5 Tips: Getting a Good Start – and the 60 Seconds After That

If a good start is the key to good race, the last tack into the start and the first 60 seconds out of it are crucial, explains top America’s Cup sailor Terry Hutchinson. From Yachting World.

Photo from Yachting World

The subtleties of a good start are more complicated than identifying a good spot to leeward and starting next to someone who is going to give space and be happy to be rolled – although they both seem to help.

For me, consistent starting comes from repetition of the process and having a team that is working together without the need for constant communication. Simple buzzwords such as ‘kill high, aggressive turn here’, or ‘smooth tack to upwind’ are just a few things that help to get the point across succinctly.

But a good start is as much about boat positioning before the start as it is about the 60 seconds after the start. For this piece we are going with the concept that a nice hole has been carved out for the slingshot.

Within this scenario I want to focus on a port approach and the 60 seconds after the start.

Post continues here

By |2015-10-12T12:07:41-07:00October 12th, 2015|Racing Skills|0 Comments

Shift Into Your Point Gear

Click for bigger image

Light air and strong current are tricky conditions and as the results of last Sunday’s race show, trickier for some boats then others. Besides reading the current and the wind, light and varying conditions call for almost continuous shifting gears to maintain good boat speed. Here’s Greg Fisher’s take in Sailing World on Shifting Into Your Point Gear.

The ability to point is an important part of any boatspeed toolkit. In many cases, having the ability to point is just as important as having great speed through the water. There are many instances when being able to outpoint the boats around you is incredibly helpful, especially in executing your tactical game plan: We all appreciate how critical it is to be able to clear out the boat to windward at the start in order to have the opportunity to tack, or to hold a lane as long as possible when a boat has tacked close to leeward.

Most sailors recognize that sailing in point mode, or point “gear,” puts the boat in a fragile, somewhat demanding trim and tune. If the boat is sailed too high or too long in point gear, it can easily stall, and you’ll slip sideways. When conditions make it challenging to steer and maintain speed (for example, when it’s choppy, wavy, or very light or very windy), your ability to maintain a point mode is significantly shorter than it would be when sailing in flat water or medium winds. Sometimes, you may only maintain point mode for a matter of seconds, sometimes it may be as long as a minute.

click here to read the rest of the post on Sailing World


By |2012-10-02T12:37:34-07:00October 2nd, 2012|Racing Skills|0 Comments

Light Air Running

Completing a light air jibe. photo by Louis Benainous on Flickr

The last couple of race days have seen wind and rain during the day, but around the 6 PM start time the sun has come out and the breeze gone away. The lesson here may well be don’t let 4 PM’s weather scare you away from an evening sail. Having made it out, now how do you sail fast to the leeward mark in low pressure? The link below will pull up a PDF of Stewart Walker’s interesting and thorough thoughts on that very question.

Light Air Running by Stewart Walker, a PDF file

By |2011-04-14T11:46:35-07:00April 14th, 2011|Racing Skills|0 Comments

Know Your Mode

From the 42 Marine blog, a post on mode awareness and shifting gears.

Saturday afternoon on Lake Minnetonka served up some great conditions for E Scow club racing; SW, 20-25, 85-90 degree temps…It doesn’t get much better. We had 17 boats on the line for the start of the first race, and the finishing tally at the end of race 2 was 7.  Broken boats and masts and bruised egos for sure. But on top of the close racing and awesome downwind rides, there were some great lessons to be learned, one of which is to always know your “mode” and be able to adjust it.  This is kind of opening a can or worms, but I will give it a go…


By |2011-03-03T11:48:27-08:00March 3rd, 2011|Racing Skills|0 Comments