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  #1  
Old 02-25-2012
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My first race tomorrow

Everyone on my dock says not to worry, it's just a fun race. I'm not up to speed on rules and I am unsure of the right of way technicalities. Lastly, the start freeks me out just a little. Still they tell me...don't worry, it's just for fun. Ok so I'm going for it. Any tips or advice that will keep me on the invitation list?
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Old 02-25-2012
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Supply the drinks afterwards and don't hit anyone and do not protest And all will be forgiven.

There is a favored side to cross the start line. You can pick the other side and time it perfectly and have more room and still be in the game.
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Old 02-25-2012
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Rule #1
Don't hit anybody.
Rule # 2
In the event of an eminent collision, don't hit anybody.
Rule #3
If all else fails, refer to rule #1.
Rule #4
Have fun.
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Old 02-25-2012
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Don't hit anybody...Check. Bring beer...Check. Is that all?
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Old 02-25-2012
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Rhr1956 – You didn’t say what type of boat you are racing on. Normal rules of the road apply in racing Stb over Port tack and windward/leeward. I’m not sure what your skill level is so we will dispense with figuring out the favored part of the start line. Suffice to say the crowded end is probably the most favored. You will want to be on Stb tack when you approach and cross the start line. That gives you the most “rights” and the port tackers will be dodging you rather than the other way around. A "Vanderbilt” start is probably your safest bet. That is where you figure out (during the prestart) the spot on the water that is one or two minutes travel time from the line. You be at that spot at the appointed time and make your final run in. This requires less time management than other types of starts. Newbees tend to have trouble in the time management department and usually start out from too far in the rear and cross the line way after the other starters. On the course: Work on sail trim and making your boat move as fast as you can. Newbees tend to get burned if they try to sail a “tactical” race ie. Covering your competition etc. You should sail strategically. Figure out the favored tack and tack when you get headed. Try not to “bang the corners” that is, sail to the edges of the course. People who do tend to get burned when they get headed way out there. Figure out your tacking angle – You will need to know this when you are figuring out if you are on the “lay line” to the mark on your final approach tack. Your last tack needs to be finished before your are within three boat lengths from the mark. An yes, you really want to be on Stb tack as you go into a mark. THis will give your the most "rights" and all you have to do is round in a "seamanlike" manner. If you find yourself in a tacking duel and you are on port, don’t try to be a hero and cross ahead of the stb tacker, hold your course and then duck him. This is much faster than finding you have no room and you have to tack away. Keep it simple, have fun, Don’t expect to win the first time out, have fun. And on Monday we want a full report! Plus, perhaps we can have a little “clinic” too. (I need to start clearing the cobwebs out before our own YRA season starts!)

Last edited by GeorgeB; 02-25-2012 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 02-25-2012
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Ok...stb tack at start. don't dual. If it gets close, can I chunk beer cans at them?
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Old 02-25-2012
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Old 02-25-2012
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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.
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Old 02-25-2012
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Thanks for the good advice. Fortunately there are no classic wooden pieces are art in this fleet.
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Old 02-27-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhr1956 View Post
Don't hit anybody...Check. Bring beer...Check. Is that all?
Jebus... no wonder cruisers complain that racers are irresponsible.

Look my friend, it isn't rocket surgery but there is a little more to it than "don't hit anybody". Knowing right of way technicalities is a bit important.

1. Know the starting sequence (flags, sound signals).
2. Know what VHF channel the race committee is on (if they use VHF)
3. Just as in general navigation, boats on stbd tack are the "stand on" vessel, boats on port tack must give way.

4. You MUST leave room for your competition, within 3 boat lengths of the mark. You cannot just cut them off.

5. You should have studied your club's NOR (Notice of Race) and Racing Instructions. They usually publish this on the club's website. Each race will have specific rules, in addition to the general racing rules that the sailing world observes.

This is the minimum that you should do, even for a casual club race. If you decide you like racing your own boat, I encourage you to read a little deeper into the RRS (Racing Rules of Sailing). Good luck!

RRS- Link
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