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Yacht Racing - First Leg To Leeward Or Windward

( Originally Published 1911 )

THE position of the boat on the starting line depends upon the direction of the wind, whether it is a beat or a run to the first mark. If it is a beat, and in a strong breeze, get everything set up taut, and especially the peak of the mainsail. Have everything tied down on deck and the boat put in good shape. Lie on top of the fleet as much as possible before starting so that you will have the weather berth when you are off and be in the best position for the windward leg.

If it be a run before the wind, get your spinnaker pole and lay it on the side of the deck on which you are going to set it. The spinnaker should be coiled on deck and the head attached to the halliard and hoisted, if it is going to be set up in stops and not set flying.

If you see that the boats are bunching at one end of the line go to the other and keep clear of the fleet. Let them bother each other and do the luffing and blanketing. Sail, if necessary, in a slight circle to avoid them and do not set or break out your spinnaker if it is blowing hard until you have your position fairly well assured. A boat is a much handier thing to maneuver, especially in a fresh breeze when luffing is necessary, with-out the addition of a kite blowing all over the lot. Then, when the proper time comes, set your spinnaker quickly and fill away for your mark. If an island or any land comes in your way for a straight course, cut in as close as possible, for you can often gain a little by so doing.

If you get away at the weather end of the line, put your spinnaker on directly and keep at first a little to the windward of your outer mark, so none of the stern boats can spoil your wind by blanketing you.

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