I watched a recent MC Scow race with 45 boats in the start. I was watching from just above the windward mark. The wind was up a little with a few white caps, some of the guys doubled up on the boats and one boat turned over on the way up to windward.
At the first rounding of the windward mark, the first boat came in on port tack with about a 2 boat lead on the first starboard boat and the second boat also coming in from port just squeezed by. Then the confusion really set in. About half the fleet on port and half on starboard. The starboard guys that couldn’t lay the line were in real trouble. Port tackers dodging trying to find a hole to get through.
I am thinking that the bigger the fleet, the more important the START.
I have an old book by Manfred Curry. He was an American MD living in Germany and wrote the first book about sailboat racing. That was in 1925 and in written in German. That was a long time ago. Two years before I was born. My copy in English was published in 1933, the third edition.
The first half of the book is theory and the second half is racing. He describes the “safe leeward position” and among other things getting the good start. He says that if you are not over the line twice in ten starts you are not trying hard enough. Well, maybe --- that depends on the race, the competitors, your standing, how many more races in the series, etc. I have 27 posts on STARTING. Go way down on the left side of this blog and click on STARTING and they will all line up for you.
Wonders of the computer world.