Racing Tips – Sailing Downwind

More tips for improving your racing !
Running (going downwind) is the slowest point of sailing. Here are some tips they should help with running legs of a race.
Sit slightly toward the back – This is the opposite to the beat where you have to sit more forward, in the run you have to sit more backward. This is because the running boat naturally pushes the bow into the water creating drag or in especially high winds capsizing the boat. Instead sit slightly back and allow the bow to right itself.

Don’t go on a dead run – Dead runs slow down boats. The worst point of sail you can be on is a dead run as there is no aerodynamics creating forces. All that is pushing the boat along is the pressure of the wind against the sail. The fastest point of sail is the broad reach as there is a force created through the aerodynamics as well as the pressure of the wind against the sail. At all times try and get on to a broad reach to go to the next mark, because it is much, much faster than a dead run or even a training run. The sails are far more efficient at broad reaches than runs. You may have to weigh the speed gained to the most direct route when considering a run versus a broad reach.

Take off the kicker, cunningham and out haul – The whole point of these devices are to depower the sail on other points of sail. Make sure all these ropes are hanging loose and that the sail is at maximum power. To remember whether or not you have kept them on or off, check out the speed of other boats and see if they are traveling faster or slower than you and then tweak to compensate.

The next regatta is the Great Minnow on October 2. This is a one day race this year, so if committing to two days of racing has kept you from participating in the Great Minnow in the past, come on out this year and enjoy the last official race of the season.

Doug Roberts –  Racing Chair

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