Thursday, December 15, 2011

TT Interviews Team "License to Kill"

2011 North American Champions Geoff Ewenson and Tyler Moore were kind enough to sit down with Tank Talk to answer a few questions on their win at the NA's and other 505 topics.

TT: Tyler, this was your third win at the NA's and Geoff your first. It was a dominant victory with six race wins and fewer than half of the points of the runners-up. Was there anything specific that contributed to this performance?

TM: We were eating Wheeties for breakfast.

No really it's been time in the boat. A new boat takes time to get sorted out and 9007 has taken longer than usual, but we've finally sailed just about enough times in enough conditions to have our numbers mostly sorted out. I say mostly because we're still not there yet but this year we were able to lock in some key settings.

When you combine decent speed with a phenomenal 90% average of going the right way up the first beat, good things are going to happen. You've got to get to the first mark with the lead group. Geoff has got great fleet management skills. He was constantly able to place us in an advantageous position. That is what caused the large point spread you're referring to.

GE: I agree with Tyler on some counts. Time in this boat has been key. It has taken more time than we might have liked but we seem to have zoned in on getting the boat balanced and the settings close for the tack forward boat. It does feel different and getting the balance right has been the key. We have solid speed now in a full range of conditions and that has given me the confidence to call our own races rather than worry too much about where other boats are.

While I might not totally agree with Tyler on being in the right spot in 90% of the cases, I am confident that we have speed enough to get our way out of trouble and sail keepers in almost all races. I know that our overall ability to sail the boat hard will likely result in a good race most of the time.

TT: Geoff you sailed the 2011 worlds with twice 505 World Champion Mike Martin and then won the NA's with Tyler. What common characteristics do these helmsmen share?

GE: Both Tyler and Mike have time in the boat beyond most other helms as well as a natural ability. This gives them a comfort level in the boat and allows them to be pushing the boat to a high percentage of targets all the time. What they share is a technical eye and the mindset that they are always looking at things that make the boat faster and more refined.

What I have found in sailing with different helms is that each has their own subtle difference in setups and a conviction that the rigging of their individual boats is the only way to go! What I realize is that as a crew you need to be adaptable to various boats and realize that the boat is really an extension of the helmsman. The nice thing is that with good helms they are so at ease in their own boats that they are very comfortable and that leads to a higher success rate on the water.

TT: Tyler, what did Geoff bring back to your team from sailing with Mike in big breeze in Hamilton Island?

TM: Geoff came back with knowledge that you always need to have a game plan and that both guys need to know what that game plan is. If you don't, you might as well just capsize now because that's easier than the horrific crash and burn that you're headed for.

GE: I know this is a Tyler question, but please indulge me with a response.

I think that sailing with Mike was a great opportunity for me. Having sailed against him in San Francisco I think almost all of the rest of us were in awe of Mike and Jeff's pure speed. They had an unfair advantage in the breeze on all, but cousins Holty and Carl. Going into the windy Worlds in Hammo I was looking forward to having that unfair advantage! The reality is that I am not Jeffa and we were not nearly as fast relative to the competition, as they were. We had to work every shift and every angle we could to be at the top of our game. What became obvious during the course of the event was that Mike and I were not as well choreographed as we needed to be.

Mike and Jeffa spent a ton of time together and their results showed it. Mike and I had a few events and practice weekends together, but that was not a recipe for winning a worlds. What I bring back from sailing with Mike was not just a respect for him as a person and a sailor. I come back with the knowledge that it takes a big commitment to get to the top. He has shown that he is willing to make that commitment and if Tyler and I are to reach our goals........

TT: At the NA's we got to enjoy a great panel of past 505 World Champions discussing their success in the late 70's and early 80's. Is there more we can be doing as a US fleet to win World Championships? The last three US Champions were California teams; the West Coast fleet is clearly pushing themselves to a high level. What do you think they're doing well in terms of training that East Coast teams should emulate?

GE: The one thing that I hear from World Champions in all classes is that they owe much of their success to others. I know that in the Finn class that the British team is dominant in recent history. A Brit has won the worlds in 4 out of the last 5 years. They work and train hard together as a team and have upped their game due to that team attitude. The guys on the panel at the NA's talked about the other guys they were fortunate to sail with and against. The reason that the West Coast guys have been so successful in recent years is not that they are doing anything revolutionary......they are simply sailing together and training.

Tyler has invited, pleaded, and opened his home to 505 sailors from all over the country in an effort to get people training together. It is difficult and has met with limited success. It seems that when push comes to shove that there arent many East Coast teams that are in a position to dedicate time to sailing. Real life seems to get in the way. There are a few pockets where there are multiple boats but, the motivation to put sailing ahead of other things is not there. Macy has tried to beat the drum in the Annapolis/West River area for years. He has a small but growing group of like-minded people who are getting out sporadically. It sounds as if the Mid-Atlantic area is getting their act together and coming up with a schedule that makes sense and could be better attended than recent years. I for one hope it is.

TT: Thanks guys.


  1. JB, thanks for taking the time to make all the postings.

  2. .. tried the Wheeties for breakfast, it didn't work for me. I think on-board oxygen could be a help for me :) USA 7776