Key tactical tips on how to improve your sailing both upwind, downwind, and around the course.
- When sailing downwind, use your masthead wind indicator to show your apparent wind and look at your nearby competitor’s indicator to see if they are shadowing you.
- If you lose distance after crossing tacks or gybes, have the courage to shift sides of the course.
- Always stay on the same side of the course as the majority of the fleet have chosen.
- When making a manouvre, always work out the new course to steer first. Before you plan to tack or Gybe, look for an object on the shore to aim for, pick another boat or use the compass for a reference.
- In most races, you can make a mistake but still do well. Your ultimate goal though should be to sail better in each subsequent race by eliminating little errors.
- When approaching another boat, always accelerate for speed. If you are on Port tack, decide early whether to tack, lee bow or dip.
- A good Rule of Thumb is, if two-thirds of your boat can cross, usually you can successfully tack to leeward.
- When the crossing is close, lee-bowing another boat is risky.
- When dipping another boat, start your manouvre three or four boat lengths away. Your goal in dipping is to be close-hauled and sailing the second that your bow passes the other boat’s stern.
- Do not run directly downwind to the leeward mark, always approach on a reach.
- Avoid tacking immediately after rounding a leeward mark, to avoid sailing in disturbed air and choppy water.
- If you are going slow, make a change such as easing sails or bearing off a little for speed.
- If you are well down in the fleet, don’t try to pass every boat in the fleet by taking a flyer, work on passing one boat at a time.
- If you are being covered by a boat, the time to get out of phase is when you are faster, never tack when you are slower.
- Major Mistakes to avoid:
(a) Being over the start line before the gun goes.
(b) Staying in disturbed air for long periods of time
(c) Sailing on the wrong side of the course after you have lost to the boats on the other side.
(d) Getting into a protest.
(e) Not communicating the next manouvre with your crew.
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