Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Take a Big Puff

The downwind leg is where you can gain lost ground in a race or maintain your lead. Even when you are behind in a race you can use your windshadow to effectively de-power your competition from behind and close the gap.

After rounding the mark, particularity in smaller boats, head higher and wider to get clean wind. The advantage to heading higher is the speed, the drawback is heading farther away from the downwind marker. To compensate for this the general strategy should be to head higher in puffs, gaining the speed and pointing lower towards the mark in the lulls.

In the upwind it is more beneficial to stay on the lifted tack, the reverse is true when heading downwind. Better gains will be realized by taking the headed tack on the downwind leg. In an oscillating breeze be sure to gybe when getting lifted to catch the header on the opposite tack.

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