SinC Speed and Smarts Mark Rounding Pt3 In most situations, faster is better because the goal of racing is to get to the finish line as quickly as possible and beat the other boats. But once in a while you need to slow down.

SinC Speed and Smarts Mark Rounding Part2 Almost every sailor realizes the importance of making a strategic plan for the first leg before they start the race. But how many of those sailors also develop a strategy for every other leg in the race?

SinC Speed and Smarts Mark RoundingThe marks of the course are often critical in determining how boats cross the finish line. That’s because mark roundings bring the entire fleet together into one small, congested spot.

SinC Speed and Smarts Windward Mark The windward mark is the first point where all the boats come back together after the start. It’s usually crowded and contentious and can have a significant impact on the outcome of the race.

SinC Dellenbaugh Light Heavy Air Part 3 One of the big differences between racing in light air versus heavy air is that it’s usually a lot more difficult to execute good boathandling maneuvers when it’s breezy. This is not surprising. More wind means boats go faster and bounce around a lot more (because there are usually bigger waves).

In most races, two key strategic variables seem to have by far the biggest impact on boats’ overall success (or failure). These are wind velocity (‘pressure’) and changes in wind direction (‘shifts’).

SinC Light Heavy Air Differences It’s clear that the more wind you have the faster you’ll go. That’s why sailors avoid the bad air of other boats. The problem with sailing in wind shadows is that you have less wind velocity than boats sailing in clear air. This hurts in two ways.

SinC SpeedandSmarts Starboard Converging Here is a common situation that requires an important decision. You are sailing upwind on port tack, converging with another boat on starboard tack (S). If you keep sailing straight you will hit the other boat, so you must make a choice about how you will keep clear of S.

SinC Speed and Smarts Direction When you are trying to beat a boat that’s just ahead or behind, you have to consider strategy, not just tactics. In the same way that you want to be on the ‘favored’ side of the fleet, you should put yourself on the ‘favored’ side of any boat that you are trying to pass.

SinC Dellenbaugh Risk Taking One definition of risk is ‘exposure to the possibility of loss.’ That basically sums it up for sailboat racers. When you take a risk, you are accepting the chance that you will lose something you have – boats, time, you're standing in the series, a chance to catch up, etc.