I’m sure I am losing a lot of distance in tacks, however my tacks are not slow for hobie’s. I am going close hauled to fully sheeted on the new side in less than 14 seconds solo, 15 seconds if I’m going wire to wire. I know that the courses have a lot to do with it, however there is always room for improvement.
Just wanted to make sure we had that covered first.
twice around in 8 minutes is a lot of maneuvers..
Beyond that I am hoping you find some good advice I can steal.
Two weekends ago I was suffering the same fate. I was sailing heavy 400lbs (supposed to be teaching a new sailor) and racing skilled thistle sailors in 0-5mph conditions.. I had them on boat speed on the beat.. but couldn't point high enough to make it matter.. and even properly executed tacks cost WAY to much ground. With 5 mph or so breeze I could catch them on the way back down.. (except for Mr. former national champ thistle sailor God) Less than that I seemed to only maintain ground in the drift off... oddly it was right at the point in which they had enough pressure to fill their spins that I could catch them.
Then last weekend in Iowa at a HCANA regatta wind was 2-7mph, with only one little part of one race nearing the 10mph mark.. Water was lumpy/choppy due to powerboat wake.
The first couple races I was relaxed.. Ended up at the front of the fleet having left the beach with the boat setup well and a clear head.. I got beat on things other than boat speed... Then I thought I would try and find a wee bit of power by moving the Shrouds up a hole.. So I let off some rig tension then changed my mind and left the shrouds alone and instead just re-tensioned the jib halyard a bit tighter than I had it before.. The trouble is I didn't think about this change in the middle of the race.. I had to travel the jib out to keep from backwinding the main and then found the speed, but couldn't point. I had gone from at least matching boat speed with the leaders to them just walking away... The boat really liked the looser rig a lot better. It opened the slot and just seemed give a bigger 'window' of proper trim.. and allowed the main to provide a bigger variety of sail shape through the puffs and lulls...
I run the traveler a little close to center in the really light stuff and let out more main to drop the boom back off... then to get the leech shape right I have been pulling on a little bit of downhaul. It seems to help 'hook' the upper sections of the leech without having to crank on a bunch of mainsheet tension, which of course effects everything from the Main sail leach to the jib luff... Also I think moving the draft of the sail forward in lighter stuff while maybe not the fastest makes it easier to keep moving fast as the 'groove' feels a little wider when things are shifty as they are when it is light around here.
The biggest problem I have is fighting the urge to oversheet, and not shifting gears up/down at the right times.. Then I sit there frustrated while the fleet sails by... Then all the sudden.. "Oh yeah... duh!". Seriously.. I have a camera on my boat.. and I come back home, watch the video and see my mistakes clear as can be. Sure makes me feel silly sometimes, but way better than having no idea where the mistakes are being made... Oversheeting in light stuff, no matter how much I have tried to talk myself out of it still remains a problem for me..