Thought for the day - Sailing before the start

Updated: Feb 15

"There is no glory in practice, but without practice, there is no glory" - Unknown

What you need to know

Check the rudder is centred.

Check the kicker tension right for run if conditions are different out on the water

Make sure boat is tuned to sail itself to windward

Line up with other boats and check for speed and height

Sail first beat and observe any consistent wind patterns

Practice a few starts

Practice high mode and fast mode

Practice holding into wind

The Details

Now you have everything organised and set the boat up perfectly for the conditions, you are ready to launch and prepare for the start. The question is how do you make best use of your time between launching and the start to be absolutely ready for a cracking start knowing you are heading for the favourable side of the course?

Here are a few ideas:

Make sure the rudder is centred. Sail the boat directly away from you or towards you with the sails eased enough so that the boat is not under pressure, Is the boat tracking in a straight line. If yes, move on. If no, use the fine tune on the transmitter and test again.

Check the kicker tension is set correctly for the run. It maybe the wind is stronger or weaker on the water. If necessary ease or increase tension in the kicker and check again.

Make sure boat is tuned to sail itself to windward without manual intervention.

Finally sail the boat to windward and release the transmitter controls. Does it still sail in a straight line. If not you may have to look at the twist of the mainsail leech. Ease if boat luffs into wind and tighten if boat bears away ideally using only the backstay.

When sailing to windward, line up with other boats and check for speed and height. You can also practice high mode and fast mode at the same time.

​Sail first beat and observe any consistent wind patterns and also have a look at the run to see where the wind might be stronger. It may be a good idea to team up with another boat and sail to opposite sides of the course. See who crosses first and if there is a significant difference try again to see if it was just a shift in the wind. With any luck this will tell you which side of the beat will be favoured.

Finally, practice a few starting manouvres set out HERE.

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