Thursday, September 18, 2014

Reflections from the President - US Sailing by the Numbers

by Tom Hubbell, President of US Sailing

I am used to people being a bit off balance when they encounter their doctor, me, around town outside of the medical setting. I have a strategy for dealing with that.  Now I’m learning a strategy to answer the quizzical expression leading to the inevitable question, what does it mean to be the President of US Sailing? 

Here is the answer: What it means is spending some serious time around enthusiastic sailors engaged in the sport. 

What are “we” doing? We are fully engaged to make US Sailing the leading source of expertise ready to assist local clubs and sailing centers. All of us who commit to being members are doing that.

Here is a capsule of examples that represent US Sailing's involvement and influence on our sport:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dave Perry's Racing Rules Quiz of the Week

With 30 seconds to go before the starting signal, Boat P (on port tack) on a beam reach is approaching Boat S (on starboard tack) who is on a close-hauled course. P proceeds to luff and then cross head to wind all in one motion, ending up to leeward of S.

Just after P passes head to wind she holds her course, telling S to keep clear because she is on starboard tack and a leeward boat. S luffs to avoid contact with P and protests.

You are on the protest committee; how would you decide this?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dave Perry's Rules Quiz of the Week

Boats X and Y are sailing dead-downwind halfway down a run. X, whose boom is out over her port side, is clear astern of Y, whose boom is out over her starboard side.

X is blanketing Y’s wind and is catching up quickly. Neither boat has changed her course in the five or so lengths preceding the incident.

X finally catches up and her bow makes contact with Y’s transom. There is no damage or injury. Both protest each other.

You are on the protest committee; how would you decide this?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Reflections from the President - Year 69 of the Thistle

By Tom Hubbell, President of US Sailing
The Thistle Nationals and the Thistle Class in general give us a test case. What is the formula for success? One challenge: the National Championship always involves some waiting. We visited as we drifted among the flying Frisbee, the passing handball, and opportunities to see centerboards clearly in the azure blue water of Lake Michigan.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Dave Perry's Rules Quiz of the Week


Boats S (on starboard tack) and P (on port tack), both close-hauled, are converging on a beat. P will safely cross S. However, when they are less than two lengths apart, the wind veers (shifts to the right) ten degrees. S luffs (changes her course) in response to the windshift, such that P is unable to keep clear. There is minor contact with no damage or injury, and both boats protest. You are on the protest committee; how would you decide this?


Boat S is penalized under rule 16.1, Changing Course. Rule 16.1 states, “When a right-of-way boat changes course, she shall give the other boat room to keep clear.” S changes course when so close to P that P is unable to keep clear and there is contact. Therefore, S failed to give P room to keep clear, thereby breaking rule 16.1. The fact that S’s change of course was in response to a windshift is not relevant to the application of rule 16.1.

P broke rule 10, On Opposite Tacks, but is exonerated (not penalized) under rule 64.1(a), Decisions: Penalties and Exoneration, because she was compelled to
break rule 10 by S’s breach of rule 16.1.

S also broke rule 14, Avoiding Contact; but as the right-of-way boat, she is exonerated (not penalized) for breaking rule 14 as the contact did not cause damage or injury (see rule 14(b)). P did not break rule 14, because S changed course so close to P that it was not possible for P to avoid the contact.

Dave Perry's 100 Best Racing Rules Quizzes highlights specific aspects of the racing rules in a fun format designed to help you become more familiar with The Racing Rules of Sailing. Increase your knowledge of the rules and your racing will improve. Purchase this publication today!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bareboat Cruising: Weather and the Sailing Environment,35.html

Before you leave the charter dock, check the weather prediction for the next few days. Local weather stations will carry up-to-date information. Rapid and/or large barometric pressure movements usually indicate major changes in the weather.

East Coast
East Coast weather patterns change constantly as the continental land mass reconfigures passing weather fronts. Cool Canadian highs mix with warm, moist air from the south to create towering cumulus clouds which can become thunderstorms in the warmer months. Cold fronts move unpredictably but are usually followed by puffy and shifty northwesterlies. Early summer fog is common along New England’s shores, particularly in the warm days of May and June.

West Coast
West Coast weather forms over the Pacific Ocean. Winter storms track across the ocean and bring rain. From April through October, a huge, relatively stationary offshore high pressure system, called the Pacific High, provides sunny weather and steady westerly breezes. Coastal areas experience regular sea breezes as the land heats up and the air flows from the sea to the land. Those areas adjacent to warm inland valleys frequently experience very strong afternoon winds and fog during the summer. Strong westerlies sometimes counter tidal currents and create unusually short and choppy waves such as can be found on San Francisco Bay. Winter cold fronts over the desert cause strong easterlies, called Santa Anas, which can extend many miles offshore in Southern California.

Island Weather
In the tropics, where large land masses are scarce, trade winds predominate. Usually lighter in the morning, these winds peak at around 20 knots in the evening. Puffy, flat-bottomed clouds scud across the brilliant blue sky. Close to the equator, the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) features light winds, squalls, and warm, overcast weather. The Caribbean’s easterly Christmas winds may bring some wind velocities up to 30 knots. Spring features lighter breezes and dry weather.

*For the best cruising instruction like this, purchase Bareboat Cruising on the US Sailing Store. US Sailing's network of accredited schools offer seven levels to help you sharpen your skills and gain confidence. Learn more

Dave Perry's Rules Quiz of the Week,726.html

A race committee boat is anchored at the port end of the starting line. Boat X starts and immediately catches the race committee boat’s anchor line on her centerboard. Reacting quickly, X’s helmsman heels the boat while her crew goes to leeward, pushes the anchor line down and frees it from the centerboard. X does not touch the committee boat, nor does she do a turn after the incident. Boat Y protests. You are on the protest committee; how would you decide this?

Boat Y’s protest is disallowed. X does not break rule 31, Touching a Mark, because she does not touch the mark. The definition Mark reads, “An anchor line or an object attached accidentally to a mark is not part of it.” Furthermore, X does not propel herself by pulling on the anchor line; therefore she does not break rule 42, Propulsion.

Dave Perry's 100 Best Racing Rules Quizzes highlights specific aspects of the racing rules in a fun format designed to help you become more familiar with The Racing Rules of Sailing. Increase your knowledge of the rules and your racing will improve. Purchase this publication today!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Speed & Smarts: Avoid the laylines and corners of the beat

By David Dellenbaugh

One reason why you should sail the longer tack first is so you avoid getting to the laylines and corners. These are usually bad places to be because:

• you risk overstanding the mark and therefore sailing extra distance;
• you will lose to other boats if you get lifted or headed; and
• other boats may tack on you and give you bad air all the way to the mark (or else you’ll have to do two extra tacks and overstand the mark).

For more racing tips and resources from David Dellenbaugh, visit the Speed and Smarts website

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Reflections from the President

By Tom Hubbell, President of US Sailing

On Father’s Day I got to race my Thistle at the home fleet with my daughter, Sophie. That was fun! For the three weekends before that I raced Thistle regattas in Ohio and New York, and one day of a C Scow regatta on Cuba Lake in New York. One woman said she heard the President was coming to the regatta and that she expected to see a guy in a blazer and regalia; guess she was pleasantly surprised that presidents of US Sailing wear dinghy sailing clothes and actually go sailing.

I keep a tally just for fun. I have gone sailing on 32 days, experienced seven kinds of boats, competed in 29 races, in 10 locations scattered coast-to-coast in six states. There is a recurring theme at all those venues: energetic, outdoor-minded people who are fun to be with and who are nuts about trimming the sails and making the boat go. Many are so full of the sport that they desperately want to share it, to bring in new people. You might be one of those spark plugs. We are lucky to have a bunch of them on the Board of Directors and on our staff at US Sailing. Check out our Board of Directors’ roster. It is quite remarkable the depth of sailing talent, insightful leadership, and commitment to the sport of sailing represented on this Board of Directors. Our staff is a parallel world of excellence as well.

We saw and heard a lot of you spark plugs at the Sailing Leadership Forum in San Diego in February. That was such great karma at the SLF that we are changing our fall get-together into a National Conference (formerly the Annual Meeting). You are invited to Milwaukee this October. Every member of US Sailing is welcome to join the discussion and the fun of this conference.

The three days will include sharing of ideas, a deeper dive into current programming, and informal social breaks and parties. We will hear about several very successful events and programs. We will visit the Harken factory and recognize our outstanding sailors at an awards banquet. There is time for committees to meet face to face along with any interested sailors in attendance. It is a time for us to welcome potential new leaders and volunteers to the national discussion. The very brief Annual General Meeting and Board meetings will get the official business done. The real business consists of getting all you spark plugs connected to each other to energize our wonderful sport. It won’t be as good if you are not there, really. If you can’t make it to Milwaukee, push hard for your other enthusiastic sailing buddies to make the trip, especially from your yacht club or sailing center. I promise that being there will change the future of your local sailing experience for the better.

We have a new US Sailing website and we are building a new US Sailing for the 21st Century. We need all sailors on board as members supporting this adventure.

See you on the water and in Milwaukee,

Tom Hubbell
President of US Sailing

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Speed & Smarts: Watch out for other boats’ wind shadows

By David Dellenbaugh

When you want to go fast upwind, bad air is your enemy. So watch out for other boats, and look ahead for lanes of clear air.

Wind shadows extend farther and slow you more in light air than they do in heavy air. So when there’s not much wind, don’t stay in a position that’s to leeward of or behind another boat. In breeze, however, it can be OK to sail in a boat’s bad air, especially if you’re on a lift or going the right way.

For more racing tips and resources from David Dellenbaugh, visit the Speed and Smarts website