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      Abbreviated rules   07/28/2017

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skiffsailor_aus

Starting a race

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How do you guys get a good position on the line & then defend it without breaking the rules?

 

I have been told I need to watch for boats trying to come in underneath me & then bear away across in front of them to deter them. But then the next boat to leeward won't be too happy if I do that! Also, then someone usually tacks right on top of me & I end up getting pinned.

 

I know how to pick the favored end, hold my boat in position etc, I just don't know how to stop my start getting stuffed up by everyone else - I usually end up pinned, or getting pushed over the line or into the start boat.

 

Any tips?

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Usually, if you're getting rolled from above it is because the boat to leeward is too close for you to accelerate.

 

Try setting up to weather of someone who is already set up, with just enough room to do a half-decent acceleration, ie NOT a big enough hole for someone to come into from behind.

If your skills are good enough to stay above the leeward boat, this should give you just enough room to get a front row start, which is all one could ask for.

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Another idea is to play possum, hide out behind the favored end of the line. depending on line length shoot the line are 20-30 seconds and find the open hole. hit the hole at full speed or just a bit slower at the gun. it takes advantage of sailors not paying attention and with your speed off the line you should get first row with speed, always a plus.

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Holding a 'lane' takes practice and you will find that youth and college sailors that practice hundreds of them develop a real knack for it.

 

Basically if you 'set up' in "your" slot too early you'll find yourself picked off - if you HAVE a nice gap to leeward someone sharp will hop in there, if you DON'T have a clear lane then you get spit out the back anyway.

 

One trick is to be 'late' enough to take a nice 'shoot' to weather with 5-7 seconds to go - without being over-early, of course, that way as you bear away with 2 seconds (or so) to go you will have carved out your own lane and hopefully 3 of the fast guys haven't jumped in it.

 

But yeah, a good, tightly-contested start line is kinda mayhem, but there's not much like it, eh ?

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How do you guys get a good position on the line & then defend it without breaking the rules?

 

I have been told I need to watch for boats trying to come in underneath me & then bear away across in front of them to deter them. But then the next boat to leeward won't be too happy if I do that! Also, then someone usually tacks right on top of me & I end up getting pinned.

 

I know how to pick the favored end, hold my boat in position etc, I just don't know how to stop my start getting stuffed up by everyone else - I usually end up pinned, or getting pushed over the line or into the start boat.

 

Any tips?

I posted a series of exercises that can help some time ago. I'll see if I can dig up the thread. The trick is not to actually "bear off" with boat speed but rather to learn to turn the boat between Head To wind, to 90 to wind and back with almost no forward movement. This involves over sheeting the main, the jib and letting the rudder stall in various different parts.

 

IE use the jib to "pull the bow down" (and if overtrimmed it won't really accel the boat.

Use the main to drive the bow up and if overtrimmed and a flogging jib you really wont accel either - espe if the rudder is all the way stalled and acting as a break.

 

depending on your rig - ie if you have full battens, learn to "hover" with the battens inverted.

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it sounds like you are setting up too early and not watching out for what the boats coming in from behind at doing. your crew really needs to be on the look out and telling you if a boat is coming to weather/leeward so you can stuff your bow into the wind or close the gap between you and a leeward boat so no one is tempted to go in there. also make sure you aren't setting up too high on the line, you said you get pushed over a lot. you want to give yourself about half a boat length if you need to head up or down to save your lane and to accelerate at the start.

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One technique that I really like is the port approach. If you cruise down the line on port while boats are beginning to stack up on starboard its easy to slide in and tack underneath someone. By positioning yourself close to them, with a larger gap to leeward, you can stuff their start and still have space to bear off and accelerate. You should be setting up and tacking onto starboard no later than 30 seconds, and often around 45 seconds to 1 minute, depending on the fleet and which end of the line you want to start at.

 

One major benefit is you can set up to leeward of a pack of boats, and control when they are able to accelerate. They can't begin to bear off until you do, so its possible to hold off an entire pack on your hip pretty easily.

 

Most of all...practice practice practice. Starting is an incredibly difficult skill to master, only solution is more time on the water. Good luck

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Another idea is to play possum, hide out behind the favored end of the line. depending on line length shoot the line are 20-30 seconds and find the open hole. hit the hole at full speed or just a bit slower at the gun. it takes advantage of sailors not paying attention and with your speed off the line you should get first row with speed, always a plus.

 

Always worth a try if you can line up to be second boat off the starboard end - as long as you want to go right, you're sacrificing one boat length to be the first guy out right. Plus a whole fleet on starboard tack will generate a gnarly lift AND gust off the starboard end (lift on port that is). Of course, it gets too congested with big starboard bias, but on a flat line (at least in my experience) it tends to be a good safe bet. Trick is to get your approach angle right and dominate the area - don't be late! Tell people loudly that you are having that end and they better not try coming in above you! (don't do that to kids though rolleyes.gif )

 

But back to OPs question - if you're getting pushed into the start boat, you are getting the approach angle wrong - ie coming in above a line drawn back on close hauled from the end. This could be that you're arriving too late and someone else already grabbed it (usually about 45 secs - 1 min is a good time to start racking up) or just misjudging the angle your boat will move at once stopped. By that, I mean different boats handle differently at stopped, some stuff goes sideways (and can be made to go sideways faster, like a laser with board up) and other stuff tends to hold a bit of forward motion and not slip. Other stuff really loses steering (bloody multihulls!).

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Another idea is to play possum, hide out behind the favored end of the line. depending on line length shoot the line are 20-30 seconds and find the open hole. hit the hole at full speed or just a bit slower at the gun. it takes advantage of sailors not paying attention and with your speed off the line you should get first row with speed, always a plus.

 

that never works in a good fleet - if you want to be close to the favored side. Or you're going for the committee boat to blast off to the right and then you might just have to weight your turn...

 

 

 

 

skiffsailor, you arent throwing the bow down so far to interfere with the leeward boat or even to open up a gap, you're merely making it impossible for a boat to head in there and become leeward to you and you having the time to and ability to avoid... ie, when a boat aquires right of way they need to give the burden boat, you, time to get out of the way. Its a tricky balance, a big hole to leeward is great, lots of time to get going, but you dont want to lose it.

 

make sure you dont pull the trigger too late. remember that, idealy, you can run the line for a moment and point the bow down, then give it a good heal to leeward (depending on the boat/conditions, how big the heal is) to help turn back up and a good flatten to squirt out. the timing for those takes time to learn for your boat and the conditions. I like to do a couple stop and goes every now and then before a start, especially when i get back in my boat because me and my helm are usuallly used to FJ;s or 420's, so it takes a moment to readjust.

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The humorous thing about this thread is that all of this is great advice. Most us know what we are supposed to do, we just don't do it. I have been racing sailboats for over 30 years now, have read dozens of books on how to go the right way faster than my friends do, talked to some of the true legends of the game about how to be speedy, and I still come away from about 90% of it scratching my head wondering what happened.

 

God, but this is a fun sport. :)

 

RD

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Learn to walk your boat to windward so that if you need to bear away to hold your lane and a gap opens up to windward after you do that, you can then close that gap and keep your lane open to leeward so you can still start.

 

Learn to walk your boat to windward so that if you need to bear away to hold your lane and a gap opens up to windward after you do that, you can then close that gap and keep your lane open to leeward so you can still start.

 

It's really hard, just takes practice.

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The humorous thing about this thread is that all of this is great advice. Most us know what we are supposed to do, we just don't do it. I have been racing sailboats for over 30 years now, have read dozens of books on how to go the right way faster than my friends do, talked to some of the true legends of the game about how to be speedy, and I still come away from about 90% of it scratching my head wondering what happened.

 

God, but this is a fun sport. :)

 

RD

 

my starts are always perfect dry.gif

 

 

Learn to walk your boat to windward so that if you need to bear away to hold your lane and a gap opens up to windward after you do that, you can then close that gap and keep your lane open to leeward so you can still start.

 

Learn to walk your boat to windward so that if you need to bear away to hold your lane and a gap opens up to windward after you do that, you can then close that gap and keep your lane open to leeward so you can still start.

 

It's really hard, just takes practice.

 

that doesnt always work as well in skiffs compared to other boats though. Its a great technique if you can get it to work

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In a not too tight race (few boats) you can always swim above the line behind the start boat, then you sail down with lots of speed and steer up across the line right on time.

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The trick is to have a big enough gap to leeward to use, but not so big someone else decides they can fit into it. If you’ve made it too big they will. The technique for holding the gap will vary from boat to boat depending on the nature of the boat.

 

Top tip is to pick a bunny and line up to windward of him, then as you kill him off the line you’ve got heaps of space to leeward.

Some of the advice in this thread seems to be aimed at low quality fleets, but you can probably work that out for yourself...

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...

I know how to pick the favored end, hold my boat in position etc, I just don't know how to stop my start getting stuffed up by everyone else - I usually end up pinned, or getting pushed over the line or into the start boat.

 

Any tips?

 

Wreck your bow down couple sec. if anyone trying to get a overlap from behind, that move can also be used to put pressure on those who wanted to take your spot to tack early and bunch them up under you, then burn you speed luffing up to the line again.

Also, don't ever initiate a yelling match or join one, just keep the boat moving.

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