Thanks to Bruce Cooper for this report: The Santa Barbara Yacht Club and J/70s are finding fun and creative ways to sail and compete during this pandemic. SBYC hosted the 2020 Fiesta ‘COVID’ Cup. The Santa Barbara J/70s have modified some of the normal racing Rules to keep a safe boat for skipper and crew and have a fun experience on the race course. First change, crew limit is only three persons. Second is allowing coaching before, during and after races. To pull this off, Scott Deardorff set up the new ground rules that only SBYC J/70s race, only have three people on board and invite local legend sailor and sailmaker (and J/70 sailor) Dave Ullman to come coach. Then you throw in world famous Ultimate Sailing photographer Sharon Green, and you have one heck of a socially distance safe sailing weekend!
Lessons learned from coach Dave Ullman:

  1. Sailing with only three people, the boat reacts as if wind is a 4 knot increase. Tuning, trimming, technique will need gear change sooner to keep boat balanced and fast.
  2. Sailors enjoyed the famous Dave U. Tactical Considerations chart/philosophy that coach Dave used for the Olympic sailing team in Rio.
  3. Sailing in the low wind range for downwind wing on wing was not as advantageous as compared to having more crew weight in the boat. Maybe having the one less crew to use their weight to “steer” the boat makes a big difference in this condition as well?
    Scott Deardorff (US J/70 Class President, owner USA250) reported it was terrific sailing conditions, and the extra help of having Dave and Linda in the coach boat was unbelievable. He and his crew really worked hard on heel angle of 14-17 degrees, and the fact that the coach can pull up to their side while racing and offer tips/suggestions was key. Scott and his crew could immediately make the change and see the benefit while racing rather than waiting till the next race or day to try the tuning, trim and/or technique change. He said this new coach involvement worked so well, the J/70s in Santa Barbara are going to do this on a regular basis. To wrap up the weekend with the new social distancing courtesy and requirements, Dave had a Monday ZOOM meeting to share his written notes and go over raw video and some pics. A HUGE SUCCESS for J/70 sailing thanks to the SBYC, the local J/70 sailors, Coaches Dave Ullman (w/Linda Taylor) and Sharon Green capturing the terrific sailing!

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