In the delightful 60+ degree light-wind November afternoon many sailors were out in shorts today. Wednesday is one of our race days. Today we did a hybrid race-drill called“Race with Circles” which combined racing, and skill-building, and instruction. In "real" sailboat racing there isn't supposed to be any coaching because each boat is supposed to compete by itself without any outside help.
In "Race with Circles" there is a start line and a course to be sailed. But the winner is the first boat to obtain 15 points rather than first around the course and across a finish line.
Here's how it works: After the start the first boat to round the first mark does 3 circles when it gets ½-way to next mark and gets 3 points. Each circle includes a gybe and a tack. The second boat to round the mark does 2 circles when it gets ½-way to next mark and gets 2 points, the third boat around does 1 circle and gets 1 point. The remaining boats sail on to next mark w/no circles and no points. The fleet continues rounding marks, doing circles and earning points, until one boat gets to 15 points.
Attractive features of this drill include in-boat teamwork, maintaining boat speed, boats mostly sailing in very-close-proximity to one another, sailing upwind, finding laylines, mark roundings, and practicing circles. In racing if a boat breaks a rule and commits a foul it can often (but not always) take a penalty and keep racing. The penalty, depending on the foul, is sailing one or two circles ASAP. A team who can sail circles efficiently can often remain competitive in a regatta and sometimes even within a single race.
Dublin Sailors did the drill twice - the second time reversing crew positions in their boat. Almost every student on the lake today was the boat driver for some part of the afternoon. The entire fleet came out - 9 420s and the DaySailer. A special shout-out to Charlie and Mr Scalfano who scored several points in the DaySailer! Winners in race/drill #1 were Theresa and Silas. In #2 Irena and Wyatt got the DG chocolate-chip cookie award.