Yesterday, I said I would talk a bit about sailing downwind. It is hard to go wrong on a downwind leg on a windward leeward course, you let the sails go out as far as you can, goose-wing the jib and point at the next mark. Or is there more to it?
If you do not have some kind of wind indicator how do you know whether you are square downwind so here are some pointers as to what to look for to go fast.
It might sound obvious but get the wind directly down the centre line of the boat to ensure the main and jib operate effectively when goose-winged. Sometimes you see boats sail downwind with the jibs flapping meaning the boat is running by the lee or they are just sailing too high and loosing ground. Find a burgee or strip of ripstop nylon or something similar and watch that as a guide for the wind direction when you next race to guarantee you sail on the optimum gybe to the next mark.
Always be on the gybe that takes you closest to the mark unless you are hunting for a puff or trying to avoid a lull near a mark caused by a tree.
Watch the boats behind as they are the best indication of new wind coming from behind.
Focus on these techniques over the winter so you get the max out of your boat downwind.
"Fast is Fine but accuracy is everything" Wyatt Earp - He knew the secret and he never sailed an IOM.