March 16, 2008
J/22 Team Putnam - Midwinters 2008 Day 3 (final)
We go two races off today because lun...more »

March 15, 2008
J/22 Team Putnam - Midwinters 2008 day 2
One hell of a day. The breeze blew fr...more »


October 17, 2006
By: Sue Mikulski
Team Tsunami completed their first fall series with 3 different groups of teenage sailors ages 10-17. With one or two sailors from the "A" team skippering and/or doing main, and being the "Team Leader" of the day, the crew filled in with sailors from the "B" and "C" teams as well as some new pick up crew from other high school sailing programs. The team finished 13th out of 27 J/105s, an extremely respectable finish. The first week the team rounded 2nd at every mark, and lost two boats in the last few minutes of the race finishing 4th. As the coach, I let them problem solve, do tactics and was there as a back up if needed, which was very little other than practicing while sailing going out which we found was critical.

Week 2 was a light air fluky day, and tough for any level skipper. We unfortunately had some problems accidentally using a very old practice jib that was delaminating and had a hole in the foot as well as a broken traveler that a 15 yo fixed right before a start. No excuses, the team work was good. Inspite of rounding last at the top mark of the day, the team took turns saying positive things about sailing the whole last leg and getting a good laugh, inspite of feeling bummed about the finish.
Week 3 with two pick up crew, one who had only ever sailed a 420. Two excellent starts, in fact, Team Tsunami was the first to tack onto port at the gun of the last race with the back of the boat observing a shift in the last minute of the starting sequence. Team Tsunami rounded in 7th, 6th, and 6th, and lost 6 boats on the last leg thinking going right to get out of the current would pay off, only to learn there was more velocity on the left. The two older sailors really took the more inexperienced younger sailors under their wing and built them into the team so that everyone had a job, and the team work was excellent. The Race Committee commented on what a great time the kids looked like they were having, the most important goal of all.

Sailing on the bay on a weekend is totally different than sailing on a Wednesday evening. Team Tsunami was able to sail clean and out of trouble. The crossing situations were sometimes close, but done with much confidence. The jib trim was not always perfect, but this team was able to problem solve quickly if needed. If we were slow, the sails were eased. Sometimes with reminders, sometimes on their own, they changed gears with the ever changing velocity the last Sunday of the fall series. They learned a lot about where to have the tack line eased to, and much improved on sailing to keep it straight or even to windward in breeze, all the variables of sailing an asymmetrical kite, something one doesn\'t usually get until they are well out of high school sailing.

These 3 weekends of various team members learned to work together as a team, they learned why good communication between the skipper and the trimmers is critical. They learned there are different ways to douse the spinnaker, all part of communication. I was really impressed with their executing their game plan, especially the last week. The parents on the big boat, Tsunami, are to be complimented for putting this program together and helping get their kids to the "Next Step". Sailing with sailors that are the future of our sport is an incredible experience. I felt as much as I knew I helped give them confidence and helped coach them going out, they made all the decisions on the race course, and should be very proud of finishing 13th in a tough fleet that has been on the bay since the early 90s. The level of competition has quadrupled since I started racing J/105s in 1995 on hull no. 9. Thanks to Fleet 3 for supporting the team and encouraging the team to be out there. It is obvious that they have had terrific coaching from folks like Pete Carrico, Allan Terhune and others all summer. It\'s great to incorporate the younger sailors in as it makes them hungry to sail the next level once they get out of college. This was one of the most fun experiences I have had in my days of sailboat racing.