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Getting ahead at the start




This picture was taken shortly after a start and shows the immediate impact of a good or bad start. After just a few seconds there is a 10 or more boat length gap between first and last.


Most of the time I am a bit line shy but last weekend I made some cracking starts. I am sailing 54 and to prove that the best do not get it right all the time, you can see John Tushingham to leeward in 51 and hiding behind number 44 is Craig Richards in 5. Neither are in ideal conditions, bad air from the boats in front and unable to tack. The port end of the line was favoured but there was a risk in being the leeward boat as Craig found out a couple of times because you can easily get pinned into the bank which we reach in about 50 yards off the start.


My goal was to start a third or more away from the port end. The trick is to develop a gap to leeward which I find in the DF fleet is relatively easy. In the IOM fleet there is always someone lurking to fill any gap I develop. You can see the buoys they use at Lincoln and there is quite a gap between the course and non course side of the line. In several races over the weekend I had an edge off the start because I was right on the course side at the gun.


The three boats at the port end are in the best position although none were able to cross me so I had control of the front half of the fleet. Four boats appear to be on the line. 188, 54, the yellow boat and the one behind him but 54 and 188 have best control and position on the fleet, when we eventually tack onto port.


The boats at the back had to bail out onto port immediately to get clear wind and sailed away from a favourable left hand shift further up the beat.


Get a good start and you are 80% of the way to a good result.



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