Friday, September 02, 2005

Big Shoes to Fill

The tactician has one of the more difficult roles during a race. Before the race even begins the tactician should be developing a sense of where the true wind is, what it is doing. Paying close attention to developing trends if any, checking weather reports, local knowledge, and make comparisons based on the current conditions and forecasted conditions. And ultimately using this information to develop a primary and fallback strategy for the overall race. Then the tactitian must turn his/her attention to the all important starting strategy.

The tactitian should determine which side of the course is the favoured side, which side of the line is the favoured, which tack is favoured at the start and how the approach to the line will be executed. He or she will also determine how the mark will be rounded and the type of spinnaker set that will be used, call the puffs, keep a running tally on where the other boats are on the course and when in trouble know when to tack or gybe away to find clean air or when to use your boats wind shadow to your advantage.

During the upwind and downwind legs the tactitian must also be concentrating on the geographical features that affect the wind you are or will be sailing into, take into consideration currents, waves and wind shifts and monitor your progress against other boats. Constantly analyzing the compass heading plots to exploit any emerging trends or call the tacks on oscillating breezes to stay on the lifted tack or take advantage or persistent shifts.

And finally on the last downwind leg the tactitian should bring the boat home to cross the finish! A very tough position but very rewarding as well. My hats of to the tactitians of the world.


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