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Join Date: Apr 2006
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OK, if you do hit anybody? Remember, if there are no survivors, you'll spend less time with the protest committee.
About the rules: Like poker or chess, there are only a few rules but you really have to invest time to master them. Try to remember "STARBOARD!" and who gets priority in a crossing, the rest isn't gonna happen by tomorrow. And unwritten rule number one: Highly varnished drop-dead gorgeous wooden boats get right of way, you never want to hit one of them.
Otherwise...yes, the start is by definition a disaster waiting to happen, there's one best place ot be and everyone is going to try to be there. You might be better off just looking for some clean air, less confusion, accept that you'll be following and make it a learning experience, observe and learn.
Or, go for the kill from the start. Depends on how avid a racer you plan to be. :-)
Serisouly though, a lot of skippers concentrate on helming the boat, and let someone else be the expert on tactics and rules. There are whole books and dvds on the racing rules, and you can easily invest a few days going over them to get a basic grasp of how they really work. And the, someone on board ought to have the printed rulebook in their pocket. And a red protest flag--just in case you want to use it.