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Yacht Racing - Rounding Marks

( Originally Published 1911 )



THERE are many effective ways of rounding marks, depending on circumstances ; the direction of the next leg in regard to the wind, whether to windward or to leeward ; the question whether you are overlapped by another boat or you have an overlap yourself. I might explain here that an overlap is established when an overtaking yacht has no longer a free choice on which side she will pass, and continues to exist as long as the leeward yacht, by luffing, or the weather yacht, by bearing away, is in danger of fouling.

When you are in the lead and you come to the mark, the next boat having a slight over-lap, it is necessary by the rules of racing to give him room to round without fouling the buoy. Bear away as you approach the buoyand then swing sharp when abreast of it, giving the other boat just room for her bow between you and the mark. Point your boat as high as possible with your sails trimmed flat. You are to leeward, but she cannot pass you as you are throwing back wind into her sails and she either has to tack or come about; and by far the best thing for her to do, seeing she cannot cover you at the turn, is to come about around the mark, thereby getting her wind clear. Tacking around a mark is an excellent thing to do, as it allows your sheet-man to pin the sails down where you want them without the strain of hauling them when they are full.

When running to a mark with spinnaker set, keep your sail on her as long as you dare, but be sure to have time enough to take it in and get things ready for the windward leg, as that is what will tell in the end. When rounding a mark, the next leg being before the wind, or reaching, cut it as close as possible on all sides, and get your sails across the boat in a hurry. If it means a jibe of the mainsail, start to take in on the mainsheet before you get to the mark ; this will allow you to shave it closer than if you jibed at the last moment.

When approaching a mark coming to windward, keep your eye on it and be sure not to overstand it, as this means a loss. Get your spinnaker ready on the last hitch to windward ; if the next leg is before the wind, and when rounding, you give her the main-sheet and get a knock-down when you fill away, be sure and see that the mainsail does not foul the flag. Then keep slightly to wind-ward of your course while setting the spinnaker so that you shall not be blanketed by the stern boats. If on the other hand you happen to be one of the stern boats swing out to windward and bother the leader all you can. It will worry him if you do not actually cut his wind, and if you do happen to spoil it, unless he is a great deal faster, you will soon close in on him and have an excellent chance of getting past him.



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