29er HP Team member Jacob Rosenberg won the Open Orange Bowl regatta in the 29er class in December, sailing with crew Evan Heffernan. We checked in with Jacob to find out how the regatta went:
When did you start sailing 29ers?
I started sailing 29ers about a year and a half ago in the summer of 2013, and after sailing with a few teammates, started sailing with Evan at the beginning of this school year.
Talk about your team dynamics; how do you and Evan divide the responsibilities on your boat?
In the pre-start, we devise a strategy and game plan together figuring out where we want to start and go up the first beat. Off the line, we communicate together about pressure and the fleet mostly focusing on boat speed though. From there, we work together on the big picture of where to go and I make the small decisive decisions with boat on boat. Usually Evan looks around and finds pressure upwind while I look downwind because he focuses on the kite.
What gave you an edge at the Orange bowl?
At Orange Bowl, Evan and I felt very fast, especially downwind. This speed gave us an edge that allowed us to always be catching boats or extending our lead. Downwind we were clearly the fastest team and caught many boats on the runs.
You've been doing very well on the high school sailing circuit in Southern California. How does high school sailing compare to 29er sailing? Do the skills translate from one boat to another?
High school sailing definitely has its similarities and differences to 29er sailing. High school sailing is shorter course with a focus on tactics and an emphasis on the start. In high school sailing, everyone is equal speed so tactics and the start are much more important. In 29er sailing, speed varies a lot between boats so having speed [to get to pressure] is very important. Because the boats are so fast, the tactics [in the skiff] are for longer courses so it’s more about the big picture. In both high school and 29er sailing, a good start is key to be able to go where you want.
What is the biggest challenge in 29er sailing?
The biggest challenge in the 29er is staying focused on your own boat. Because speed and angles vary so much as everyone is in different breeze with different apparent wind, staying locked in to your own boat is the key to keeping the boat going fast. Many people will try to match other people’s angles upwind and downwind when they are going slow but that will just make the problem worse because you have to gain the speed then work it up or down. It is so easy to just try to copy and imitate other boats going faster than you, but it is vital to just keep focused on your own boat and feel the speed.
What are your goals in the next year?
For 29er sailing, I have a few main goals for the next year. Most of all, I am working towards qualifying for the 2015 Youth Worlds in Malaysia by winning the 2015 Youth Champs. Other important events for me that I hope to win are the 2015 North Americans and 2015 Nationals.