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Racing boat speed..

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elzorillo View Drop Down
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    Posted: 08 Jul 16 at 4:04pm
I'm a relative newcomer to racing but I'm totally hooked..

I have a question...

So I'm on the start line.. buzzer goes.. everyone is off.. Terrible start (god knows why.. lack of experience probably) but my boat speed is slower than pretty much everyone else in the line and I'm gradually falling back.. everyone is on the same starboard tack.. so.. do I bare away to increase speed a bit then tighten back up..  hold my course slipping further behind... tack off to the side of the water with less breeze? What's your opinion?

Sorry to ask what may be a basic question but well.. I'm a beginner :p
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MerlinMags View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MerlinMags Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 16 at 4:09pm
Was your boat 100% flat (i.e. mast vertical) 100% of the time? That would be a big thing to check.
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elzorillo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote elzorillo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 16 at 4:13pm
Yeah, boat was flat.. probably sail trim etc to blame as I'm not that experienced.. but as I get in this position often, I'm interested in the best course of action to remedy it.. Obv solution is to not get in this position.. but thats my next task ;) 

Edited by elzorillo - 08 Jul 16 at 4:14pm
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bustinben View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bustinben Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 16 at 4:19pm
Welcome to the best sport in the world!  Your question is unfortunately the biggest question you can ask!

There are a couple of aspects here:
1. Boatspeed - you need to be as fast or faster than all the boats around you in order to hold your lane going off the start.  How do you do that?  It depends on so many factors, but basically the more time on the water you spend the quicker you should get and it will be a search for the perfect combination of rig setup, sail trim, boat trim, body movements and steering.
2.  Start execution - if you start a tiny bit back from the boat to leeward, you're going to be going backwards relative to them unless you've got a significant speed advantage due to the dirty air you'll experience around them.  If you're not as quick as them or only as quick and you don't get off the line as well, it's just a matter of time (sometimes not very much time!) before you get spat out the back.    Don't worry too much about it when this happens because the differences are massively amplified when you're in close proximity.  It will make you look much slower than you really are!


Edited by bustinben - 08 Jul 16 at 4:20pm
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elzorillo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote elzorillo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 16 at 4:49pm
Thanks for the advice  Thumbs Up
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craiggo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote craiggo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 16 at 5:11pm
If you're a beginner I would guess that you haven't yet mastered the fine controls for the sails, ie. Cunningham, kicker, outhaul, which all play a part in maximising your boat speed.

Out of interest what are you sailing?

If it's a laser, one of the biggest issues is not pulling the mainsheet in hard enough, and not using enough outhaul. If your sail is too full it will generate too much drag for upwind sailing.

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Do Different View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Do Different Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 16 at 6:09pm
I think your answer partly lies in the second sentence of your question "terrible start" dinghy racing is a cruel game on the first beat and once the sharp sailors get the jump on you and you get even a hint of their dirty air it is a case of the rich getting richer and the poor poorer.
It'll take a better man than me to tell you a foolproof way back from a poor start, not easy but somehow you need to find clear air or a more favoured tack.  
 
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Oinks View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Oinks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 16 at 6:32pm
The good news is....not everyone gets the best start. Only a relative few boats manage that. Whilst you are developing your sailing skills, perhaps focus less on the right end of the line (where everyone will be jousting anyway) and concentrate on being on the line and moving at the gun in reasonably clear air. You'll have more scope to sail the first beat reasonably unencumbered and may steal a jump on the boats that didn't get a great start at the right end.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Do Different Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 16 at 6:45pm
Good advice from Oinks. Stay away from the nutters usually scrapping at the Committee boat end and try to sail your boat in clear air as efficiently as you can.

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KazR View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote KazR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 16 at 9:28pm
The best way out of a bad start is to recognise you're going to have one early - then bail out and make a new plan. Often if you bail out early you can get out into clear air early if a little behind the fleet, but having clear air is worth tons. If you bail out really early you may have time to line up again for a good start
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