Go fast tips and local knowledge shared with Chester Race Week sailors

Andreas Josenhans extols his local knowledge of Mahone Bay to visiting competitors - Chester Race Week 2012
Greg Nicoll
The fog rolled in again this morning…. a sure sign that you are in Nova Scotia. It hung out there in the ocean off the entrance to St. Margaret’s Bay all day. It was no surprise that all the sailors again awoke to it this morning. As was his usual custom during Chester Race Week, Andreas Josenhans gathered sailors around him to extol his knowledge of the area and give out 'go-fast' tips. Day one sailing conditions on Mahone Bay, Alpha Course, were light 3-5 knot winds out of the SE that would move steadily to the right by 25 degrees.

He noted a couple of interesting points to the assembled group of sailors. Listen carefully…. do you hear the engines running on either the pin or committee boat? Why are they running? It is usually because they are trying to make the start line square, working against the tidal current by running the engines in reverse. Be careful when you start, as you may be going faster than you think with all that current pulling you toward the line. In his usual grumpy fashion he sarcastically said, 'Do you need any more clues?'

Josenhans further went on to say, 'There is usually a strong current between the Tancook Islands as 6 feet of tide has to run out the bay. Mahone Bay fills up and then the water has to leave to go back to the ocean and it does this first along the edges. So what’s good going up the course will be the opposite running back down.'

One of the competitors raised his hand and asked for advice about sailing in very choppy water with light winds. Andreas smiled and simply said, 'Use a little more halyard tension and ease your backstay when you have chop and light winds. Make sure your helm is balanced. If your boat goes up slowly into the wind when you release the helm, that’s good. Try bringing in the main sheet a few clicks and easing the jib sheet.

Today’s forecast is to have SE winds at 15 knots with a gradient wind. Andreas suggested that there would be a 'high navigational component to racing in the bay and a GPS with a chart plotter is a good thing. Put in your weigh points on the start line in case the fog rolls in.'