The Etchells Worlds continues to be one of the most hotly contested regattas in the world, pitting America’s Cup sailors, Olympic Medalists and Volvo Ocean Race veterans against each other. This year, in Hong Kong, two American teams, Aretas and Scimitar, dominated the event. Aretas and Scimitar finished two points apart and were both Velocitek Shift-equipped! The top two boats left a 21 point gap between 2nd and 3rd.
Skip Dieball, helmsman on World Champion Aretas, explains how and why he used the Shift at Worlds:
Q – Why did you choose the Shift?
We demo’d the Shift at Etchells Long Island Sound Championships and compared it to our existing compass. The ease of use and clarity of the readout made it a no-brainer. Compasses are incredibly valuable. The Shift is the best we’ve sailed with.
Q – Did you use the shift tracking feature?
Yes, we did use the shift tracking. We sailed upwind pre-race and got a feel for the range in the wind shifts. Then we picked a number that we felt was a good average. Going into the top mark it was really easy to know whether the breeze was right or left and whether to do a bear-away set or gybe set.
Q – Did you use the start timer?
Everyday. Having timer AND compass on display when in start mode is one thing I really like. No more paging through the modes to do last minute wind and line checks!
Q – How do you like the new anti-reflective / anti-glare lens?
We demo’d the original and then raced with the new AR/AG lens. Very nice!
Q – Tell us about the Aretas team and the role that each played on your team.
Jon McClean and I have sailed against one another in the Highlander and we started sailing the Etchells in Fall of 2012. Jon precisely mapped out a “5 year plan” starting with NAs in Detroit. From there, we have made a point to sail as many big events as our schedules allow.
When we started sailing Etchells, we discussed 3 or 4, and what it came down to was the size of the perfect team for us. Jon and I are ex-Finn sailors, so it was pretty easy to go 3-up. Our team has always sailed 3-up. I’m not sure what it would be like with another person, other than really crowded in the boat! Jeff Eiber is our our third. Jeff is a multi-world champ and likely has double the titles I do! As a team, we form a pre-race strategy and then execute.
On day 3 we sailed our drop race, it was a tough one for us, not only on the scorecard but also with regard to our overall decision making and strategy. We found ourselves in positions where others were making decisions for us. That night (and after the last weigh-in) we regrouped over a nice meal and re-evaluated our approach the rest of the races making sure we had fun, used some patience and didn’t put ourselves in positions where we couldn’t make our own decisions (i.e. getting pinned upwind/downwind). As a team we continually evaluate all facets of the program, including compasses. The fact that we recently switched to the Shift and have had great success is no coincidence.
Q – What type of sailor do you think would benefit the most from using the Shift?
All sailors. More experienced sailors will find it to be a useful tool. Newer sailors will learn the game and windshifts faster if they have a tool like this.
Stay in phase: www.velocitek.com/shift