Practicing With Less Than Your Whole Team
Lets say you plan on spending the day’s practice session running the 1/4/5 vs 2/3/6 from the leeward mark. The only problem is that the crew of your sixth boat called in and can’t make it to practice. Not all hope is lost! You can still practice. Run the drill in position order passing the leeward mark. Make the missing boat be the one in first place of the 1/4/5 combination. With a ghost boat in the first place position, the goal of the drill is for two and three of the 2/3/6 combination to slow opponents four and five by balancing them back, bringing up their team mate in sixth [figure 6 II]. With the imaginary boat finishing first, four and five must finish fourth and fifth to maintain the solid, victorious 1/4/5. On the other hand, 2/3/6 have to convert to the 2/3/4. The drill would incorporate team work and balance by the 2/3/6 team to convert to the 2/3/4.
Certainly all of the reaching drills can be practiced with less than six boats. For instance, the 1/3 may be opposed by opponents in 2/4 [Illustrated by boats 1-4 in figure 20&21]. In a 2/3 combination, matched against a 1/4 on a reach, second and third should execute the ‘Hi Lo’ move [figure 11] on the opponent in first. Drills can also be run passing marks. Here, team members gain experience in setting up and accomplishing the mark trap passback [figure 12&13].
Perhaps the most valuable practice team members can drill is the ‘Three Boat Drill’. It can be used on any leg of the course. Simply stated, two team mates gang up on an opponent who is in between to quickly perform a passback [figure 1 & figure 2]. Quick and effective are key words here. For example, first and third are team mates, opponent second covers third and first covers second. The goal is for one and three to passback second into third place. This may involve first lufffing on second or third pinching off second [figure 1], or first pinning second from tacking to cover an escaping third [figure 2]. Whatever tactic, as long as it is effective and quick, the goal is achieved. The Three Boat Drill teaches team members the best ways to perform passbacks, upwind, downwind, whenever! Conversely, the opponent in the middle learns better boat handling to prolong or avoid being passed back. The longer the opponent slows two of the aggressing team, that means two of her own team are going fast elsewhere against only one opponent. The Three Boat Drill is incredibly effective at teaching team mates to coordinate their efforts and promotes better boat handling...and only requires three boats. You can practice with less!