Monday, October 03, 2005

The Start | A Starting Point

This is the first in my hibernation series posts. I have been working on the animations for the start series and the first one should be ready in the next day or so.

I am beginning where every race should...at the start line. There are advantages abound here if you know where to look. On Gray Jay the bowman has the task of calling out sail numbers to me, tack they are on and a relative bearing (based on the 12 hr clock). He has a clear view ahead and stern and can see both starboard and leeward as well. We have an understanding that I want to know where all the boats in the vicinity are...even if they are not an immediate concern.

This allows me to keep track of where the competition is and what they are possibly setting up for during the pre-race chaos. My usual process for the start follows generally the same routine each time:

  • Formulate a starting position based on the wind direction and alignment to the pin (favoured end pin or RC)

  • Define a favoured tack based on wind up the course and near the pin and RC...the one that takes you closest to the pin

  • Assess what you approach line will be to your chosen spot and run the tack for a few minutes visually aligning yourself to the shore or other stationary objects

  • Get a Feel for the wind and boat speed on the favoured tack

  • Begin to work your way around the other boats keeping your competition in sight and always working to be the windward boat

  • Formulate a fall-back position based on clean air and clear passage in case you get squeezed or forced to abandon your initial strategy

  • As soon as you reach your intended run-for-the-line point double check your time and make a decision whether you need to maneuver to kill time or not. Do not give up your intended position if at all possible

  • At your trigger point make your charge for the line at full speed and protect your position all the way

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