Windemon's Post-Season Debrief

SW's 2005 Coaching Contest Winners Provide Some Self Analysis.

Team Windemon

Tony Rey

Team Windemon had a fantastic turnaround season, and a reason for our success was our decision to employ coaching and regular practice. We came a long way this year by tackling our weakness, which are listed below, but as we look forward we recognize that we need to maintain the extra effort so we can continue to grow as a team. • Getting crewmembers to take ownership of their individual positions Our biggest lesson was the benefit of regular practice. We drilled several times before the season started, and, given everyone's busy schedules, we shifted from participating in informal weekly beer can races to conducting Wednesday night practice sessions. As a result, everyone became much more proficient at their positions. This helped us in many ways. For example, Dave was now able to focus on driving. In the past, he spent a significant amount of his time discussing upcoming maneuvers. This year, we all discussed strategy before each race, and crew input came without prompting during the race. Feedback from the rail is now automatic. When we did experience boathandling issues we were able to recognize them and recover much more quickly than in the past.• Becoming better sail trimmers With each crewmember taking ownership of their position, all of us could focus on other things, such as sail trim. We had several coaches throughout the season, including Tony, and each had their unique advice. From them we learned that in the past we were not employing enough leech tension on the main, we were focusing on halyard tension more than draft position, and we were over trimming the spinnaker most of the time. Because we identified these basic sail trim issues, it was easy for us to employ and retain the enhancements that we learned. We also learned of little things that make a big difference. For example, we now mark jib sheets with tape in windy conditions, which makes it easier to go to full trim right away.• Minimizing boathandling issues Everybody on the boat became better sailors because of the experience. This allowed us to employ everything that we practiced, and while racing, we regularly identified new issues to practice during our next drill session.• Getting a better handle on being fast in light-air, choppy conditions Because we're no longer concerned about the mechanics of the boat, it's much easier to focus on sailing faster. We now experiment and work the boat to get the most out of it. We're working much harder, constantly shifting gears. This has helped us improve our speed in all conditions, especially in light air and heavy chop.