Beam reaching in high performance cats


Charlie Ogletree and John Lovell at Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta
 

Charlie Ogletree and John Lovell at Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta

US Tornado sailor Charlie Ogletree winner at last week's Princess Sofia Trophy gives his top tips
Charlie Ogletree has recently qualified for the Athens Olympics, where he will crew for John Lovell in the Tornado class, the third successive Games that this team have represented the USA in the cat class. The No.1 US ranked team won Kiel Week last year, and are part of the close-knot tuning partnership with Mitch Booth/Herbert Dercksen and Leigh McMillan/Mark Bulkeley. They have won the US Tornado Nationals seven times, but last October took some time away from Olympic duties to win the Little America's Cup match racing event held in F18HTs. Last week they cleaned up at the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma and were, up until yesterday, repeating this show of form at the Tornado Worlds, also being held in Palma Bay. Here Charlie explains the seldom used but still vital techniques for beam reaching in high-performance cats... Generally it is quickest to sail straight down the rhumb line, barring any windshifts. But if you're expecting a bit of a header, you can sail a little high, and if you take a lift you can afford to free off and take the extra speed. The most vital ingredients for speed are clear air and clear water, and following right behind the boat in front is generally not the best place to be. Generally you're better to be a boat length to windward or leeward. Ride along in that space and wait for your opportunity. The best place to pounce from is riding on his windward quarter. One of the common mistakes you see is the wind will drop a knot or two, and the natural reaction is to trim the sheets harder to keep the hull up. This is the exact opposite of what you should do. You should ease the sheet, which straightens the mast and generates more power

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