SPEED&smartsDavid Dellenbaugh’s ™
The newsletter of how-to tips for racing sailors Sept/Oct 2015
Learn by testing yourself – twice! ISSUE #136
A lmost every racing sailor wants to improve his or her skills, and Two Study Exams
that’s what this newsletter has been about for many years. Luckily,
there are many different ways to get better. Some sailors learn best by Speed
doing, others by watching or listening or studying. This issue focuses
on a technique that we have used occasionally – the ‘self-test.’ Questions ................................2,4,6
There are actually two tests in this issue – one on Speed and the Answers ...................................3,5,7
other on Smarts. The idea of taking a test or quiz is, understandably,
not appealing to everyone. But what’s different here is that there are no Smarts
grades, no time limits and every answer is explained on the facing page!
Photo by Jen Edney 2015 Photo by Jen Edney 2015
1. A boatspeed challenge 2. A strategic challenge
Good boatspeed is the key to racing success. You It’s great to have boatspeed, but if you go fast in
can be the smartest sailor on the course, but if you the wrong direction, or if you let other boats control
are slow you will be gasping for air in the middle or smartswhere you go, you will find yourself near the middle
back of the fleet. That’s why this first test is all about
SPEED how to make your boat go faster. or back of the fleet. That’s why this second test is all
Inside are 5 dozen questions about how to sail smarter.
(and answers) about all aspects
of boatspeed, boathandling and Inside are nine pages full of
questions (and answers) about
all aspects of smart strategy and
sail trim – including mainsail and tactics, including starting, up-
jib trim guidelines, wind and wind moves, crossing situations,
waves, speed testing, steering, judging position, windshift rules
downwind speed, spinnakers of thumb, current, downwind
and more. Now turn the page plays and more. Turn to page 8
for a challenging test that will for another challenging test that
STUDY EXAM help you become a faster sailor. will help you be a smarter sailor. STUDY EXAM
Speed & Smarts #136 www.SpeedandSmarts.com 1
SPEED Welcome to our study exam about sailing fast! Speed testing
The next six pages contain 60 questions and
STUDY EXAM answers about all aspects of boatspeed. Give 10Before the start of a race,
yourself plenty of time to think about each question you agree to tune up with
and answer, and don’t rush! Note that multiple one of your competitors (in the red
choice questions may have more than one answer.
If you have any questions or comments, please boat). Which position(s) will give
post them on our Facebook page. Good luck!
you (in the blue boat) the most
www.Facebook.com/SpeedandSmarts accurate results for an upwind
speed test? ______
General speed and trim 7 Which of these is most effective BA X
in depowering your mainsail? EC D
1 On a beat, you should try to go A) ease the sheet to spill wind
for speed first and then work B) increase vang tension
on pointing. TF C) add more backstay tension
D) pull harder on the cunningham
2 When you want to point higher, 11On a training day, you are
a twisted sail is usually better 8 Which of the following may tuning with another team
than having a tight leech. T F require that you trim your (in the red boat). Which position(s)
sails differently from tack to tack?
A) the presence of cross-current will give you (in the blue boat) the
B) an improperly tuned rig
3 You should generally move your C) the existence of wind sheer most accurate results for a speed
crew weight forward in light air D) waves not aligned with wind
and aft when it’s windier. T F test downwind? ______
9 Which of the following is a
good time for trimming your E BA
sails a little tighter upwind?
4 You should never heel your A) you are crewing with a helms-
boat to windward when racing person who is inexperienced
upwind. TF B) the wind is shifty DC
C) the seas are lumpy
5 In which wind/sea condition D) there is more wind than waves X
would you want the least twist?
A) moderate air and flat water Below are the 8 possible reports
B) heavy air and slight chop you might hear comparing your
C) light air and lump speed with that of a nearby boat.
A) ‘We’re higher and faster’
B) ‘We’re higher and slower’
C) ‘We’re lower and faster’
D) ‘We’re lower and slower’
E) ‘We’re same height and slower’
F) ‘We’re same height and faster’
G) ‘We’re lower and same speed’
H) ‘We’re higher and same speed’
With most of these, it’s clear that
your performance is either better
or worse than the other boat. But:
12 When sailing upwind, which
report(s) would need further
clarification in order to evaluate
your relative performance? ____
Photo US Sailing Team Sperry 2015 13 When sailing downwind,
which report(s) would need
6 The most accurate way to judge how well you are performing clarification in order to evaluate
upwind is to: A) watch your knotmeter B) use your sense of feel your relative performance? ____
C) monitor your VMG readout D) compare your speed to nearby boats
2 Two Study Exams
General speed and trim Speed testing
1. True. You can’t point very high without speed. Get the 10. C. When speed-testing upwind, make sure both boats
boat going fast so your foils start working – then you can try are free of each other’s wake and bad air. Usually, the best
flattening the sails, trimming them tighter and pointing the spot is about three boatlengths to leeward and slightly bow
boat closer to the wind. ahead.
2. False. Pointing usually requires a relatively tight leech BA
to give the boat some ‘bite’ and make the bow want to turn
up more. Of course, you don’t want to trim the leech so X
tight that you hurt speed – that’s bad for pointing!
3. True. Moving crew weight forward in lighter air has at
least two benefits: a) it reduces wetted surface by getting Boat A – Fore-and aft position is good, but too close to X
more of the boat’s flatter aft sections out of the water; and Boat B – Lateral distance is good but too far advanced on
b) it gives the skipper more helm (i.e. feel) by putting more
of the boat’s round forward sections in the water. When it’s X; X may not have the option to foot when necessary
windy, moving aft will reduce helm (by getting the rounder Boat C – Best position for beginning a fair speed test; both
bow sections out of the water), keep the bow from plowing
into waves and allow the crew to hike more effectively. boats can sail high or low without interference
Boat D – Lateral distance is good but too far back; D loses
4. False. The important thing for racing upwind is to do
whatever makes the boat go fast. Most boats tend to like the ability to sail in a high (point) mode
at least a little leeward heel, but that is not a definite rule. Boat E – Too far from X; harder to compare relative speeds
In certain boats and conditions, you may get the best ‘feel’
(and therefore the fastest speed) by sailing with the boat and more likely that boats will be in different wind
heeled slightly to windward.
11. D. When speed-testing downwind, make sure both
5. A. You need a lot of twist in light air and lumpy seas to boats are free of each other’s wake and bad air. Usually,
keep your boat moving fast and avoid stalling the sail plan. a good spot is to leeward and slightly behind.
You also need to twist the sails in heavy air to keep from
being overpowered. But medium air and flat water are E BA
ideal conditions for pointing high – this is when you want
flat sails that are trimmed hard with minimal twist. DC X
6. D. When you’re trying to go fast upwind, there are Boat A – No. In this position she is right on X’s wind
many ways to evaluate whether you are being successful. Boat B – No. She is not on X’s wind at this moment, but
These include using your sense of feel, plus your knotmeter
and VMG readout (if you have them). But none of these she’s so close that she limits where X can sail
tools are precise enough to discern the subtle differences Boat C – If she sails any farther forward or higher she will
in speed and height among most one-design boats. For
that, the only accurate measure is watching nearby boats be in X’s wind shadow
over time to see how you are doing. Boat D – Best position for beginning a fair speed test; both
7. C. All of these have some influence on depowering the boats can sail high or low without interference
main. Easing the mainsheet (A) may actually be the most Boat E – Too far from X; harder to compare relative speeds
effective because it spills wind out of the sail, but this is not
usually fast. Pulling the backstay harder (C) can flatten the and more likely that boats will be in different wind
mainsail dramatically. The effect of vang tension (B) varies 12. B,C. When you are sailing upwind higher and slower
according to the boat. If it bends the mast a lot this can than the other boat, it’s not clear whether you’re gaining or
depower the main, but if it just makes the leech tighter it losing. Do you gain more by sailing high than you lose by
may actually add power to the sail. Cunningham tension (D) going slow? The same is true when you’re lower and faster.
definitely depowers the sail, but not as much as backstay. It’s good to go fast, but does this make up for the fact you
are also low? In each case, you need to estimate which boat
8. B,C,D. A badly tuned rig, wind sheer and waves not is getting to the windward mark faster. That’s the only way
aligned with the wind can all cause asymmetries and require to know if you should change what you are doing.
different sail trim from tack to tack. A cross-current affects 13. A,D. On a run, it’s not so clear how you are doing
both tacks equally and therefore won’t usually affect trim when you are higher and faster, or lower and slower. In both
(unless it creates asymmetrical waves from one side that cases, the person reporting speed and height needs to add,
are different on each tack). ‘. . . and the net gain is to _____ (us or them).’
9. D. Overtrimming your sails in light air or lumpy seas
will make the boat much more critical to sail (and this usu-
ally translates into poor speed), so you should generally
avoid that, especially with an inexperienced skipper. But
when you’re not quite overpowered is usually the time
when you should trim your sails the tightest.
Speed & Smarts #136 3
Wind and waves Photo US Sailing Team Sperry 2015 Jib and genoa trim
Here are three ways to describe the For questions 70-73, assume these
relative wind and wave conditions,
which are key for going fast. telltales are in the middle of your
A) ‘More waves than wind’ jib luff (red is on the A
B) ‘Equal waves and wind’ windward side).
C) ‘More wind than waves’
How would you want
Describe which of these you would
be most likely to find when: your telltales to fly in
each of the conditions B
14 You are sailing near shore in 31Coming out of C
an offshore breeze. ____ a tack in light
15 The current is flowing 24 The telltale on your top 32Using your D
against the wind. ____ batten should normally headsail on a
be stalling about half the time in: tight reach. _____
16 You are sailing in a wind____ A) light air and chop
that is dying. B) flat water and medium breeze 33 Overpowered
C) survival conditions in heavy air,
17 You are sailing in a building flat water. _____
breeze. ____ 34Moderate air E
and flat water
Mainsail trim 25You should always keep the upwind. _____
mainsail at maximum hoist
with the top of the headboard at
18In most conditions, a good the black band. TF 35If the leeward luff telltales
rule of thumb is to trim your are stalled (dancing), you
main so the top batten is parallel to 26 Which of the following will should either ease the jib sheet or
not help reduce excessive
the boom, both upwind and when backwind in the main? bear off a little. TF
A) move the jib lead outboard
you’re running. TF B) tighten the backstay
C) ease jib luff tension
19 When you ease the outhaul, D) trim the mainsheet harder 36The primary way for a jib
it closes the lower leech and trimmer to ‘change gears’ is
increases windward helm. T F moving the lead position. T F
20 You should almost never 27In a mainsail, how far aft 37A tighter backstay makes
position your traveler car (distance from luff to leech) your jib flatter. T F
should the position of maximum
above (to windward of) the boat’s draft normally be? 38 In a typical headsail, how
A) 25-30% B) 35-40% C) 45-50% far aft should the position
centerline. TF of maximum draft normally be?
A) 30-35% B) 40-45% C) 50-55%
21When you ease the backstay,
this moves the draft in the 28You normally need to use 39 When you want to point
main farther forward. T F a lot of cunningham for: higher, one of the first
A) a new main B) an older main things you should try is trimming
22 The primary reason for C) light air D) heavy air your jib sheet tighter. T F
tensioning the cunningham
is to get rid of wrinkles in the lower 29In flat water and medium
breeze, it’s fast to trim your
part of the mainsail. TF main so the top batten hooks 40 Set the fore/aft position of
slightly to windward. T F your headsail lead so that:
23When you loosen your A) the front of your sail luffs
cunningham control line: 30When you start to see ‘over- evenly from top to bottom
A) the mainsail draft moves aft bend’ wrinkles in your main, B) your luff telltales break evenly
B) the mainsail gets flatter overall it means you should ease the out- from top to bottom
C) both of the above C) The sail’s foot and leech reach
D) neither of the above haul a little bit. TF maximum trim at the same time
4 Two Study Exams
A) ‘More waves than wind’ it to the band creates too much luff tension. This often
happens, for example, with older sails which have shrunk.
B) ‘Equal waves and wind’ In these cases, it’s better to lower the halyard a bit.
C) ‘More wind than waves’ 26. C. All of these actions will help reduce backwind in
the main except for easing the jib luff tension. That has the
Wind and waves opposite effect because it allows the sail’s draft to move aft,
which makes the jib rounder in the back.
14. C. When you are sailing close to shore in a breeze
which is blowing off that shore, there is not a lot of ‘fetch.’ 27. C. Of course, the best position of max draft in your
The waves don’t have much of a chance to build up, so main depends on the conditions, but generally it should
typically you have more wind than waves. be around 50% aft in the sail, or slightly forward of that.
15. A. When the current is flowing against (toward) the 28. B, D. You usually need more cunningham tension
wind, it tends to make the water surface choppier than on an older sail because, as sails age, their draft tends to
you’d expect for the existing wind velocity. move aft. You also need more cunningham in heavy air to
keep the draft forward as the mast bends.
16. A. When the breeze is dying, the waves that are left
over from the earlier stronger breeze will temporarily be 29. True. For most conditions, a good guideline is to trim
bigger than what you’d expect for the existing wind speed. your mainsheet so the top batten is parallel to the boom.
However, in good pointing conditions, you can trim harder
17. C. When the breeze is building, the water will be flat- so the top batten actually hooks slightly to windward.
ter than what you’d expect because the waves have not
yet had a chance to build up to match the wind velocity. 30. False. Overbend wrinkles mean the mast is bent too
much for the mainsail luff curve. A hint of wrinkles is OK, but
Mainsail trim otherwise you should straighten your mast a little or add
more luff tension. Adjusting the outhaul won’t help much.
18. True. Top batten parallel to the boom is a good
starting point for mainsails on most boats, though you may Jib and genoa trim B
need looser or tighter trim at certain times, depending on B
your boat and the conditions. 31. B. When you come out of a tack in
light air, you need to ‘put the bow down’ for E
19. True. Easing the outhaul makes the lower part of the acceleration. When you do this, the telltales D
mainsail deeper. This means there must be more ‘return’ on both sides of the jib should be flowing
near the leech, and this tighter leech contributes to more straight back.
32. B. On a reach, you should be adjusting
20. False. When you are sailing upwind you usually want your jib trim to the course of the boat. Let the
your boom near centerline. In order to get this, especially jib out as far as possible without letting it luff;
in lighter air, you often need to pull your traveler car well that is, ease it as much as you can without
to windward of centerline. having the windward telltales lifting.
21. True. When you ease the backstay the mast gets 33. E. When you’re overpowered, one way
straighter. This makes the main fuller and moves draft to keep the boat ‘on its feet’ (i.e. not heeling
toward the forward part of the sail. too much) is by ‘pinching’ or ‘feathering,’
especially in flat water. To do this, make the
22. False. The primary reason for adjusting the cunning- windward telltales fly almost straight up.
ham is to get the right mainsail shape for the conditions in
which you are racing. Getting rid of wrinkles is not a strong 34. D. For moderate air and flat water, you
reason for pulling the cunningham; in fact, having some should be in ultimate point mode with the
wrinkles is often fast. windward telltales lifting about 45° from
horizontal. If they lift more the jib will start to
23. A. When you tighten the cunningham, it pulls more depower; if they lift less you will lose height.
cloth toward the front of the mainsail and thus moves draft
forward. When you ease the cunningham, it does the 35. False. If the jib’s leeward telltales are stalled, it would
opposite (adds fullness and moves draft aft). be a good idea to ease your jib sheet to re-attach flow on
the leeward side. But you wouldn’t want to bear off because
24. B. When the telltale on your top mainsail batten is that would only stall the leeward telltales more; in fact, you
stalling half the time, this indicates that your mainsail is should head up a little.
trimmed nearly as tight as it can be. You would want to trim 36. False. The best way to change gears with the jib (as
this tight only in flat water and medium breeze, when you with the main) is by adjusting the sheet. This is both quick
can point high; certainly not in very light or heavy air. and effective. Moving the jib lead is usually difficult as a
short-term solution and does not affect the sail as much.
25. False. It’s usually fastest to hoist the main as high as 37. True. When you tighten the backstay, this bends the
possible, but there are times (e.g. in light air) when hoisting mast and makes the main flatter. It also pulls the mast aft
against the headstay, which straightens the headstay
(reducing sag) and flattens the jib.
Speed & Smarts #136 5
Boat trim and steering Downwind speed 56A centerline sprit pole
should be fully extended
41When sailing upwind, which 49In light air you often move whenever you are flying the
of these should be the lowest crew forward on a run to
priority for the helmsperson? A) reduce wetted surface spinnaker. TF
A) looking at the jib telltales B) increase windward helm
B) watching speed of other boats C) let the chute fly farther away 57With an asymmetrical
C) watching the boatspeed display D) make the boat more stable spinnaker, the tack should
D) looking at waves ahead almost always be pulled down to
50When trimming your main the end of the sprit pole. T F
42When you’re sailing upwind on a run, keep the telltale on
in medium breeze, what feel the top batten flying straight out 58When running in strong
do you want in your helm? wind, an asymmetrical
A) A strong pull (windward helm) most of the time. TF chute should be trimmed so the
B) A slight pull (windward helm) tack line rises vertically from the
C) No pull (neutral helm) 51You should not let your outer end of the pole. T F
D) A slight push (leeward helm) mast go farther forward
than vertical downwind. T F
43Which of the following will
not reduce windward helm? 52 You should normally trim 59You are allowed to pump
A) flatten your mainsail shape the spinnaker sheet just the spinnaker sheet and the
B) move the centerboard forward hard enough to keep the sail from guy to promote surfing or planing
C) reduce the angle of heel curling along the luff. T F
D) slide crew weight forward on runs and reaches. TF
44 When you’re having trouble 53It is legal to fly your chute 60On a heavy-air run, which
finding the ‘groove,’ which without a pole for an entire of the following are not
of the following are good ideas downwind leg. TF ways to gain more control?
A) ease the jib sheet slightly A) ease your vang tension a little
B) tighten the backstay 54If you are reaching and B) sail a slightly higher angle
C) bear off a couple of degrees you want less power in the C) over-trim your chute slightly
D) trim your mainsheet a little spinnaker, lower the outboard end D) lower your centerboard a bit
E) move crew weight forward
45When you are about to hit a of the pole. TF F) pull the backstay harder
couple of bad waves, which
of the following is not a good idea? Photo by Onne van der Wal 2015
A) bear off a couple of degrees
B) add some twist to your sails
C) move your weight forward a bit
D) ease your sheets slightly
46You are permitted to move
your body to help steer the
boat through waves. TF
47 You don’t want the front of
your jib to be rounder when:
A) the helm can’t find the groove
B) you need to accelerate
C) you’re having trouble pointing
D) you are about to hit waves
48The best general tacking 55 Which of the following is not a good guideline for setting the
technique is to turn the boat height of your spinnaker pole? A) both clews are level B) the luff
slowly at first, more quickly as you of the sail rises vertically from the pole’s outer end C) the center seam of
pass head to wind and then slower the chute angles to leeward D) the luff curls evenly from top to bottom
as you end your tack. T F
6 Two Study Exams
Jib and genoa trim (from pages 4-5) Photo US Sailing Team Sperry 2015
38. B. The ideal draft position in a jib or genoa is typically
slightly farther forward than in a mainsail. In most sailing
conditions, you should set up headsails with the point of
maximum draft roughly between 40% and 45% aft.
39. False. Pointing higher is not as simple as trimming
your jib harder. In fact, trimming the jib tighter often has the
opposite effect – it pulls your bow away from the wind and
makes you go slower, both of which are bad when you want
to point higher.
40. A,B,C. All of these are good guidelines for setting the
fore-and-aft position of your jib lead.
Boat trim and steering
41. B. It’s important for the helmsperson to watch the tell-
tales, the speed readout and the waves that you’re about to
hit. But unless she has a great sense of feel, she should let
her crewmembers watch the speed of other boats.
42. B. When you’re sailing upwind, it’s good to have a
slight bit (3° to 4°) of windward helm. If you have more than 51. False. It’s usually fast to let your mast go as far
this, you’ll need to angle your rudder a lot to keep the boat forward on a run as possible. Among other things, this
going straight, and this will create too much drag. If you helps get the spinnaker farther away from the mainsail.
have less than 3°, the helm will feel dead, and it will be
harder to keep the boat in the groove. Plus you won’t get 52. False. If you don’t have any curl in the luff, it’s hard to
the small amount of helm generated by the rudder. know if the spinnaker is overtrimmed. By keeping a steady
43. B, D. Flattening your main or the boat will reduce curl in the luff, you know that the spinnaker is eased as far
windward helm, but moving the centerboard or your crew as possible. Though you lose a tiny bit of projected area,
weight forward will increase it. this is better than having the chute overtrimmed at all.
44. A,C. When it’s hard to find the groove, it’s good to
ease sheets slightly and foot off for speed. Trimming the 53. True. The rulebook used to say that a spinnaker could
mainsheet and tightening the backstay will only make the not be set without a ‘boom.’ However, that rule was deleted
sails more critical (i.e. flat) and the boat harder to sail. in 1993, so it’s fine to fly a chute without a pole.
45. C. Most of these actions are good to power up the
boat before you hit the waves, except you usually want to 54. True. Lowering the outboard (and inboard) end of the
move weight a little aft, not forward, to keep your bow pole is one way to depower a symmetrical spinnaker. Like
from plowing into the waves and stopping the boat. tightening the genoa luff, this moves the draft forward in
46. True. Rule 42 (Propulsion) definitely allows you to the spinnaker and opens up the leech.
move your body to help steer the boat through waves, and
this is something you should do, especially on lighter boats. 55. C. These are all good spinnaker trim guidelines
47. C. A round entry on the jib will give you a wider except for the third one. Usually you want the center seam
groove, more acceleration and better power to punch of the sail to be roughly vertical – if it angles to leeward
through waves. However, when you want to point high it’s there is a good chance the pole is too high.
usually better to have a flatter, finer entry (unless your prob-
lem is building enough speed before trying to point). 56. True. It’s always good to get the spinnaker farther
at4f8ir.stT,rlueet.tiWnghtehneyboouattasctkeearbitosaetl,f you should turn slowly away from the mainsail, so keep the pole fully extended.
toward the wind. Just
before you pass head to wind, turn the rudder more to 57. False. In most conditions, you should let the tack up
speed up the turn, then slow down again. from the end of the sprit so the chute can rotate farther to
windward. However, if the tack moves to leeward when
Downwind speed you ease the tack line (this may happen in light air or when
reaching), keep the tack closer to the sprit.
49. A, C. On a light-air run, the main reason to move crew
weight forward is to reduce wetted surface by getting the 58. False. When running in breeze, an asymmetrical spin-
flatter aft sections of the hull out of the water. Bow-down naker should rotate as far to windward as possible so it gets
trim also allows the spinnaker to fly (i.e. hang) farther away out of the main’s wind shadow. In order to do this, the tack
from the boat and mainsail. line must angle to windward as it comes off the pole.
50. False. When you are sailing downwind, most of the 59. True. Rule 42.3c says that in certain conditions you
air flow around your main is stalled, so the telltales won’t may ‘. . . pull in any sail in order to initiate surfing or planing
be helpful as trimming guides. . . .’ So you can pump both the sheet and the guy.
60. A,E. Good ways to increase control include sailing a
higher angle, over-trimming your spinnaker, pulling on the
backstay and putting your board down a bit (but not too
much). Easing the vang (which allows the main to twist) and
moving crew weight forward (which puts more of the round
bow sections in the water) will make the boat less stable.
Speed & Smarts #136 7
Smarts Questions The longer tack
Welcome to our study exam about sailing smart!
6 On beats and runs, it usually
smarts The next nine pages contain 62 questions and pays to sail the longer tack or
answers about all aspects of strategy and tactics.
Give yourself plenty of time to think about each
question and answer, and don’t rush! Note that jibe first. TF
multiple choice questions may have more than one 7 The wind direction is 240°
answer. If you have any questions or comments, and from where you are the
please post them on our Facebook page. ! windward mark bears 230°. Which
STUDY EXAM is the longer tack to that mark?
A) Starboard tack is longer
The starting line 3Before the start, you find that B) Port tack is longer
the average wind direction is C) Both tacks are even
1To determine the length of the 225°. When you sight the starting
starting line, you begin on a line from the pin toward the RC 8On a run you are sailing a
reach at one end and sail toward boat, it bears 310°. Which end is heading of 065° on starboard
the other. If your speed is 5 knots, farther upwind and by how much? jibe. Your heading on port jibe
and it takes you 1 minute to run the was 025°. You take a bearing on
line, roughly how long is it? A) The line is even the leeward mark and find that it
B) The pin is favored by 5° bears 040°. Which jibe is longer?
A) 200 feet (60 meters) C) The boat is favored by 5°
B) 500 feet (150 meters) D) The pin is favored by 10° A) Both jibes are even
C) 1000 feet (300 meters) E) The boat is favored by 10° B) Starboard jibe is longer
D) You can’t tell this way C) Port jibe is longer
2 If it takes you 30 seconds to 4Before the start, you sail to a 9 When you ‘shoot’ the wind
accelerate from a dead stop to point 4 boatlengths to leeward before the start, your bow is
your full speed of 6 knots, roughly of the committee boat, and you pointing at the windward mark.
how far will you travel by the time notice the pin end is lined up with There is current running from right
you reach full speed? a tall building on shore. As you set to left as you look upwind. Which
up for the start in the middle of the tack is longer on the first beat?
A) 50 feet (15 meters) line, you notice the pin end is lined
B) 100 feet (30 meters) up with the building. Roughly how A) Starboard tack B) Port tack
C) 150 feet (45 meters) far are you from the starting line? C) Both tacks will be even
D) 300 feet (90 meters)
A) You are right on it Windward
B) 1 boatlength below mark
C) 2 boatlengths
Speed Distance D) 3 boatlengths Current
E) It’s not possible to determine
1.7 5At a 470 regatta, the starting
1 3.4 line is almost 200 meters long
2 5.1 (about 40 boatlengths) and the RC
4 8.5 boat end is upwind by 5°. If Boat A
6 11.8 starts at the RC boat and Boat B 10Which of the following is not
7 13.5 a good reason for sailing the
8 starts at the pin, roughly how far shorter tack first?
will A be ahead of B at the start? A) There’s a persistent windshift
B) Current is better on one side
A) 2 boatlengths C) You’re not sure about the wind
D) You’re covering boats behind
B) 4 boatlengths
C) 8 boatlengths See
D) They will be even photo
Windshift (% of lateraGl daisitnan/cLeobestsween boats) Here are two reference tables that may help in answering some
questions. The Speed and Distance table (above left) shows how
5° 11% far a boat sailing at different speeds will travel each second. This
10° 23% is helpful for starting (and recreating scenarios at protest hearings).
15° 34% The Windshift Gain and Loss table (left) shows how much a boat
will gain or lose when the wind shifts. This is helpful for evaluating
line bias at the start and the effect of windshifts on the course.
8 Two Study Exams
The starting line 8. C) Port jibe is longer. If you sail 065° on starboard tack
and 025° on port, then dead downwind is right in between
1. B) 500 feet (150 meters). For every knot of speed, a these, or 045°. If the bearing to the mark is 045°, you’ll
boat travels roughly 1.7 feet per second. So at 5 knots, a spend equal time on each tack. But when the mark bears
boat will be going 8.5 feet/second (5 x 1.7). If a boat main- 040°, you’ll have to spend more time on port tack.
tains this speed for one minute, she will travel about 510
feet (60 secs x 8.5 feet/sec). * Another way to think of this: If the leeward mark bears
040°, that is 25° off your heading on starboard jibe, but it’s
* Another way to think of this: A boat going 5 knots will only 15° off your heading on port, so port jibe is longer.
sail one mile (6,076 feet) in 12 minutes. In one minute she
will sail one twelfth of a mile (6,076 x 1/12) or 506 feet. 9. B) Port tack. The sailing wind makes both tacks even,
but the current changes your course over the bottom. Since
2. C) 150 feet (45 meters). While you go from 0 knots to it is moving from right to left, it pushes you to the port lay-
6 knots, your average speed will be roughly 3 knots. At a line sooner. So you will spend less time on starboard tack
speed of 3 knots you will travel about 5.1 feet/second (3 x and more on port which takes you up-current.
1.7). If you sail at this speed for 30 seconds (the time it takes
to accelerate to 6 knots) you’ll travel 153 feet (30 x 5.1). 10. C) You’re not sure what the wind will do next. It is
usually wise to sail the longer tack first. It might pay to sail
* Another way to think of this: A boat going 3 knots will the shorter tack if that’s the best way to get a persistent
sail one mile (6,076 feet) in 20 minutes. In 30 seconds she windshift, find better current or cover boats behind. But if
will sail one fortieth of a mile (6,076 x 1/40) or 152 feet. you’re not sure about the wind, that’s exactly when you
should sail the longer tack first.
3. C) The boat is favored by 5°. If the starting line bears
310°, the wind direction needed to make the line exactly When boats converge (from page 10)
square is 220° (310° minus 90°). Since the wind is actually
225°, it makes the committee boat end better by 5°. 11. D) None of the above. You will most likely duck the
starboard boat or tack into a lee-bow position (trying to
4. C) 2 boatlengths. When you took your initial range, cross is probably too risky). But you can’t make this decision
you were 4 lengths below the committee boat. Then you without a strategic plan. Do you like the left or right? How
moved half way down the line toward the pin, so you are you answer this will determine your tactical choice.
half as far below the line (4 x 1/2 = 2).
12. False. The time to ‘bite the bullet’ and go behind
The longer tack boats crossing ahead is when you want to dig deeper into a
persistent shift. In an oscillating breeze, the rule of thumb is
6. True. By sailing the longer tack or jibe first, you keep ‘don’t let them cross you.’ Tack to leeward and ahead of the
more options. The shorter tack takes you toward the closer other boats so you will be first to the next shift.
layline – the closer you get to the layline, the weaker your
strategic and tactical position, both upwind and downwind. 13. True. A good rule of thumb is to avoid maneuvering
unless you are at full speed. When you converge with a
7. A) Starboard tack is longer. If the wind direction (240°) boat, there’s a fair chance you will need to do some kind
is to the right of the bearing to the windward mark (230°), it of maneuver, so it’s smart to begin with extra speed.
means your bow will point closer to the mark on starboard
tack and you’ll have to sail longer on that tack to get there.
Photo US Sailing Team Sperry 2015
5. B) 4 boatlengths. When the starting line is biased by 5°, the boat that is closer to the upwind end will gain roughly
11% of the lateral separation between boats. If the line is 40 boatlengths long, a boat (A) that starts at the RC boat will be
a little more than 4 boatlengths (40 x 11%) ahead of a boat (B) that starts at the pin end.
Speed & Smarts #136 9
When boats converge 17You’re leading the race on Ahead or behind?
starboard tack, crossing two
lengths ahead of a port tacker on 20The direction of your sailing
wind is 240°. You are racing
the final beat. Which are not good upwind and you take a compass
bearing of 335° on a nearby boat.
times to tack on the port boat’s Are you ahead of or behind them?
wind (i.e. when should you See A) You’re ahead
not apply a tight cover)? photo B) You’re behind
C) Both boats are even
A) The left is favored
21Below are 3 boats racing
B) You are sailing on a header up the middle of a beat. If
the wind shifts to the right, which
11In the middle of a beat you C) You’re near the port layline statement(s) are definitely true?
are on port tack approach-
ing a boat on starboard tack. You D) Other boats close behind you A) A and B will be even
can almost cross ahead of them. B) A will be ahead of B
What should you do? are going right. C) B will be ahead of A
D) C will be ahead of A
A) Try crossing them 18A few minutes ago the wind
B) Tack into a lee-bow position direction was 345°. You were WIND
C) Duck behind them on port tack and you ducked be-
D) None of the above hind a starboard tacker. Now you A ‘Ladder rung’
are on starboard tack, converging B
12When boats are crossing you with the same boat on port tack
on a beat in an oscillating and the wind direction is 340°. C
breeze, it’s good to ‘bite the bullet’ You will probably:
and pass behind them. T F 22On a run, your average
A) Cross ahead of the other boat headings are 155° on port
13 Whenever you converge B) Cross behind the other boat jibe and 185° on starboard jibe.
with another boat, it’s C) Collide with the other boat The boat you have to beat in this
D) You can’t tell from this info race bears 080° on your compass.
Are they ahead of or behind you?
usually a good idea to build a little 19You are racing upwind on
starboard tack, converging A) They are ahead of you
extra speed to improve your ability with a port tacker that cannot cross B) They are behind
ahead of you. If you really like the C) Both boats are even
to maneuver. TF left side of the course, you should:
23You’re on port tack on a
14 When you are closehauled A) Yell “Starboard!” beat converging with a
on port tack converging with B) Let her cross in front of you starboard tacker who is far away.
a starboard tacker, you can usually C) Pinch up slightly According to your compass, the
apply a good lee bow if you are D) Bear off and force her to tack other boat bears 004°. A minute
bow-to-bow with them. T F later the bearing is 358°. You are:
15You are sailing up a beat on port tack, converging with a starboard A) Ahead of the other boat
tacker. You take a bearing of 320° on the other boat’s bow; then 15 B) Behind the other boat
seconds later the bearing is 323°. You will most likely: C) Both boats are even
A) Cross ahead of the other boat B) Cross behind the other boat 24On a long beat, two 20-foot
boats are 1.0 miles apart
C) Collide with the other boat D) You can’t tell from this info (6,080 feet) and even in the race.
Now there is a small wind shift of
323° 1° to the right: Roughly how much
does the boat on that side gain?
16You are sailing up a beat on port tack in a steady breeze from the
southwest (225°). As you converge with a starboard tacker, you A) 1 boatlength
take a bearing of 310° on the other boat. You will probably: B) 7 boatlengths
C) 20 boatlengths
A) Cross ahead of the other boat B) Cross behind the other boat
C) Collide with the other boat D) You can’t tell from this info
10 Two Study Exams
17. B) You are sailing on Photo by Onne van der Wal 2015
a header; and C) You are
near the port layline.
When you’re on starboard
tack it’s a good idea to tack
on S if you’re headed or
close to the port-tack lay-
line. But if you like the left
side, keep going. Tacking
will only aim you in the
wrong direction and force
the other boat to go the
right way. Also, if other
boats behind you are
going right, you may not
want to force this boat left.
Give her a loose cover so
you can ‘herd’ all the boats
close behind in the same
14. False. A bow-to-bow position will produce a good definitely be false. Statement D might be true, but only if
lee-bow tack only in perfect conditions – when you have the wind shifts pretty far right. The only statement that will
smooth water, moderate breeze and a boat that loses very certainly be true is B because the boats were even in the
little in a tack. In most other situations, you won’t be able to race, and then the wind shifted in favor of B.
make a safe lee-bow until you are at least half a boatlength 22. C) Both boats are even. If you bisect your headings,
advanced on S (i.e. she would hit you amidships). you can determine that dead downwind is 170° and the
wind direction is therefore 350° (170°+180°). Your ladder
15. A) Cross ahead of the other boat. When you are rung to port bears 080° (350°+90°). Since the other boat
looking at a starboard tacker and the compass numbers get also bears 080° you are on the same rung and therefore
higher, it means you are gaining on them. Since you have equal in the race.
gained 3° of bearing in 15 seconds, you will most likely
cross in front of the boat on starboard tack. 23. B) Behind the other boat. The other boat is ahead
16. B) Cross behind the other boat. You will be even with of you because in a minute she gained 6° of bearing (from
any boats on your ladder rung, which is perpendicular to 004° to 358°). She is therefore on a higher ladder rung and
the wind direction at a bearing of 315° from you (225° + should continue to gain bearing and cross ahead.
90°). Since the other boat bears 310° she is more advanced
(i.e. on a higher ladder rung) so she will cross ahead. 24. B) 7 boatlengths. When the wind shifts 1°, boats
will gain or lose roughly 2.25% of the lateral separation
18. B) Cross behind the other boat. When you ducked between them (see chart on page 8). Since the boats are a
the other boat you were just behind them. Then you sailed mile apart, the gain or loss here will be almost 140 feet
for a few minutes to the right. Now you are converging gain (6,080 x 2.25%). For 20-foot boats, this is about 7 lengths.
and the wind has shifted 5° to the left. Since the other boat
was closer to this shift, they should cross ahead of you. Windshift strategy (from page 12)
19. B) Let her cross in front of you; or D) Bear off and 25. True. For example, say the wind is shifting steadily
force her to tack. If you like the left side, the last thing you to the right. This favors the right side of a beat because
should do is yell ‘Starboard’ or pinch up so the other boat you want to sail toward the next expected shift. However,
tacks on your lee bow. Instead, bear off a little, wave the it favors the opposite side of a run because when you’re
other boat across and keep going left. If it looks like the going downwind you want to sail away from the next shift
other boat will lee-bow you, bear off a little and aim at her (to end up on a lower ladder rung).
so she has to tack earlier. Then you can use your extra
speed to head up and hopefully hold your lane. 26. False. It’s true that, on a beat, the boat that’s farther
from the new wind direction will lose. However, if the boats
Ahead or behind? are on a run, the one that’s farther from the shift will gain
(because she gets to a lower ladder rung).
20. A) You’re ahead. You are even with other boats that
are on your ‘ladder rung.’ If the wind is 240°, your ladder 27. True. Changes in wind direction often occur first
rung bears 330° (240+90) on one side and 150° (240-90) on higher off the water, away from surface friction. When you
the other. Since the other boat bears 335° from you, she is sense the wind is sheered to the left at the top of your mast,
5° behind your ladder rung. So you are ahead in the race. for example, a similar change may soon happen with the
wind closer to the water.
21. C) B will be ahead of A. Statements A and B will
28. True. In an oscillating breeze, the main reason to ☛
Speed & Smarts #136 11
Windshift strategy 32 Which one of the following Playing the current
conditions is most likely to
25A windshift to the right be associated with an oscillating 40In current, which are not
will favor the right side of a windshift pattern? good ways to determine the
beat. If the same shift happens on direction of your sailing wind?
a run, it will usually favor the op- A) More current on the left
posite side of that leg. T F B) Land on one side of the beat A) Shoot head to wind
C) A cold front recently passed B) Read your instruments
D) Continual lift on port tack C) Bisect your tacking angle
D) Watch the RC boat flag
26When the wind direction 33 When the wind direction E) Use the ripples on the water
shifts, the boat that’s farther shifts, the amount you gain
from the new wind direction will 41A starting line is set so it is
exactly square to the sailing
almost always lose. TF or lose relative to another boat is wind. There is a two-knot current
running perpendicular to the wind
roughly proportional to the size of from the RC boat toward the pin.
One boat starts on starboard at the
27If there is wind sheer (a that shift. TF RC boat while another starts on
change in wind direction port at the pin end. At the start,
aloft) at the top of your mast, it 34 When the wind shifts, the which boat is ahead?
amount you gain or lose
often means a similar shift is A) Boat that starts at pin end
B) Boat that starts at RC end
coming at sea level. TF relative to another boat is roughly C) They are even in the race
proportional to the lateral separa- Sailing
28When you’re racing upwind tion between boats. TF
in an oscillating breeze, you
should treat the last shift before 35In a persistent shift, the best
strategy is usually to go all
the windward mark as if it was a
persistent shift. TF the way to the layline before tack-
ing or jibing. TF
29When the wind is oscillat- 36 You are racing upwind in 2.0 kts
ing, it usually pays to sail an oscillating breeze. Your
slightly faster than normal (i.e. you headings on starboard tack range Current
should ‘foot’ a little) whenever you
are on the lifted tack. T F from a low of 305° to a high of
325°, with a median of 315°. In the 42If one tack takes you directly
into the current, you can in-
30Your crew job includes read- middle of the beat you are sailing
ing the compass upwind.
325° on a starboard-tack lift, and crease your velocity-made-good to
Assume you are sailing on a star- then you start to get headed. At windward on that tack by pinching
board-tack lift, heading 10° above which compass heading should so the current hits the leeward side
the median. Now the wind shifts 5° you ideally tack onto port? of your bow. TF
to the left, so your helmsperson A) 320° B) 315°
has to bear off 5°. Should you say: C) 310° D) 305° 43When a boat is moving fast
through the water (because
A) ‘Down 5’ B) ‘Up 5’
C) ‘We’re at the median’ 37 A decrease in wind speed it’s a fast design or there’s a lot of
(i.e. a lull) causes a ‘velocity
180° Heading D) ‘Tack!’ header’, while an increase in wind wind), how important is the cur-
speed (i.e. a puff) causes a ‘velocity
185° 10° lift lift.’ T F rent as a strategic factor compared
to boats moving more slowly?
The current is more critical for:
38 When the wind is regularly A) Boatspeed doesn’t matter
oscillating, you should
usually tack when you sail into a B) Slow boats See
C) Fast boats photo
31Which one of the following velocity header. TF 44 When you’re sailing upwind
conditions is most likely to in current, you’ll feel more
be associated with a persistent 39 It’s OK to stay on the wind on the down-current tack
windshift pattern? headed tack when you are: than the up-current one. T F
A) Sailing into a persistent shift
A) The wind is from the shore B) Trying to get clear air 45 When you’re racing upwind
B) You see puffs on the water C) On a run in current, it usually pays to
C) You have a building thermal D) All of the above stay in rougher water. T F
D) Boats gain on both sides
12 Two Study Exams
tack on a header is to sail toward the next shift. If you are the median heading. In shifty winds, your goal should be to
close enough to the windward mark that the wind will not always sail above the median – you can do this by tacking
shift back the other way before you round the mark, then when you get headed to the median.
it’s like you’re in a persistent shift. Therefore, sail toward
the next shift by continuing into the header. 37. True. Velocity shifts are similar upwind and downwind:
When you get a lull, your apparent wind shifts forward
29. True. By footing slightly when you are on a lift, you (‘velocity header’) because the wind created by your boat-
will get to the next shift (header) sooner. This technique also speed is stronger until your boat slows down to match the
maximizes your velocity-made-good in the direction of the new wind speed. In a puff, your apparent wind goes aft
median wind (i.e. upwind toward the windward mark). (‘velocity lift’) until your boat speeds up.
30. B) ‘Up 5.’ All your compass readings should be given 38. False. A velocity header indicates a drop in wind
relative to your median heading on each tack. So even velocity. It is not a ‘real’ header, so there is no shift to tack
though you were just headed 5°, you are still lifted ‘Up 5°’ on. In fact, tacking in a lull is usually a bad idea because
compared to the median. If you said ‘Down 5’; it would you don’t want to maneuver when you’re going slowly.
mean you are steering 5° below the median.
31. C) You have a building thermal. All of the conditions 39. D) All of the above. In most cases, at least on a beat,
described in A, B and D are usually associated with a wind you should sail on the lifted tack. However, you might stay
that is oscillating. But when you have a building seabreeze, on the headed tack when you are sailing into a persistent
it typically shifts gradually in one direction as the land shift or trying to clear your air. On a run, it’s usually better
warms up and the wind gets stronger. to sail on the headed tack.
32. C) A cold front recently passed. All of the conditions Playing the current
in A, B and D are usually associated with a wind that is shift-
ing persistently. But after a cold front passes you typically 40. D) Watch the RC boat flag. In current, all but one of
have unstable conditions that produce shifty winds. the answers will give you an accurate read on the direction
of your sailing wind (the combined true wind and current
33. True. The relationship is not perfectly linear, but if one wind). The only exception is the flag on the race committee
boat gains 10 boatlengths on another in a 10° shift, she will boat, which shows just the true wind direction (assuming
gain approximately 20 boatlengths in a 20° shift. the RC boat is anchored).
34. True. The farther you are from another boat, the more 41. C) They are even. When the starting line is square to
you will gain or lose when the wind shifts. If a boat that is 10 the sailing wind, it is also a ‘ladder rung’ of equal position.
lengths away gains 20 meters in a shift, a boat that is 20 Therefore, boats starting anywhere on the line will be even
lengths away will gain roughly 40 meters. in the race at that moment. The current affects all boats
equally, so there is no advantage in starting up-current or
35. False. When the wind is shifting persistently, you want down-current of other boats.
to go all the way to one side of the course. But usually it’s 42. False! The mythical ‘lee-bow effect’ does not exist!
better to tack slightly shy of the layline. Typically the wind The current is like a moving rug – it pushes all boats in the
will keep shifting after you tack; if you go all the way to the same direction at the same speed, no matter where their
layline before tacking, you will end up overstanding. bows are pointed. The current does not ‘hit’ a boat’s lee
bow because the boat is moving with the current. So the
36. B) 315°. A common mistake in shifty winds is not tack- best upwind angle is the same with or without current.
ing until you are headed all the way (305° in this case). But
any time you’re steering below 315°, you are sailing below
Photo US Sailing Team Sperry 2015 43. B) Slow boats. Boats that go
very fast, like this 49er skiff, are
not affected by current as much as
slower boats. Consider a skiff that
goes 10 knots upwind and a Laser
that goes 5 knots, both sailing in
a one-knot current. The velocity
of the current is 20% of the Laser’s
speed, but only 10% of the speed
of the skiff. Therefore, the current
will have a much greater impact
on the slower boat. Small changes
in the current’s speed or direction
will also have a bigger impact on
boats that spend more time going
from point A to point B. The same
is true for any boat in light air and
heavy air. When the boat is going
slowly, the current will be a more
important strategic factor.
Speed & Smarts #136 13
Downwind legs 51As you sail toward the Miscellaneous questions
windward mark, your
46On a downwind leg, you sailing wind direction is steady at 54If you want to use your wind
should usually sail away shadow to slow another
270°. You are planning to do a jibe
from the direction of the next wind set there, and you know your jibing boat, you must position your boat
shift that you expect. TF angle in these conditions is about in line with the other boat’s:
60°. The helmsperson asks you for A) True wind
47When running, you should the approximate compass heading B) Apparent wind See
normally sail for wind shifts C) Direction of movement photo
that she should steer on port jibe
rather than puffs. TF after the spinnaker set.
What do you tell her? 55If the wind and current are
steady on a windward leg, it
48You are approaching the A) 030° is usually better to play the _____
windward mark on star- side of the course (looking upwind)
board tack and you must set your B) 060° Windward as you sail to the windward mark.
spinnaker onto a run. It’s usually C) 090° mark
smart to do a jibe set when: D) 120° A) Right
A) You are sailing on a header 60° WIND C) It doesn’t matter
B) You can fetch the leeward
mark on port jibe
C) Your crew is inexperienced 56The negative effects of sail-
D) The wind speed is light ing in another boat’s wind
shadow are more pronounced in
49You should not sail high heavy air than in light air. T F
on a reaching leg when:
A) You’re expecting a header 52 If the wind and current are 57Which of these factors do
B) The wind is getting lighter steady on a run, it’s usually not influence the location of
C) Boats behind are going high better to play the ______ side of the laylines to a windward mark?
D) Current is going to windward the course (looking downwind) as
you sail toward the leeward mark. A) Wind direction
50It could be a good strategy B) Wind velocity
to take the low road on a A) Right C) Set and drift of current
reaching leg when: B) Left D) Type of boat you are sailing
C) It doesn’t matter E) Wave height
A) The wind is oscillating F) None of the above
B) You can’t hold a spinnaker
C) The wind speed is building 53 A boat sailing downwind by 58You are beating on port tack,
D) Boats ahead are going high itself will generally go faster approaching the starboard
E) Low is inside at the next mark than boats that are sailing in a layline to the windward mark. You
are steering a course of 260° and
SPEED&smarts™ pack. TF the true wind direction is 225°.
What will the mark bear on your
Speed & Smarts (ISSN 1075-5772) The Email version is available everywhere compass when you’re on the star-
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E-mail: [email protected] 59On a beat, your average
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Web site: www.SpeedandSmarts.com issues, Bundles and Gift subscriptions! 265° on port tack and 185° on star-
FB: www.Facebook.com/SpeedandSmarts board. You’re approaching the port
Speed & Smarts is published bi-monthly. layline on starboard tack. If you
Publisher: David Dellenbaugh Manager: look at the ‘tacking angles’ drawn
Joanne DeLuca Art: Brad Dellenbaugh SPEED smartsIssues are numbered sequentially and issue on the deck on your windward side,
dates are approximate. how many degrees off your bow
© 2015 Speed & Smarts will the mark bear when you’re
All rights reserved. No part of this issue STUDY EXAM STUDY EXAM on the layline?
may be given to other people.
A) 0° B) 40° C) 45°
Subscriptions: We offer two versions of D) 80° E) 90°
Speed & Smarts: Email (PDF) or Paper.
14 Two Study Exams
54. B) Apparent wind. The Photo by Jen Edney 2015
wind that any boat gets comes
to her from the direction of 51. B) 060°. If your jibing angle is 60°, your true wind
her apparent wind, which com- angle when you’re sailing downwind will be 150° (180°-
bines the speed and direction 60°/2). On port tack, therefore, your heading will be the
of the sailing wind with the sum of your TWA (150°) plus the wind direction (270°), or
wind created by the boat’s roughly 060°. Tell this number to your helmsperson just
movement through the water. before you round the mark.
So in order to block a boat’s
wind you must be to windward 52. B) Left. If strategical factors are equal on the run and
of her and in line with where you are rounding the leeward mark to port, choose the left
her telltales and masthead fly side (looking downwind), This way you’ll be on starboard
are pointing. If you are straight tack as you converge with boats later and you will be on
to windward of the other boat, the inside as you approach the mark. Of course, this is not
your wind shadow will move to so important when the leeward mark is a gate.
leeward in her direction, but
the other boat will be gone by 53. True. A boat that’s sailing without any interference
the time your bad air gets to from other boats can always play waves, shifts and puffs
where she was. without worrying about bad air or wake from nearby boats.
44. False. When boats are on a ‘moving rug,’ the current Miscellaneous answers
has an equal effect on their sailing wind, no matter which
way they are heading. If the sailing wind is the same on 55. A) Right. If strategic factors are equal, it’s better to
each tack, then the boats will sail the same speed through stay on the right side of the beat because this will give you
the water, and at the same angle to the sailing wind (assum- the starboard-tack advantage when you converge with other
ing they are one-designs being sailed equally well). There- boats closer to the windward mark.
fore, the wind they feel on each tack will be the same.
56. False. The negative effects of dirty air are definitely
45. True. When you are racing in current, rougher water more significant in light air than they are in heavy air. Being
indicates areas where the current is going stronger against in another boat’s wind shadow may reduce the wind you
the wind (or less strong with it). Even though waves don’t feel by 2 or 3 knots – this will have much more of an impact
help you upwind, the benefits of more favorable current on your performance when the true wind is only 7 knots
(which include more wind pressure) usually outweigh the than when it is 15.
disadvantage of sailing in more chop.
57. F) All of the above. All the variables listed in A
Downwind legs through E can have an impact (sometimes quite large) on
the location of the laylines to a windward (or leeward) mark.
46. True. Sailing away from the direction of the next ex-
pected shift is the best way to move to a lower ladder rung, 58. A) 190°. If you are sailing 260° on port tack and the
which is your goal when running. One exception is when the wind direction is 225°, your true wind angle is 35° (260°-
new wind direction is accompanied by greater wind velocity. 225°), and your tacking angle is 70° (35° x 2). Therefore,
your heading on starboard tack will be 190° (260° - 70°).
47. False. On a run it’s usually better to go for the puff.
That’s because when you’re sailing downwind, a little more 59. D) 80°. If your headings are 265° on port tack and
wind pressure will often make a huge improvement in boat 185° on starboard, this means your tacking angle is 80°
performance. A puff makes you go faster, and it will also let (265°- 185°). That’s the angle you must see on your wind-
you sail lower, just as if you were in a header. ward side tacking lines before you can tack on the layline
and fetch the mark.
48. B) You can fetch the leeward mark on port jibe. You
don’t really want to do a jibe set in light air, with an inexperi-
enced crew or when you are headed (since you want to stay
on the headed starboard jibe downwind). But if you can
fetch the leeward mark, you should almost always jibe.
49. B) The wind is getting lighter; and D) Current is
going to windward. Sailing high on a reach is good when
you expect a header or when the boats behind you are
going high. But if the wind velocity is dying or the current
is pushing you to windward, go low so you don’t get stuck
trying to get down to the mark at the end of the leg!
50. D) Boats ahead are going high; and E) Low is inside
at the next mark. If boats ahead of you go high you have a
chance to pass them by going low, especially if sailing low
will put you inside at the next mark.
Speed & Smarts #136 15
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Smarts Questions Smarts Answers
At the finish line At the finish line
60Which of the following does not describe the 60. D) Finish on a course perpendicular to the line.
best way to finish quickly at an upwind finish? The fastest way to finish upwind is by shooting head
A) Finish near an end of the line to wind (to maximize your VMG), crossing the line right
B) Finish on starboard tack at the end that is farther downwind and doing this on
C) Shoot head to wind to finish starboard tack so you have right of way. Finishing on a
D) Finish on a course perpendicular to the line course perpendicular to the line would be a good idea
only if you had overstood the favored end.
61The leeward (pin) end of the line is favored Finish line Sailing
at an upwind finish, and you are sailing close- wind
hauled on starboard tack, heading for that end. In The ‘ideal’ finish
order to finish as soon as possible, you should be:
A) Right on the pin layline
B) Slightly above the layline
C) Slightly below the layline
62 You are sailing to an upwind finish line that is 61. C) Slightly below the layline. The quickest way
exactly the same as your starting line. Before to get to an upwind finish is by shooting head to wind
starting, you got a bearing of 225° from the pin end about a boatlength before you reach the finish line (the
to the RC boat. As you approach the finish, you esti- actual distance depends on how well your boat coasts
mate the wind direction to be 130°. At which end of head to wind). To finish right at the pin, therefore, you
the line should you finish? need to start ‘shooting’ roughly a boatlength below the
layline to that end.
A) The committee boat end
B) The pin end 62. A) The committee boat end. At an upwind finish,
C) The finish line is even you want to finish near the end of the line that is farther
downwind. This is the opposite end of the line that
Bearing 225° Finish line would be favored if this was a start. In this situation the
line bears 225° which means it is square to a wind direc-
? tion of 135° (225°- 90° = 135°). Since the wind is 130°,
this makes the pin end farther upwind by 5°. Therefore
16 you should finish at the committee boat end.
Two Study Exams