Saturday, March 31, 2012


This picture I stole from Proper Course.  I don’t know if it is Lao Tzu who is said to say “The journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.”  The race begins long before the start, but in one sense it begins with the START.

I sail quite a bit by myself – alone-  just to keep from getting too much slower.  In case you didn’t know it – as you get older, you get slower.  That’s what all that masters stuff is about.  Make an old slow person a winner.  That’s dumb, but it is also OK.  Remember, this is a “game” i.e. fun—not serious--- but we still like to do better.  To sail better.

When I sail by myself, I practice tacks, mark roundings, gybes, etc. and when I get tired of that stuff I do a couple of starts.    WOW—then a few weeks ago I had a couple of good races and realized they were when I had the good starts.

So now I am really practicing starts.  Starts by yourself---YES

1.      Stop by a buoy and hold position for 30 seconds.  Outhaul and Cunningham set for fast upwind.  Vang off.  Close reach position at full luff.

2.      10 to 7 seconds to go. Reach in and pull on the vang.

3.      “Jab” the tiller to windward with the tiller extension – hard – so the bow goes down.

4.      Lean in to heel the boat to lee.

5.      Trim in the sail

6.      And hike out to flatten and accelerate the boat.

7.      Trim in to close hauled

8.      And sail fast (bow down), windward and leeward tell tails flowing, boat flat for 30 seconds (maybe you will need tell tails at the front of the window so you can always see the leeward flow.)  No reaching in to make adjustments—those were to be set up before.

Now vang off and go back and do it again and again until it flows together without thinking about the parts.

I will let you know when I get it to “ flow”.


  1. Lao Tzu? I thought it was O Docker.

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