So there you are screaming down the run in Tacticat trying to keep out of the way of the Tactifools gybing and capsizing and steering all sorts of unpredictable courses and before you know what's happening the leeward gate is coming up fast and there are crowds of boats stopped, crashed, tacking, gybing, swirling around each mark like a swarm of bees and you have to make a decision about which side of the gate to round in about three milliseconds and........ disaster strikes.
And even though all the other advice you have read here about Tacticat sailing hasn't helped you one iota you are back here again for some help on how to deal with the leeward gate? Never learn, do you?
As with my last post on Downwind in Tacticat let me adopt my modest posture and confess that there is probably a lot more I don't know about gate rounding than I do know. So if you are a Tactichampion then please feel free to abuse me in the comments and to improve or correct my advice. But here's a few things I try and remember to do as I approach the bottom of the run...
First thing is to decide which gate you are going to round. Seems to me that there are two strategic factors -- and one tactical issue -- to consider...
Which side of the course has stronger wind? Other things being equal round the gate mark on that side and start heading to the pressure. Sure you could round the other mark and then tack but the problems with that strategy are
- you have further to sail to the stronger wind,
- you have to cross through the mayhem of boats still on the run. (Remember there's a reason all those idiots are behind even you.)
So make your mind up well before you approach the gate and position yourself to approach the desired mark, preferably on the inside of those 17 other boats that rounded the windward mark with you.
Then as you approach your preferred mark let's suppose that you notice that there is total chaos there. Boats jammed up in a raft six deep. Capsized boats. Usual Tacticrap. This is where quick thinking comes in. Do not under any circumstances plow right into the back of the raft of boats at the mark. Seems to me you have five choices...
- Slow down and hope the mess clears quickly.
- Aim for that tiny gap between the inside boat and the mark, get penalized for hitting both, and then spend the whole of the second beat complaining about how unfairly you were treated.
- Take the long route around the slow boats going nowhere.
- Change your mind and make a nice close rounding of the other mark and sail away in clear air with time to hit the M key and leave a sarcastic comment for the 23 other boats still stuck on the mark.
And in case you think this has nothing to do with real world sailing then let's see what a real world real expert has to say about real gates. However, sometimes weird things happen at a real world gate that would never happen in Tacticat.
So what have I missed? Anything else to say about Tactigates?