The fully buoyed albano course will be in place for the Hood Cup this weekend. However, this new course has lanes that are the standard 45' width, not the 60' ones we have used the last few years. So, being tighter at the start, if there is any wind at all, it will be ESSENTIAL that you spend some extra time coaching your crews (especially the novices) about how to maneuveur their boats at the starting line. It was obvious at the Novice Race this year that there are MANY crews that do not know the following (mainly how to deal with the wind and how to scull the boat around):
1) Be very near the starting line if your event is next. Keep track of where the other crews in your event are, and come in a group to the staging area.
2) Once your race is called by the official at the start, approach in FRONT of the stake boats, and UPWIND.
3) Turn about 2 - 3 (not 1, not 8) lengths in front of the stake boat, UPWIND, then back in slowly without slamming into the stake boat.
4) Once the stern locks on, BE PREPARED for the bow to be blown DOWNWIND, so have everyone in the bow of the boat understand what SCULLING THE BOAT AROUND means, then do it to keep your point. You can overcorrect if necessary, depending on how many crews have yet to lock on. You should keep your boat pointed as much possible INTO the wind.
5) Sometimes if the wind is strong, it takes more than one person to scull the boat around. In a four, it is tricky to have two people on the same side scull, but it can be done if everyone leans the correct way, away from the sculling side. It's better not to risk it, but sometimes it works with more experienced crews.
6) If you are locked on early, have the person(s) sculling the boat around stay in that position and row, then stop, then row again as necessary to keep the bow pointed either upwind or down the course, but DON'T GET BLOWN TOO FAR DOWNWIND.
If every coach will work with their crews to understand these fundamental techniques at the start, and the wind is 10 mph or less, we can get the races off on time. With races only ten minutes apart, there is very little time for teaching crews that have no clue as what to do at the starting line.
If you want to, you can print this out and hand it out to your coxswains. The referees greatly appreciate you taking the time to train your crews on these basics.
Thanks, and good luck on Saturday!