Yacht Racing - Direction Of Wind In Regard To Course
( Originally Published 1911 )
IN choosing or setting courses the judges must always set same according to the direction of the wind. If the start be to windward, lay the course dead to windward and not slightly off ; the starting line at exactly right angles to the wind and the first leg, making port and starboard tacks equal in benefit, as far as the wind is concerned, thus allowing a boat to start at either end of the line.
If the course is a reach to the first mark, place the leeward mark at the end of the line nearer to the first rounding mark, so in case the boats go over on gun-fire the leeward boats will have their wind clear ; this gives a chance to spread out, and does not bunch the fleet on one spot at the weather end of the line.
If the start is dead before the wind, the line should be set as to windward, making all parts of the line equally advantageous to start from. The most satisfactory start is the windward leg first. This gives a chance for maneuvering at the start and brings seamanship and skill into play for the berthing of the boat, and is really the most exciting and scientific part of the entire race, because getting away first in the weather berth means minutes as racing is carried on to-day. On the other hand, anybody can go over with sheets lifted or before the wind, and the skill then comes in getting clear of the fleet after the send-away.
In a great many cases the racing clubs are restricted in setting their first mark on account of a harbor or ledge that cannot be escaped or passed except in one direction. But if it is possible for a club to start their races in the open, then the direction of the wind as regards the laying of the course can be worked out in the correct manner, and the start then affords much more pleasure to the contestants.