We can use the 5 essentials to slow down a boat as well as make it go fast

by Chris Kameen on August 12, 2013

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Heel, trim, centreboard, rudder and sails

Over this last weekend we had a great day of Team Racing down on Albert Park Lake in Melbourne. I was competing in a combined Imperial Poona Gladiators team of Northern Hemisphere sailors and we did very well – remaining undefeated in 12 races. The emphatic scoreline though does not indicate how closely fought many of the races were and at times we had to use every ounce of our experience to beat the younger teams. However what was a little saddening was to see / hear some of the younger teams hail protest for ‘sculling’, when in actual fact the use of rudder was to slow the boat down as opposed to propel it. which is permitted in the rules (Rule 42.3f)

When we are teaching people to sail, understanding these 5 essentials  sails, rudder, heal, centreboard and trim is vital to making the boat go in the direction we want under control. Being able to control your speed using these essentials are fundamental tools available to Team Racers and we have spent a lot of time improving these skills. There is a real art to being able to do this effectively and maintain control. That so many teams highlighted to the umpire that I was sculling indicates to me that they had been coached to shout it when ever a person used their rudder for anything other than steering. My point here is that as coaches we need to understand the responsibility we have to making sure our young sailors are not taught not to do something because it is counter intuitive. There are many times on a race course where being able to slow your boat down effectively can help you win the race .

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