Canandaigua Yacht Club      


CYC Institute Presents:


Racing, From Start to Finish

The institute is brought to you by a team of knowledgeable and dedicated Canandaigua Yacht Club  sailors. The institute provides sailing instruction in a sailing seminar format. The sessions were held at the sailing club which is located on Canandaigua Lake, one of the finger lakes in the wine country of Western New York State. The location of the club at the North end of the lake provides a sailing and waterfront activity for the local communities of Rochester NY,  and surrounding suburbs Fairport NY, Webster NY, Penfield NY, Pittsford NY , Brighton NY, all located in Monroe County NY. Canandaigua Yacht Club is even more accessible to the Ontario NY county towns of Victor NY, Farmington NY, Geneva NY. The staff of the institute belong to the J-22, J/22, J-24, J/24, Flying Dutchman, Sunfish, Nomad, Vanguard 15, Ensign, Shark Catamaran, Shark 24, Catalina 25 fleets.

Day 1:

    May 2, 7:00pm


    By: Stephen Smeulders, Ph.D.



  1. Preparation prior to the start
  2. Starting Systems and Sequences
  3. Rules prior to and at the Start
  4. How to decide where to start
  5. What does it mean to "start well"?

Pic. 1 : (by Sharon Green)  Venom tries to barge Mari-Cha IV at 2004 Antigua Race Week.

             What do you think the guy with the red shirt is saying?


Pic. 2 : see the x-flag on the R.C. boat?  1 person called over over in a 100 boat fleet

Pic. 3 : How did 166043 know he could pull this off?

Day 1 recap:

About 40 people turned out. The sailors were new, seasoned, young, not so young and best of all several new club members. The Commodore welcomed the group and things were under way. Steve had things well prepared with a display of the commonly used  flags with illustrations for their use. It is amusing to this reviewer to see eyebrows raise as "common knowledge" of falls in error. He began the starting scenario with being prepared both physically and mentally. The program progressed through some of the procedural issues including the vantage point of the race committee. The there were the do's don't do's, traps , alternatives, and the down fall of a lot of popular misconceptions. To see more, the program slides can be viewed by clicking here.. (updated 4/22/08)warning the file is long and can be viewed by the acrobat reader. Nice job Steve, you set the bar, but there is good talent to follow




Day 2:

    May 9, 7:00pm


    By: Jim Clements



  1. Sail shape under varying conditions
  2. Adjustments done by different classes
  3. Covering
  4. Mark rounding
  5. Rules


Note: the latest information is that Jim will be presenting with a more hands on approach. He will be using an actual sail and will be using the audience as his props. Jim also intends to explore some of the characteristics of boats sailed at CYC through their skippers. Knowing Jim's creativity, this is not one to miss.

Day 2 Recap


(click on thumbnail images)
Jim taught classical sailing theory using classical methods. He used the white board and through the use of his diagrams showed us basic sail shape and the effects of boat trim on sail shape. He then unrolled a Force 5 sail and using his students as a mast, down hall and outhaul, he illustrated the effects of different forces on the sail. He described the methods he and Nora use on Griswald, their 24 foot Canadian shark. Jim asked Bill Schmidt to contrast he and Nora's techniques against a J-24. Bill's comments further fine tuned the talk with detailed compensations describing what he does for varying wind conditions.

During the second half of the talk, Jim talked about the effects of wind shifts of boats on an upwind leg. Again he introduced the subject mater using the white board and then further illustrated his points by using the class participants as human boats. The boats changed course in response to to Jim (the wind) illustrating the effects of changing wind on the course distance. We all know that these shifty conditions very typical of Canandaigua Lake. For a brief view of Jim's topics, click here.



Day 3:

    May 16, 7:00pm


    By: Keith Calkins



  1. Boat speed
  2. Down wind tacking
  3. Windshifts..playing the puffs
  4. When to fly a spinnaker
  5. Rounding the leeward mark

Note: Keith is not only an excellent sailor and strong competitor, he excels in photography and putting together presentations. He like Jim, will use some local talent to bring his message down to the type of boat level. Keith is no stranger to the institute as you might have remembered his lead role in rules discussions last year. Another one not to miss

Day 3 Recap

Keith began the evening with an excellent power point  presentation. He touched on some preliminary rules and then went into a technical discussion of VMG (velocity made good). From there he discussed the race course and some considerations about the down wind leg. He went into everyone's favorite topic, heavy air sailing and the scourge of all, the broach. Keith broke from his presentation as he called on the following guest presenters.

 Stephen led off with a perspective of steering with boat balance on small boats such as sunfish.  Stephen's comments.


Roger was able to add his point of view on performance keel boats from years as a J-24 skipper.  He drew a comparison to some of the characteristics of previously mentioned




Day 4:

    May 23, 7:00pm


    By: Steve Heinzelman


  1. Favorite side of the course
  2. Favorite end of the line
  3. Covering
  4. Finishing rules

Steve grew up sailing on his dad's Day Sailor. He was recruited into the Flying Dutchman class, where he and his wife Wendy , learned how to tame a thoroughbred through many fleet races and regattas. Last year they were recruited into the Vanguard 15 class. Steve will be joined by team Gorbold. Jonathan and Anna have and still successfully campaign their Dutchman internationally. Steve and the Gorbolds are rounding out the season


Day 4 Recap


So you are approaching the finish line and the end is here. Are you in the best position and if not, did you prepare? When did you start to prepare? How did you prepare? These and many other topics presented by Steve, Anna and Jonathan echoed some of the some of the sentiments of the earlier sessions. The really appreciate being able to "close the deal" review their presentation