Thursday, September 22, 2005

On your Mark...Get Set...Go

The start is a crucial time in the race. Getting a good start position, timing and clean wind can be the key to reaching the mark first. Here are a few techniques that can help improve your starts.

Reaching Up and Down the Line
On a true windward leeward course the pins are perpendicular to the wind. On these set courses a great start technique is to reach back and forth down the line, plan to come up to a hole in the line or make a hole and tighten up as the countdown reaches zero. The reaching technique allows you to keep maximum speed and relatively close position to the starting line.

Broad Reach and Tack
Another tactic is sailing away from the line on a broad reach and tacking back to close haul to cross the line. The mechanics behind this start are that the distance sailed on a close haul is the same as a broad reach which enables you to time the start precisely. If you sail on a broad reach from the line at two minutes and tack back at one minute and 10 seconds from the start (allowing 10 seconds for tack time) you should end up at the line exactly at the start.

In Between
An aggressive tactic is always keep your competition between you and the committee boat. This tactic ensures you always have the windward advantage on the start. Be careful not to get pinched up from a leeward boat and always have and exit strategy in place in case you get too close to the committee boat and must bail to avoid collision.


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