Monday, August 29, 2005

Left is Lower

We currently use a low tech method of tracking windshifts on Gray Jay. It consists of writing in pencil on the exterior of the hull where the trimmer can reach and the tactitian and helmsman can see.

It consists of a table with the headings P, T, and S. Respectively Port tack, True wind and Starboard tack. The concept is to head dead into the wind and mark your compass heading under "T" for True wind. Fall off to a Starboard tack and when close hauled, mark down your compass heading under "S" for Starboard. Repeat the same thing for the Port tack and mark your heading under "P"

Continue to mark these headings as you do your practice runs up the course. As you mark your new headings under the appropriate columns bear in mind that when reading the compass if the number is lower the wind is shifting left. As you write your new numbers if the heading number is lower than the previous heading then offset the number (or shift it to the left from the previous number) to the left. If your current heading is higher than the previous number then offset the number to the right.

As you take heading readings and write them down with the offsets you may start to notice a pattern emerge. You will visually be able to see if the wind is shifting to the left (indicated by numbers continually offsetting to the left) or the reverse trend.

This method is invaluable for playing and tracking wind shifts on the course during a race.

wind shifts

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