and would like to hear more about it.  <>    

Best Wishes.


From: "Trevor Fisher"
To: nseraphinoff@comcast.net
Sent: Sunday, March 4, 2012 3:55:16 AM

Hi Nick,
It's good to hear back from you.....Its 8.25 a.m. here and I had a 5 a.m. start. I am sitting on a ferry to Scotland to spend a week working on a winter mountaineering course - very different weather to Florida!
I know what you mean about the whole 'heavy weather thing'.  I always did much better in heavy weather, in all the classes I have sailed in and even with light crews - in the first race of last year's Brit Nationals, we were definitely one of the fastest boats upwind in the first race (gusting 33 knots!) but there was only one boat in the fleet with a lighter team.

I was lucky, many years ago, to spend a lot of time sailing with a really good friend, who was also a great helm.  We swapped around a bit in the boat and took turns crewing and helming.  He really drilled into me the importance of keeping the boat flat - once that was mastered, I could concentrate on everything else.  Have a look through the pics from the Midwinters, at how much we all sail heeled over, which is definitiely not quick! 
I think that once people are more confident in stronger winds, they automatically do better, everything is a bit more intuitive. Having said that, we still need to 'go the right way' and going the right way is something we can all learn.

There are people who are good in lighter winds, they just seem to be able to sniff out a breeze, or be in the right place at the right time.  I used to always hate light winds (and it's still not my favourite condition), but I have tried really hard to learn what to do.  I think, in light winds, people tend to take risks, hit corners, take chances.  In light winds, we have to do the opposite!   If we take risks, it sometimes pays off big time, but mostly we just end up down the pan!

<>Jim and Linda pulled out a big lead in one of the races in the Midwinters and led by quite a way.  Years ago,  I would have tried to catch them by taking a big risk, and probably would have ended up losing more places, whcih would have resulted in me disliking light winds even more.  Nowadays, I tend to sail the percentages, to try and do the right thing with regard to the fleet as a whole, and ignore individual boats. 

In that race, I still 'went with the fleet' sticking to all the classic rules of playing the percentages.  Luckily, the fleet went the 'right way' and we ended up catching Jim and Linda, but I still would have been more than happy to get a 2nd or 3rd in that race, as the wnd was so patchy.  In the scheme of things, I wasn't trying to catch them, but was trying to beat the majority of the fleet - it was more important to do this in each race, than to try and beat all boats in some races.  This was particularly true at the Midwinters, with no throwouts. This was more down to the fleet doing the right thing than me being really smart!

The general rules are:
  • Tack to cross people when you can
  • Dont let them cross you
  • If you think one side of the beat is favoured, go to that side, slightly further than your nearest competitiors, but no further!
  • Try to keep toward the middle of the race course
  • In really light winds. it is important to try and work out the wind before the start, make a plan and stick to it.  In light winds we need to be brave, as getting a couple of knots more wind makes a huge differnece to boat speed, no matter what the direction of the wind is.  So.....even if the wind is in the wrong direction, it is still better to be sailing, and moving, on a header than it is to be stopped on a lift!
  • in medium winds, boat speed is really important, as most people can get their boats up to speed in these conditions
  • In strong winds, boat handling is important, keep it going as everyone else falls around you!
<>I have a few coaching presentations whcih I have put together, which I can send to you if you would like.
Interestingly, many people love strong winds, and are pretty quick in a blow.  They also make it clear that they don't like light winds, which makes it much easier to beat them in light winds!  In the Nationals last year, a few boats had good starts in a few of the lighter races, but took huge chances, sailing way out to one side of the course.  It just doesn't work all the time.  In a regatta, a consistent series of results puts you near the top, so I try to be consistent rather than up and down.
I hope this makes some sense - but is probably pretty woolly!
Feel free to ask away.........Race strategy is something I really like trying to work out, and thinking about answers to questions is great.  Sailing with Richard was great in that respect, as I tend to think out loud and talk a lot when I am sailnig, Richard tends to ask a lot of questions, so there was quite a lot of chat in the boat at the Midwinters.

I will certainly try to get across to the Mid winters next year, I emailed Al and he said he may be able to get a boat, as I may be able to get my crew from last year's Nationals across.........
I am looking forward to seeing all of you folks next year, if not in Eustis, then in Toronto!
Best regards,