Putting the Upwind Leg Together

Sailboat RacingWe’ve talked about the Start Line, and how it can be skewed and how a wind shift affects it. And we’ve talked about being in phase with the shifts up the course. So how do you put it all together and get to the top mark first?

When you are getting ready to race, there is usually a few things that go on in a good skipper’s mind. A bit of a pre-race checklist.

  • Run the start line. Get the bearing from one end of the line to the other.
  • Shoot the wind. Point the bow into the wind to determine the wind direction.
  • Determine the favored end of the line by comparing the two bearings you just took.
  • Check the bearing to the mark. Sometimes the RC gives this information, sometimes you have to take a bearing or shoot the mark like you did the wind.
  • Determine the favored tack by comparing the wind to the bearing to the mark.
  • If you can, reference your forecast to see what to expect on the course.

Now you should have the information you need to pick the favored end of the line and head off on the favored tack right away. You can use your headings to determine if you are getting lifted or headed so you can stay on the lifted tack longer.

If that seems like a lot of math, it is. We have a quick reference guide to tape to your boat (that’s a dinghy thing) and write all this down so you are able to do the math then use it to compare to your progress on your upwind (and downwind) legs and we’re going to give it to you free of charge.

 Get The Numbers Worksheet

We hope that you are able to get more enjoyment out of your time on the water!

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