Couldn't agree more. I used to live in the Bay Area and race Formula Windsurfing at Crissy Field. Lots of lessons learned, a lot of them the hard way. It took years to synthesize what more experienced racers told me and what I experienced on the water into some sort of basic (and still rather incomplete) understanding of how that place works and what it means for racing tactics. The visualization tools are incredible - if I were to coach a bunch of junior racers in any class, whether boards or boats, sails or kites, I'd spend a fair amount of time in the evenings with them watching the footage and taking it apart, then applying it on the water the next day. He'll if I ever find myself course racing in the bay again, I sure as hell will be doing that for myself. Plus it was just a blast to watch - damn, I'd love to sail on one of those AC72s.
Rabidric wrote:I HIGHLY RECOMMEND watching all the race coverage of the 34th america's cup that you can.
Not only has it been a masterclass in upwind/downwind match racing tactics, but the plethora of boatspeed indicators, layline and wind height graphical overlays, and track history overlays has given a god's eye view of what those boats are doing, and given the performance overlap with kiteboard racing there has been some good insight into course and angle choices in these high apparent wind vehicles.
particularly insightful is how large leads can be opened up and shut down with only very minor wind variations between the two boat's locations. i.e. 200m apart can be completely closed down by one jibe in a lull where the leading boat loses pressure just a tad too much and takes 20-30 secs to get back up to speed and find better air.
There have also been some cool expositions of when one boat has managed to get speed and then hold it while pushing a deeper line gradually, maintaining apparent wind while improving angles just a bit can be like night and day, even though the boats might be doing basically the same boatspeed.
Now I know a board doesn't have the acceleration and maneuverability issues of a AC72 and that jibing/tacking isn't the same dynamic as a foiling boat either, but the fact remains that the maneuvers carry risks and payoffs(big negative payoff for a wipeout!) and that with higspeed sailing utilizing apparent wind to a large degree the difference in outcomes for a given decision can be very large indeed for both foilcats and kiteboards. The tolerance of poor decisions is much lower than in slower classes.
I have never before seen inshore racing in such detail with such clear graphical overlays giving second by second insight into the consequences of various actions. And the racing has been awesome too!