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DF 95 TT Manor Park - What did I learn?

I think my first observation is setting up the DF is very much like any other boat. You start with the basic settings, note and apply all the points from Craig Richards facebook posts and then just focus on sailing the boat.

Unlike an IOM, you have to sail the DF rather than let it run on its own. The boats are light and require careful steering. Luff too much on the beat and the boat stops, bear away and you do not go any faster but lose ground to leeward. Absolute concentration is the key. You can ease the sheets 1 click and this can improve optimum VMG.

I was not able to make any observation on boat speed as the wind was so shifty but when I sailed parallel to other boats all seemed OK.

One of the comments Craig made on his postings, was he sets his mast gate at deck level as far back as possible and sails with a relatively straight mast as he cut the mainsail luff curve by a couple of mm. Too compensate for the increased luff curve on my boat, I set the mast gate 2 notches forward at deck level so I can get a little prebend. Not sure how this will stand up in a breeze but it seemed to work in the light weather and the sail sets beautifully.

Regarding the jib boom setting, I just looked at Craig's boat and copied that but on the mainsheet bridle which I used on a 470 many years ago, I set the sheet point as high as possible so the mainsheet exits the sheeting point parallel to the deck to allow the top of the sail to easily twist off in light weather. i.e. I want no downward force from the mainsheet on the main boom.

Other than the above, the only other adjustments were in the development of my thinking or rather I am trying to develop a lack of thought so I can be in a present state with the boat and just respond to what I see. In the past I have got in a right tizz because I could not see patterns of wind on the water and often panicked and sailed to the back of the fleet. Now in that situation I just respond to how I see my and other boats react to the variable wind. If I get behind, I know there will be opportunities to move up the fleet. If I have any negative thoughts I just tell myself they are irrelevant and move on. The more I listen to the podcast "Don't tell me the Score" hosted by Simon Mundie on BBC Sounds, the more I learn about better thinking, psychology and calmness of the mind to increase performance. There are so many stories of famous athletes who battled anxiety and mental health issues, sports psychologists offering advise on performance improvement and in one case achieving huge results just by changing the way athletes define their goals. Each interview has golden nuggets which help not only my sailing on the water on the water but in general life as well.

The result was excellent for a first time out and hopefully all the components are coming together for the critical back end of the season with a couple of ranking events, 3 nationals and a Europeans.

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