By Andy Burdick

Lake Eustis Sailing Club put on another fantastic regatta for the MC Class – the first regatta of the Quantum Sails Triple Crown. Practice sailing on Friday followed by racing Saturday and Sunday with very nice conditions – sunny and warm with winds up to 15mph.

There were a number of great takeaways from the regatta. Here were our top items:

1. Prepare your boat for race day. After a short break from summer sailing, many good sailors were forgetting important items.

  • Have your radio charged and ready.
  • Be sure you have a sailing watch, or better yet a Tacktick Micro Compass that provides a digital readout for compass headings and start time.
  • Hydration – we had 4 races on Saturday and many of us ran out of water/Gatorade. Be prepared for a full day on the water! You never know how many races the PRO may try to squeeze in while the forecast is good.
  • Be sure your mast rake is in the correct spot. Double-check before launching!

2. Start first and increase your lead.” This is a famous tagline from Buddy Melges, and it works! Get a great start. Be ready to fire up to full speed with 20 seconds to go – don’t wait for 5 seconds. Getting a front-row start affords you so many options. When you have a poor start, you either need to tack and duck transoms or stay on starboard stuck in bad air. Great race results begin with great starts.

3. Sail the shifts. There were big shifts on Lake Eustis throughout the 2 days of racing. You must stay in tune with the leaders and sail the shift as it gets to you. Be in the dark water (wind) and sail the lifted tack. If you did this on Saturday and Sunday, you had good race results. This was especially true downwind as well.

4. Use the buddy system on and off the water. Having a friend that is competing to assist with boat launch, sail rolling, and general information is very helpful. Using the buddy system on the water is great for your race performance. Test each end of the start line. Have someone go off the port and you start on the windward end – an easy way to see which end is favored. Do a split upwind before the start. Race on opposite tacks for 3 minutes, tack and meet. Which side of the lake was better? Which side had more wind? A better angle? Communicate about what you see on the water before each start.

5. Excellent boat handling will help your regatta results. The ability to perform good tacks when it counts is key to upwind sailing success. Get out early and practice your tacks and gybes. Practice your mark rounding. The basics help you improve your overall race results, and Zenda University can help. Sign up today! Space is limited!

The next event is the Train Wreck Regatta in January and then the Midwinter Championship in March. A great way to spend your winter months sailing Melges MCs. If you need help outfitting your boat for the next regatta, visit Melges Sailing Supply or email

Photo by Regatta Girl Photography