Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Starboard Tack Danger

My last Tacticat Tip was about the dangers of approaching a crowded windward mark on the port tack layline.

So here's the bad news kiddies: even if you approach the mark on starboard tack you can still screw it up and lose many places in the race. The easiest way I find to achieve this disgrace is when I approach the mark just shy of the layline with boats to windward of me or on my windward hip so I can't tack twice to clear the mark. So I try and shoot the mark and end up hitting it and maybe fouling a windward boat too. I lose way, stop altogether, start drifting backwards as other boats start piling into the traffic jam at the mark that I created. By the time the mess clears the rest of the fleet is sailing down the run.

So why would you approach the mark shy of the layline Tillerman? You may well ask. Sometimes it's because when I approach the parade of boats on the starboard tack layline I am tempted to tack below them rather than find a gap to sail through. Or maybe when I tacked on to starboard tack I was above the layline but then there was a header. It's easy to do, believe me. Done it many times in Tacticat.

So learn from my mistakes. Think ahead. Is the wind oscillating? Are you likely to experience a header before reaching the mark? Also, try and find a slot in the starboard tack parade where you have freedom to tack out again if the worst happens. Easy to say, harder to do.

And just to reinforce the point that it's not only crap Tacticat sailors like me that can make this mistake, here's another post from CampbellSailing.com where Andrew owns up to a similar error in real world sailing.

Do other Tacticat sailors have this problem? Do you have any other tips on how to avoid it?


Anonymous said...

When I'm approaching the mark on starboard, I usually overstand by at least 2 lengths (your close haul line will be at least outside the circle on the course). More often then not there's a traffic jam at the mark which fills up the 2 length circle.

If you can visually see that there will not be a traffic jam, you can then fall off and run over boats to leeward (but careful not to fall below the layline).

Anonymous said...

Here's a tip: Tacticat is a relatively heavy application resource-wise, written in Java, and therefore you're well advised to

* Minimize other concurrent heavyweight applications, such as iTunes.

* Minimize network traffic that can sporadically cause latency delays. Close your email client, close your RSS reader, close your instant messenger, and so on.

You just know that you'll get resources competing for bandwidth at the very moment you need clear immediate feedback, such as on a start line, or at a crowded mark rounding.

Anonymous said...

Another bonus I got from overstanding today. There was a long conga line on the starboard tack on the lay line. Because of the close proximity of everyone, no one was having above 80% free wind. Because I overstood I sailed in clean wind and made up at least 10 spots (bad start, don't ask).

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