Topic : Racing techniques

Whitstable raised a couple of sailing technique questions: 

1) You are on a reach and you know are already sailing high for the mark, so you are trying to sail lower (as is everyone else). The boat behind is looking like they are starting to think about manouvering to roll you, so begrudgingly you start to protect your wind sailing even higher. Now the boat behind shouts the very helpful advise of "Come on - sail straight for the mark" - they then look to bear off. What do you do? I think i got it wrong in assuming the guy behind would not roll you and trusted in sportsmanship. However they then instantly sailed right over the top.

What is the lesson I should learn from this? Am I just sour grapes? In future - just keep luffing all the way to the beach? I also substantially lost out from boats barging and knocking again etc etc etc.. Can sailing be likened to football with all the diving etc..

2) A slightly more melow questions - how are people tying their jib knots to avoid it snagging on the puller when you tack / jibe?

Posted: 03/07/2006 10:58:32
By: 3555
If you luff them to kingdom come, they'll think twice about it next time... this can be especially fun if you find yourself near the front and going slower than the boats around you.  The effect is similar to following a caravan along the A303.

Posted: 03/07/2006 11:08:26
By: Interested Observer
what is the thickness of your jib sheets ? are they tapered ?

Posted: 03/07/2006 11:22:41
By: EdD
It's not a question of sportsmanship it's a question of sailing faster, and it is nearly always better to sail low (Lower than you need) at the start of the leg then you can come into the mark sailing faster and the extrapped give you the upper hand. It's not that simple but there have always been luffers and I've never seen serious a race one by one. Better let a truly faster yachr go and get on with sailing your own boat faster. Dead running its good to have the crew looking aft a lot to spot wind patterns etc too.

Posted: 03/07/2006 11:24:49
By: Obvious
As Lowell North the great sailmaker says "Boatspeed makes you a tactical genius"!

Posted: 03/07/2006 11:33:25
By: Obvious
As a fleet we seem obsessed with sailing high, certainly in the middle and i've reluctantly reached the conclusion that the only way to beat them is to join them.

Posted: 03/07/2006 12:32:36
By: Chris M
But you've got to get low at some ponit the shortest (And most often quickest.) distance between two points is a straight line not the "curve of the dog".(Actuaries and mathematicians will undrestand this.)

Posted: 03/07/2006 12:39:47
By: Not at all Obvious
Surely this is all about boat handling and racing tactics. There are ways out of a luffing battle, If you are trapped on the windward side srew head to wind and stall the boat then use momentum to duck the lufing boats transome. slight heel to windward, bear off and you are long gone.
or as previously mentioned stay low off the layline at first and tighten up towards the mark - you will need to be slick on team work when dropping, never easy on tight reaches.
Other tips I've picked up is to let the crew call the course - they are looking at the kite, looking for wind and feeding the helm course info. This lets the helm look back at boats below and behind and should prevent the luffing match starting.

Posted: 03/07/2006 12:41:25
By: Hamish 3321
I suppose it also depends on how many boats there are around you as you round. In my experience the worst possible place to be is just in front of a gaggle of boats.

You try and go low and they just form an orderly queue over the top of you.

A couple of lengths breathing room makes a real differance.

Posted: 03/07/2006 13:10:36
By: Chris M
Wasn't it Shoreham when we were nearly Gybing to get to the wing mark! It's easy to get sucked in.

Posted: 03/07/2006 13:11:44
By: ...
Yep had the problem at Shoreham on the sunday myself, being shouted at by the boat in front for going high when I had 4 or 5 boats all trying to pile over me.. Wasn't prepared to just sit there and let them roll me... so up we all went like fools when it was obvious to go lower.. but people will not be told ...

Posted: 03/07/2006 13:34:22
By: RobW
It's an interesting one this one.  I think the problem yesterday (if it was the first race Mr D), was that the sea breeze was coming in only if you went really high, and then there was enough tide to kind of get you to the mark.  As for if you can't beat them, join 'em, I've been amazed so many times that with these new kites it jus seems to pay to go high high high.   A number of times we've tried togo low and it just doesn't seem to work.  Weird.  maybe there's more dirty air of the big kites?

Hang in there Mr D!

Posted: 03/07/2006 13:40:52
By: deepy
I know what you mean about going high seems to pay with the big kites. 

Luff or not to luff - that is the question. The answer seems to be in the words of old Churchill ... "We will luff 'em on the beaches!" .. or at least the ferry steps!

Posted: 03/07/2006 14:22:27
By: 3555

'Luff is a many splendour'd thing'

Posted: 03/07/2006 15:02:08
By: bill
Or even "Luff is the greatest thing, the oldest yet the latest thing, I only hope that luff may bring, luff's glories to you!!!"  (With apologies to Peter Skellern and the Black Dyke Mill Brass Band (or is that black band?)

Posted: 03/07/2006 15:57:33
By: Garry R
Conventional wisdom says go low, but it is true it never seems to work for us. Natt always wants to defend and goes high and the couple of times I have said 'trust me stay low' we have lost out big time, she just ignores me now. 

Natt is partying in Ibiza, so missed out on Whitstable, how was it? Who won?

Posted: 03/07/2006 18:18:43
By: Alan F
Deepy is right.  When the new big kites came in Lawrie Smart told me that the larger dirty wind shadow from them made it very difficult to go low.  If you are going to do it you have to go seriously low straight after the mark to generate as big a gap as possible between you and the line of luffing boats behind.  You invariably lose out to start but more than make up for it at the end 
At Whitstable yesterday the tide was pushing you down on the first reach so you had to go high or you might not lay the mark. If the tide is pushing you to windward of the lay line it really can pay to go low.

As to jib sheets - we changed our knot this year to the arrangement described by GGGG on this forum. Join both (thin) jib sheets together at the end with an overhand knot and pass through sail cringle and secure with a kiwi knot. Works really well although sometimes difficult to undo after a heavy weather race.

Alan F - if you want to know about Whitstable look at Yachts and Yachting and this website

Posted: 03/07/2006 19:13:33
By: JC

re snagging on the puller, it shouldn't if tied the way described, but make sure the tail goes upwards, if it goes downwards it can snag.

The puller shouldn't worry you on tacks, as it should be off on the beat, but the elastic to pull it to the mast often isn't strong enough to take up the multi purchase friction, but it is a simple jon for the crew to grab the puller and slacken it off toward the mast, I do this nowadays.

Posted: 03/07/2006 20:53:30
By: Alan F
It must be luff, luff, luff

Posted: 03/07/2006 22:48:15
By: Madness
You've lost that luffin' feeling, woo hoo...

Posted: 04/07/2006 00:25:56
By: Hot Shot
Yes JC - we actually got the first reach right (doing the old John Turner, looking between the marks when you round them to see the best course given the tide) - my beef was with the second reach, where we were all high and everyone was still pushing higher. (Especially given the old rule that if one reach of the triangle is mega tight, the other should be the opposite...) 

The fact that gets my back up here was the guy who rolled had implied he wouldn't do it and that we would both benefit from sailing the straight line ~ which we would have. There's no love or trust in my world this week. Boo Hoo! Sob Sob.

Posted: 04/07/2006 08:54:51
By: 3555
Get over it Dalby...

Posted: 04/07/2006 09:08:00
By: ;)
Yeah I know, you're right ~ I'm really trying to re-center the old ying and yang ~ it may take a few years though!

Posted: 04/07/2006 09:26:59
By: 3555
Young Dalby - take heart that there was someone to pass you - shurely an improvement!!!!!!!!!

Posted: 04/07/2006 11:49:45
By: Scotty
Ouch he didn't deserve that

Posted: 04/07/2006 14:16:20
By: front to back

You predicament has been niggling me, don't worry, you morally beat the the other boat, and whilst I'm not sure a protest under Rule 2 (Fair play/sportmanship rule) would have worked, or could have been bothered with, I think deliberately misleading some one with a verbal call is a close call on sportsmanship.

What if the call was when you were on port and they said OK pass ahead then didn't dip you and hit you Port and Starboard, that would be nasty!

Posted: 04/07/2006 15:27:27
By: Alan F
Andy - my suggestion is sail your own race

Ignore what others around you are saying (unless of course it's me in which case you would be well advised to do what I suggest. Don't worry I will make myself known at the time...)

Posted: 04/07/2006 16:12:01
By: ;)
I'm guessing a certain Mr W Rainey was the culpret? He sailed over me too - very sly!

Go on tell us...

Posted: 04/07/2006 16:19:13
By: Guess Who?


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