Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Orleans
Thanked 48 Times in 45 Posts
Rep Power: 12
racing's a concentrated course in everything you could learn about sailing, and particularly how to find 'clear' air, and make the boat go fast.
What it's like in small boats:
The (upwind) start's like a big washing machine, the boats are the clothes. Lots of close-quarters maneuvering, some yelling, and keeping your brain and boatspeed intact while you balance distance, speed and time til start gun. At the start, you either have clear air (life is wonderful) or you're buried in dirty air and don't have room yet to tack away (life is tragically unfair).
Up the beat, if you got a good start and kept your air clear til the fleet spread out, and your boatspeed is decent, then you're doing okay. But those spread-out boats will all converge again at the windward mark. More fun, maneuvering, and yelling! (know the rules, and most of the yelling will make sense).
Downwind--spinnaker time! Big nylon wrestling match, then it fills, and you're off like a rocket. If it's a reach to second mark, it's a fast parade--if dead downwind, a jibe-fest. Again, they all converge at the.....
...leeward mark! Get that spinny down and stowed NOW, we have to round up to the beat! "Room at the mark!" (you either yell this or get yelled at). Get around legally and you're now on the final beat. Geeze, lots more boats behind you than ahead (okay, maybe not in yr first race, but it'll come), keep your air clear and figure out if you can pick any of them off via sniffing a windshift better than them, or hiking harder and going faster.
near the finish line--which end is favored? Can we beat that guy, when to tack for it?
Last tack, you've finished! Not bad, good job crew, drinks ashore on me, and here's what we gotta fix next time.....;-)