By Andrew Kerr
Like so many elements of sailing , rounding the leeward mark in light with the dual goals of the team exiting the mark at top speed and in clear air is a collection of small details , let ‘s look at the key elements to a good rounding:
- Approaching with speed is of top priority to be able to exit with speed, the way to avoid having to sail unusually low to get the mark is for the team to Jibe on a slightly wider Jibe angle on the final approach to keep the apparent wind up and on the sails and the boat moving fast.
- When making a gate mark selection a consideration is twofold – the need for clear air and ideally the easier rounding – a rounding that is the easier take down of the spinnaker and involves less crew movement will enable the team to keep speed out of the rounding.
- When going through the spinnaker takedown try to minimize the amount of crew movement – just enough to take the spinnaker down, while keeping weight to leeward to help keep the sails full and to help with the turn.
- Really good sail trim, throughout the takedown and rounding the goal is to trim the sails perfectly to every point of sail, a common error is to see a team trim the mainsail or Jib/ Genoa too quickly which is a speed killer, the trimmers need to take themselves out of the distractions of the rounding – other boats, noise and other factors and just focus on perfect trim to every point of sail.
- Practice – pick a mark and come in on different angles with different types of spinnaker take downs and critique how fast you are exiting the buoy; in all instances the goal is to minimize speed loss.