Why You Should Consider Starting In The Middle Of The Line

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Starting towards the centre of the line offers many more advantages than starting at the ends even though one end may seem to be favoured. 

The first advantage is that it gets you away from the congestion at the favoured end thus lessening your chances of being blanketed by other boats and helping ensure that you avoid a potential collision. 

Secondly, it gives you more flexibility to decide who you start next to and allows you to select a marshmallow to get off the line without being challenged.

A third advantage is that mid-line sag is a highly is a feature of any race with large numbers of boats and long lines and your knowledge of this will allow you to start a boat length or more in front of others around you.

On a day where there is not a massive reason to start at one or the other, especially in an oscillating breeze, a mid-line start puts you in a good position to play the shifts and sail conservatively up the middle of the course.

On a day when one side of the course is heavily favoured, a start about one-third from the favoured end is a better option. This keeps you away from the aggressive starters and congestion but keeps you in touch with the fleet giving your more options due to less traffic.

In a class that does not allow electronic line pinging instruments, to get a good mid-line start, it is essential to establish line sight transits to make sure you are close to the line when the gun goes.

If you are unable to get a line sight or use your line sight due to traffic, a good reference is to observe the boats at either end, if you are not close to being in line with them, you are more than likely well behind the line.

If you want to sight the line by looking from one end to the other, swing your gaze to windward of the boat rather than to leeward. When you swing your gaze to leeward, you get the impression that you are closer to the line than you are.

A trick to getting an effective line reference when you can’t use your line sight, is to point your finger at one end and then “draw” the starting line across the water to windward of you and on to the other end.

Keep an eye on the imaginary line you have drawn and this should guarantee that you will be in a great position at the start.

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