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Race Briefing 2006

Jim MacDonald sails an Achilles 24 called Mischief and has enjoyed considerable success in club racing despite usually doing it single-handed. At a briefing for would-be racers at the club he shared the following very useful tips borne from experience:

  • Plan to arrive at the start line at least 15 minutes before the start.
  • Make sure you know the Course.
  • Make sure you have an accurate time record so you can be aware of the time in relation to the start time.
  • Be sure to time your start so you are just about to cross the line at the start time.
  • Put in a reef if needed.
  • If the start is into the wind, position yourself at the appropriate end of the line to be on the best tack.
  • If the tide is with you choose the route with greatest depth.
  • If the tide is against you choose the route with just enough water.
  • Do not use a spinnaker unless you have sufficient crew to control it and the wind is in a direction where it will be used.
  • On long races do not use extra long tacks in case the wind shifts so that a lesser tack would suffice.
  • Be aware of forecast wind direction changes.
  • Expect the wind to die before it comes in from another direction.
  • If winds are light, clues as to the best wind can be gotten from ripples.
  • The strongest tidal stream is on the outside of a bend.
  • Be aware of back eddy locations.
  • Be aware of wind shadows.
  • Try to identify sea breeze effects.
  • Consider tacking downwind to avoid accidental gybes and to catch maximum wind in the genoa or chute.
  • Pass other boats to windward where possible
  • Do not leave outboard down / engine in gear.
  • Shake out reef if not needed.
  • Make sure the anchor is well stowed.

Date Published 4th Mar 2007