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Staying Out Of Trouble On The Race Course

Staying Out Of Trouble On The Race Course

Preparation for the first race of the regatta starts way before the Skippers Brief on day one, but for the purposes of this sailing article we are only going to concern ourselves with some of the things that might go wrong on the race course and not all of the off-the-water preparation.

Before you leave shore check that your boat is correctly rigged and that the bung is in place.  It is very embarassing to have to retire from the race to avoid sinking!  As you make your way round the course, here are a few of the more common pitfalls to avoid.

  • Don’t be late on the start line, you will be sailing in dirty air.
  • Don’t get pushed over the line early by leeward boats or tide.
  • Don’t hit the Committee boat or snare it’s anchor.
  • If in dirty air, failing to tack asap to clear your wind after the start.
  • Choosing the side of the course with less wind & an adverse tide.
  • Failing to react to a heading wind shift.
  • Not allowing for tide & overstanding the lay line.
  • Tacking too early & then having to pinch to round the mark.
  • Failing to give way round the mark when the same tack boat on the inside established an overlap before the zone.
  • Approaching a port hand mark on port tack unless you are well clear.
  • Colliding with or obstructing a boat sailing upwind when you are sailing downwind on port tack.
  • Sailing too far off to the windward side on a single tack reaching leg.
  • Bearing down on a leeward boat, obstructing its course.
  • Taking risks & capsizing in stronger winds.
  • Rounding the bottom mark with gennaker & or dagger board half up.
  • Failing to go in wide & come out tight at the bottom mark.
  • Forgetting to cover boats coming up behind on the last windward leg.
  • Crossing the windward end of the finish line.
  • Forgetting to sign off or post a tally to confirm you are safely ashore.