Start Line Preparation.
Here’s a quick tip you may not think of when preparing yourself, and your crew, for getting better starts. It’s very easy to practice and will help improve your starts tremendously.
Time vs. Distance.
How many times have you ended up 15 seconds early, or 10 late, when approaching your desired spot on the line? And this small amount of time can spell the difference between a great start and the dreaded second or third row. Believe it or not this is a very easy problem to eliminate. All we need is a few hours of your time so to speak!
Did you tack too early, didn’t accelerate fast enough, couldn’t slow down, someone got in your way, wind died, etc… These are all very simple things to practice and you don’t need a second boat. Just your crew, a stopwatch, and a buoy or mooring.
- Find a “Mark”. Locate a buoy or mooring with plenty of navigable water around it so you can time approaches from all directions, speeds and angles.
- Shorten the sequence time. This will enable you to get in more practice “Starts”. I suggest 2-3 minutes.
- Now once in sequence, guess your time to the “Mark” and go for it. This will vary widely depending on distance, wind speed, do you have to Tack, or Gybe, etc… Make sure you call out this “guess” of time. Keeps you and the crew honest. You can even make it a competition to liven things up a bit.
- Repeat this exercise with both Tacks and Gybes involved. See how close you can get to the “guesstimated” time.
- Another good exercise for when you find yourself very early is stopping and reaccelerating the boat. Get the crew to completely ease sheets and/or hold the boom out, then trim back in and get her going back up to full speed. Observe what did this do to your relative https://check-distance.com/ position to the “Mark”. This maneuver requires a lot of concentration and communication between he helmsmen and trimmers, but when done efficiently can be a great weapon.
In just a short afternoon you’ll be amazed how this simple exercise will improve your starts. The start line is usually a crowded and intense place. The last thing you need to worry about is if you’re guessing your Time vs. Distance calculation correctly.
That’s it. Go out and practice. Good luck and sail fast!