Thursday, August 20, 2009


Some notes on starting .

People that are serious about the races are out early sailing the course to get a feeling for the shifts of the day, the waves and general conditions and getting their boats set up.
Some of the hot shots come late and do well because of their prior experience.

If you are out early and now relaxing and waiting, the "safety position" now taught in sailing schools, it is a little more secure if the long sheet on the Laser is secured at the boom out 90 degrees position. Use the cleat or if without cleats a knot in the sheet or your foot on the sheet so the sail doesn’t wander out a lot more than that.

One of our coaches put out four buoys to mark a box to leeward of the starting line to keep all his students near the line. A good idea to stay close to the line before the start. Do not get way up wind or way own wind, but be able to reach back into the starting area. If you are waiting between races, drinking water ands things like that, have the boat heading back toward the committee boat so it will be easy for you to see the signals.

When you are maneuvering before the start stay near the line. If you get very far down wind and you have a big shift to the other side it maybe impossible to back to that end in time.

This puts you in possible contact with the other boats so stay alert. Most of the collisions happen during this prestart period. During the race you have a better idea about what the other fellow will be doing, but not in the prestart.

Usually you have the four things to do. 1) Check which end of the line is favored (up wind). 2) Time the line. 3) Get a range on the line. And maybe another range on a line 2 boat lengths behind the committee boat to the pin. That second range will give you the position one boat length behind the line half way to the pin. Maybe a good place to be at the start. 4) Check for current.

Remember that the "rules" start with the start of the race which is the Preparatory signal, the P flag, the blue flag with the white square center. That is before the "start" of the race. Collision before that signal don’t count in the race. Touch the mark before that signal and no penalty. Do it after that signal and you have a penalty. If you do have a penalty, you can start doing your turns before the other starting signal.

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