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Skiff Skills Development Program

Posted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:22 pm
by JIH-US568
I have just ordered a new MPS to be delivered to the east coast of the US in May. I am a very experienced sailor with many years (55+) of dingy racing experience. I have sailed 5o5's but that was many years ago. Currently I sail Thistles. There is no MPS fleet near by and I bought this to sail single handed when I retire (6 months) and to frostbite. I am currently designing my training program. I would be grateful for input, guidance and coaching. I am clearly nuts since I have elected to learn to sail a skiff at my age. In spite of what my wife will say, I am willing to listen to experience and I can learn. Please help me on my discovery path.

Current Plan:
-Study: review k16 video (on order)
-Setup: use basic setup to begin with
-Basic Maneuvers: Safety; righting from capsize w/o chute
rightting from capsize w/ chute
Tacking: boat handling
footwork on tacking
trapeze work on tacks
Gybing boat handling
footwork on gybes
spinnaker gybes
trapeze work gybes
Beating: balance- trim and trapeze work
boat speed
Downwind: balance - trim and trapeze work
angle of attack
spinnaker sets
spinnaker douse

Re: Skiff Skills Development Program

Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:35 am
by paul manning
First off, welcome to th class :!:

Have you ordered a K16 dvd with the boat? It should help cover a lot of the questions you have asked :D

Re: Skiff Skills Development Program

Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:32 am
by paul manning
I'm sure others will be able to provide experienced comment, but here's my key pointers

1. Irrespective of what point of sail you are on, keep the boat flat. You can practise this to start with by sailing on a beam reach in lighter winds and try to stand on the gunwale with one foot and keep the other foot slightly inboard for balance. Then steer a straight line and trim the main to keep the boat flat. Check your stern wake off both chines is equal. If the boat heels you will immediately feel this on the tiller.

2. Upwind - start by trapezing relatively high and become confident like this. You can trapeze from the hull to start with. Note :!: if the boat starts to loose pressure in the sail, head up a bit and this will give you time to decide whether to move your weight. Normally you would bare away a bit to try to power the rig up. If you do this, the foils will stall and you will fall in to windward.

3. Downwind - with the spinnaker up, the cunningham and kicker are fully released and the mainsheet is only eased enough so that the outboard end of the boom is pointing towards the leeward transom corner or just outside of this. If you let the mainsheet out too far (pointing at the wing outboard end or further), the boat is prone to a windward capsize.

4. When you launch and come ashore, the boat is more controllable with full cunningham and no kicker.

5. If you capsize with the spinnaker up, always drop it before trying to right the boat.

6. Recovering from a capsize - find the underwater wing and stand on this, then put one foot on the gunwale and then step up onto the daggerboard.

More comments welcome :D

Re: Skiff Skills Development Program

Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:49 pm
by nsdakin
Get a sports camera and mount on the end of the boom (upside down) or on the tiller. You can buy them pretty cheap now days and the info they provide is invaluable...Wipeouts happen so quick that half the time you dont have a clue what went playback will tell you. Plus its great to see your movement through the boat, balance/flat boat etc. Theres loads of youtube videos online to compare as well.

Also get a pair of knee pads...I couldn't walk the next day without them!

Re: Skiff Skills Development Program

Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:52 am
by sandyday
As another recent direct entrant to the Grand Master fleet, I would highly recommend a mast head float. Stopping the boat inverting and giving yourself a bit more time to recover from the inevitable capsizes is well worth it and allows you to keep sailing longer, especially in the winter...

Re: Skiff Skills Development Program

Posted: Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:09 pm
by FrankC
I have been sailing an MPS for 3 years now. I am in Washington State (Columbia River Gorge area). It took me 2.5 years to become comfortable/competent in most all conditions up to 20 knots. Like you, I had no fleet available and had to rely on internet and DVD resources. I have made every mistake anyone could possibly make while learning. Feel free to pm me with specific questions you may have. You are also welcome to bring your shiny new MPS on a road trip to the Gorge this summer. We have the BEST skiff sailing conditions in the USA.

My initial advice: For at least the first month, only choose days with 8-10 knots of breeze. Less or more and you will do more swimming than sailing. Also, train within your physical limitations. Learning to sail the MPS is very physical. Always head back to shore before you are exhausted.

Side anecdote: My first time in an MPS, I sailed 50 yards from shore, capsized, and spent the next hour trying to get back to the dock. Don't give up! Nothing beats sailing an MPS, and the growing pains are well worth it.

Cheers, Frank

Re: Skiff Skills Development Program

Posted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:55 am
by paul manning
Valuable advise Frank :!:

Re: Skiff Skills Development Program

Posted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:21 pm
by Iane
Just to make you feel at home I have also just joined the fleet at age 58 and another member of our club has just started at 65!
Keep at it and don,t give up.

Re: Skiff Skills Development Program

Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:18 am
by chriswrightlaser
I am 57 and know that on a windy day the musto is much easier to sail than my laser 1, after four hours racing in the laser its like doing a marathon run but fours hours in the Musto is a walk in the park so is it an old mans boat :D
The easiest way to stop swimming when you start is not to trapeze off the racks, just use the boat edge at first.
Downwind you can sail the boat just sitting on the rack at the back of the boat and upwind just foot off and practice playing the main out with lots of kicker and lots of downhaul on, most people never put enough downhaul on and struggle with the tack as a result.
Upwind never pinch like sailing a normal single handed boat, go for speed and always foot off as it gives you more control with less chance of a tea bag, in a lull you just pin the main and then uncleat ready for the next gust, if you leave the main cleated the next gust will get you upwind :( when you get a lift followed by being headed in the musto it is better just to foot off in the lift with increase of speed then pull in the main when the wind direction comes back to normal, this is instead of the steering the s shape you would have gone in a normal boat. You need at least half kicker for this to work.
The hardest part of sailing a musto is getting afloat and getting back in, with good planning and a nice friend it is easy to do this, most damage is done getting off the water so an agreed time with someone to help you is important.
Much better to go out and in with another boat, does not have to be the same class, they can nag you too keep the boat flat also giving you marks out of ten for sailing flat.

Re: Skiff Skills Development Program

Posted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:09 pm
by JIH-US568
To all who replied, I am grateful for the input.

I have ordered the k16 DVD and plan to use it as soon as it arrives (as it will arrive weeks before the boat does).

Boat handling suggestions are fantastic. I will be using a Go-Pro to document my learning experiences. Spring and summer will afford good training as the wind is usually 3-5 knots in the am and builds to 8-15 knots in the afternoon.

I have read several places that people use a 'land training' method. I can see how this can help with footwork etc. Has anyone actually done this? How do you support the boat? I doubt the dolly support is sufficient but I would not just want to pull the boat on the beach. Any thoughts?

Re: Skiff Skills Development Program

Posted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:50 pm
by paul manning
Re. land training, take the wheels off the trolley and securely tie the boat to the trolley across the middle of the boat and the bow.

You'll then need to tie something like a scaffold tube or strong piece of wood to stick out both sides to act against you on the trapeze. You will also need a beam sticking out backwards, as the boat will also tend to tip upwards until the transom hits the ground.

Re: Skiff Skills Development Program

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:06 am
by JIH-US568
Paul, thanks for the input. This should be pretty easy to rig up. Getting practice onshore on a stable platform has to be of value when I venture from the beach.

I will photograph the rig I set up.