Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sail the Long Tack First

Continuing the summary of Dave Dellenbaugh's Top Ten Tactical Tips lecture with another tip about the windward leg ...

The seventh tip in the series was "sail the long tack first". In other words sail the tack which has your bow pointing more directly at the windward mark first. That way if the wind changes, you stand to gain whichever way it shifts. The math and the odds are with you. Dave highlighted three situations when this advice is even more important: when the course is very skewed, when you still have a long way to go to the mark, and when you are uncertain about the wind.

Somebody in the audience asked Dave if there really is a place called Cornersville with a sign saying, "Population One". This led to Dave elaborating that another way of expressing this tip is to say that you should keep away from the laylines and the corners of the course.

But of course there are obvious exceptions, says Dave. (Don't you just love it? There are always exceptions. That's what keeps sailboat racing perpetually fascinating.) You should consider going right to the corner when you are sure there is a persistent shift, the current strongly favors one side, and when the winds are very light. (In light winds the middle of the course is usually a bad place to be.)

As you can see from this story about the 2005 Bacardi Cup, the population of Cornersville has recently doubled. Have you ever been there? How was it?

And here is tip #8.


Fred said...

Don´t go to Cornersville...
Geeze - Cornersville remind me to a windsurf tour in the Canaries. We were driving to our favourite spot on the highway and one of my dear friends asked if we could not once look for the spot Sortida (?) which purely means EXIT. And uuuhps, there were so many of them...It was the same one who did not know how to attack the Gambás... and the gals. (an OLD photo from us on my other blog: )

Litoralis said...

Sometimes...perhaps even usually, on lakes Cornersville is better than Middlesville. In the middle, no matter which way the wind shifts you are out of luck with respect to about half the fleet. At least in the corner you have a shot if you get a favorable shift.

JP said...

I remember being told something similar for offshore legs which amounted to don't rush to take a hit. If one tack looks good at the moment stick on it as something might turn up (ie wind shift). And yup there are times when that something turns up and you can get round the mark without even another tack.

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