By Andrew Kerr
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With these years Nationals being held at Cascade Locks on the Gorge in Oregon, August 8th to the 12thth - the class is looking forward to a top class Championships both on and off the water.
Ideally your team is sailing its best by the time the Nationals start – here are some ideas that can help your team accomplish its goals at the biggest event on the class regatta schedule.
This sounds obvious but for many fleets the season is relatively short and so there is little time to waste! Whether it is a weekend regatta or a mid week beer can series, the more you get out on the water the better. The old saying that there is no substitute for time on the water could not be more applicable.
Target key events - hitch up the trailer and go!!
Each fleet has a good schedule to choose from - regional championships are excellent venues to get in the “Championship mode”. They offer an opportunity to scrimmage against a bigger S20 fleet very often at an unfamiliar location – this might be at the SW regional Championships which is being held at the Lighthouse charity regatta on Lake Hefner in Oklahoma – June 25/ 26th or the District 2 Championships at the Camellia Cup regatta on Folsom Lake – April 2nd & 3rd , the Loyalty day’s regatta in Newport , Oregon - April 23rd & 24th or the SOCKS regatta which is also the venue for the Western regional Championships – May 14th & 15th.
The Gorge Racing Association is running a one design regatta at Cascade Locks on August 6th & 7th and the class is hoping to have a fleet at this event which will provide a perfect tune up at the Nationals venue.
There are many other great events that will attract good S20 racing – the High Sierra Regatta (July 15th/ 16th) and Cal Race Week (June 4th & 5th) are good examples.
Road warriors like Fleet 28’s fleet Captain Tim Dunton are racing in the Dillon Open in Colorado (August 6th & 7th) and then hitching up and heading to Cascade Locks. Tim is encouraging the Colorado fleet to travel and we are looking forward to seeing a number of teams from the Rocky Mountains.
Events like the ones we have mentioned (and there are many others in different parts of the country) give your team great exposure to bigger fleet S20 sailing and great opportunities to practice and refine your techniques.
The class prides itself on being completely open and welcoming with information, assistance and answers to questions so don’t hold back if you have any reservations about any aspect of your participation– we want you to participate and get the most out of your sailing experience.
The unique spirit and camaraderie of the class is what keeps most of us coming back for more. This spirit is embodied at the Nationals, which is a great unification of fleets and people from all over the country.
For more information on events and the Nationals please go to the class web site – www.s20.org and click on the 2005 regatta schedule. For the Nationals there is also an event web site – www.cgra.org. You can also contact Rick Gilstrap (Fleet captain of fleet 19) at email@example.com or fleet 16 Captain Derek Hardy at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on the Nationals.
Keep notes at each event:
Your note book can help log all that you have learnt – wind speed, direction, things to improve on, favored side of the course, Weather trends, things to work on etc. Be sure to keep good notes, the best time to enter your notes into the book is when they are fresh in your mind – either after the day’s sailing or on the drive home.
Set up a practice schedule and remember the performance pyramid!
This can come in many forms depending on your teams schedule and availability - you may for example use your weekly beer can race to try out a particular maneuver or new technique – be it with a starting repertoire, sail trim or boat handling.
The thing to remember is that your boat handling is at the base of your performance pyramid – and with out it your boat speed and tactics will not work. Tack and jibe and round marks as much as you can. Set buoys and round them, do as many practice starts as you can – all the best tactics in the world will be for naught if your team for instance cannot tack well and with confidence.
Be wary of practicing things you are good at – it’s easily done! Key in on things that are weaker elements – be they jibe sets, starts, light air sailing – what ever you identify - each team’s are different and unique.
The Unique experience of the Nationals:
Whether you are a first time Nationals participant, or a veteran of 25 of them, don’t miss the unique opportunity to sail in this years championships at Cascade Locks – the top sailing, the friendships made and renewed, and the great camaraderie of the S20 class will make it an experience that is not to be missed. All roads will indeed lead us to Cascade Locks in the beautiful state of Oregon – see you there!!