Friday, August 21, 2009


Starting approaches

1) Vanderbilt start. Used by Harold Vanderbilt to start Range in the America Cup races a hundred years ago. Not used now except as a historical note. If it took 30 seconds to get the boat turned around then port tack broad reach for 2 minutes 15 seconds away from where you wanted to start on the line, tack and sail back close-hauled on starboard to at the line at full speed at the start.

2) Half speed start. Identify a spot 30 seconds away from the line on a close hauled course and try and be there at one minute. Then sail at half speed toward where you want to start on the line. If you are behind or wind lightens than sail faster. If it looks like you will be early, sail a little slower.

3) Dinghy start. So called when people began racing little light boats that could accelerate fast. Just sit luffing behind the line. Sheet in and go just a few seconds before the start. Try not to let boats on either side of you get out ahead. Try to have a small hole to leeward that you can bear off into before the start to aid in acceleration.

4) Port tack approach and tack into a hole between starboard tackers luffing near the line. Avoids getting catch in the mess of boats setting up on starboard.

5) Port tack and cross the fleet start. Occasionaly with a big left wind shift someone will be at the pin end by themselves and cross the fleet on port tack.

6) Port tack luffing. Interesting approach. Half way down the line on port with 30 seconds to go and wait to see how things are shaping up. If big left shift not to far away from the pin to get back or can elect to tack into a hole nearer the RC boat.

What is your favorite or unusual start?

Where on the line and stuff like that tommorrow.

1 comment:

  1. I've heard #4 described as being a "port tack shark". You can also be a starboard tack shark by cruising along on starboard tack behind the line of luffing boats and then heading up into a gap a few seconds before the start.

    Both of these approaches work quite well if the line isn't too crowded as you can make sure you choose a decent gap and, if you time it right, you don't even need to stop completely. Just accelerate into your chosen hole and go.

    Another one (that rarely works) is a "squirrel start". Luff by the committee boat and hope a hole opens up at the last minute. Helps if the tide is pushing the boats down the line away from the committee boat. If the right side of the course is favored a squirrel can sometimes win all the nuts!