Saturday, September 19, 2009


The July/August Speed and Smarts which arrived a few days ago (in September) has this "brain teaser"–"At a starting line set square to the sailing wind the current is flowing strongly from the committee boat to the pin end. If the current and the wind stay steady up the first beat, it will be better to start at the RC boat (the up current end). True or False."

My first answer was False- start at the pin end because the "strong current" will give you a current wind and angle the apparent wind to the left. The pin end will be up wind.

Dellenbaugh’s answer was "false" because he says all the points on the line are equal. Start anywhere.

Now I am looking for some address to complain to. Then I read the question again. "Sailing Wind" OK, he added the current into that.

The committee folks have a hard time getting that line square to the "Sailing wind." They are anchored. They have to get a sailor to give them a heading or a compass bearing on the wind, while he is are carried along in the current. That is a good RC that does that.

Now I still want to start at the RC and work right which is up current. If you get very far left, you will have a hard time judging the lay line and end up going too far and reaching back to get around it.

The more I think about it, the pin will be a terrible place to start. The strong current carrying you away from the starting line.

Lasers, you folks start at the committee boat and work right. When you get to the mark give it some extra room, so you don’t get swept into it.

If you have a chance, sail in some current. It changes the game.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Some other thoughts...

    With a current like that, there is a good chance that there will be a hole by the RC boat that you can reach into at the last minute and then tack out to the right in clear air if that's where you want to be.

    Both laylines will be tough to judge. I wouldn't want to get on the starboard layline too early either. You don't want to get trapped on that layline with boats above you and then find out that you can't lay the mark because of the current and you can't tack either. So I would aim to approach the starboad tack layline on port, maybe 6-10 boat lengths before the mark, look for a hole in the line that I can sail through, tack a bit above the apparent layline to allow for the current, and then sail fast over the heap of boats that will inevitably be luffing to clear the mark and failing and piling up on the mark.

    Woo hoo!!