John Mollicone wins J24 Midwinters

John Mollicone wins J24 Midwinters

John Mollicone and team on Jesus Lizard (Paul Abdullah, Mike Marshall, Nick Turney, and Dan Borrer) sail with the ProStart.

We asked him how he uses the ProStart after John and the team won the 2021 J/24 Midwinters with a race to spare.

Velocitek: John, congratulations on your Midwinters win! What did you think of the new ProStart?

John Mollicone: The ProStart was undoubtedly the best new instrument I have raced with in a long time. It's a must have for successful racing and played a huge role in our success at J/24 Midwinters. We used the optimized magnetic compass and speed over ground function the entire time, super accurate and improved from the previous version.

The ProStart was undoubtedly the best new instrument I have raced with in a long time.

JM: Our starts were fantastic and gave us a leg up on the fleet due to the accuracy of meters to the line and timer function for starts. I had everything I needed at a glance to be right on the line at go!

Another huge improvement is the USB charging in place of batteries and the battery life was good for the entire regatta. No more stocking batteries at regattas. We can't thank you enough for the support, I will be bringing the new ProStart on every boat I sail!

V: You had a dedicated compass mounted over the ProStart. How did you feel the ProStart compass compared? Responsiveness? Accuracy?

JM: Honestly, I looked at the ProStart the whole time. I didn’t look at the other. The ProStart's improved compass was awesome!

V: Can you tell us more about your starting process and how you use the ProStart?

JM: Once we pinged the ends of the start line with the ProStart, we would usually get right on the starting line in the pre-start towards one end and double check for accuracy of our pings. They always seemed to be right on!

The Jesus Lizard sailing in the 2021 J/24 Midwinters

Photos by Chris Howell / J/24 Class Association

JM: Once we confirmed the pings on the ProStart, my normal starting strategy is a port tack approach toward the area we want to start in and tack in with about 1:00–1:30 left in the sequence at approximately 60–75 meters from the line on the ProStart. 

From there, it's all time and distance with the ProStart meters to the line and the time on the ProStart. Typically, a meter per second is what we are looking for when on that final starboard approach. If too fast, we kill some speed. And if too slow we accelerate a bit (it's breeze, current, and  sea state dependent, maybe with the boats around you as well).

We are always shooting to be within 2 meters of the line at go on the ProStart and at speed, I always hold my breath if any closer because the ends of the line can swing/move in the chop and breeze. We were never over early at Midwinters and the accuracy of the ProStart seemed spot on.

John Mollicone is a multiple World Champion, the Head Coach of the Brown University Sailing Team and the 2019 College Sailing Coach of the year.