Saturday, August 22, 2009


Your start depends a lot on what the other boats are doing.

A large aggressive fleet will all be luffing just below the starting line and driving for the line in the last few seconds. You may have trouble finding a slot in that line up.

Smaller and developing fleets will have a variety of approaches. Get in there and see what happens.

Anything over about a ten degree bias to the line will give a positive advantage to the up wind end of the line.

If the general plan is to go left, then the pin end is the natural one. If you get a good start at the pin you will have clear air and the rest of the fleet will be eating some sort of bad air.
The down side is it will be hard getting you timing perfect and if you get it wrong you may be pretty well buried by the folks sailing over you, taking your wind an letting the next guy do the same thing. The other downside is it may really be hard to tack to port with a lot of boats in the way. If you want to work the middle you will have to wait for some of the others to tack or for a big header.

The boat end is general the best if you are planning to go right. At the boat end you will be able to tack to port right away or to continue to the left. If you want to work the middle, you can start right away. Even a second row start at the boat will let you go right at once or at least the tack out for a clear lane, which is hard to do at the pin end.

The fleet often gets jammed up at the favored end or at both ends leaving the midline more open. Because it is hard to judge just where the midline line is there is usually a "midline sag" and if you have good line sights and particularly the two boat length sight ( see the note a few days ago) the midline will be a safer start with clear air.

If one end of the line is strongly favored then maybe a start a little away from that end but near it will be a more conservative start.

One essential to a good start is the ability to back the sail and stop the boat, control it in the stop mode, and then get the bow down and up to speed better than the fellow next to you.

With more experience when you see the start turning bad, bail out early, look for a better spot or take some sterns.

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