RS Aero 9 World Champion Marc Jacobi often runs a one day clinic prior to regattas on the RS Aero North American Megatour. I usually attend the clinics at the regattas in which I sail, and although the basic format is always similar, I invariably learn something new from Marc, if not several new things.
The clinic before the Sarasota One Design Regatta in March this year was no exception.
Once all the students were assembled, Marc asked each of us to tell him what they wanted to work on during the clinic. Then it was straight on to the water for the usual torture-by-coach of starting practice and tacking on the whistle and gybing on the whistle and sailing around in circles on the whistle and all that good stuff.
One of the things I appreciate about Marc’s coaching style is that he always goes to great lengths to give each sailor individual feedback. In my case, he pointed out a serious flaw in my tacking technique. I was not easing the sheet enough in each tack, with the result that after each tack I was heeling too much and going slow. Marc explained that it’s very important to ease enough sheet so that after the tack you are sailing flat and fast, even if that means you are sailing below close-hauled for a short while.
During the regatta that weekend, Marc had a 360 degree camera on his boat and later he posted a 10 minute video on the RS Aero forum. Part of his commentary on the video was exactly on the topic of the feedback he gave to me. Only, of course, Marc was demonstrating the correct way to do it in the video.
One thing I noticed: how much sheet was eased during the tack starting at 1:14. Two big pulls! Whatever it takes to get the boat flat and accelerating!
For anyone too lazy to watch the video and find the section he is referring to, here are three screenshots showing how much sheet he eased in the tack compared to his normal upwind sailing setting.
Immediately after the tack – sheet eased
A second or two later – boat now almost flat – just starting to sheet in
Sheeted fully in for normal close-hauled sailing