Race Tactics

This is my own personal list of things I try to be aware of while racing

I keep trying to build good habits with the way I race and the list below helps me determine what I need to work on most with the aim of winning regattas

Pre start


  • Train hard be smart ( dont repeat bad sailing technique)
  • Control the controllables  (boat Preparation)
  • Good routines
  • Boat set up fullness /twist /shape/sheeting angle view separately ,Look at back stay and jib numbers and jib boom loading
  • Set up rig for lulls not gusts
  • Lakeside position
  • pre start Choose a side or middle of coarse and start line
  • Get your eye in!


  • Start is 80% of the race
  • Don’t let others dictate your start
  • Know lift or knock at start
  • Careful of drift on start line
  • Keep moving and stay close to the line if very light (start with speed to get through the light patches)
  • Slingshot start (head down then point up on start while maintaining space to leeward )
  • Remember bail out if bad spot on start sooner than later
  • Sometime set up on port even if sail behind others to get on the lifting tack
  • Work at carving a space to leeward from 50 seconds before start
  • Sail into this space at the start (Make a gap then use the gap)


  • Stand behind the boats on wind to see the wind on water
  • Bottom mark ask question Defending or attacking
  • Make space
  • Reach down and use speed when going below a starboard tacker
  • Think in terms of percentages in taking risks or not
  • Lead the fleet into the knock
  • If bad start keep positive and keep concentrating on wind pattern and out sail the pack
  • Self talk Lift or Knock
  • link up the pressures
  • Use starboard rights advantage first beat
  • OK to round the first mark in a group (leaders often have taken a risk on the first beat)
  • Sail around the group at the mark
  • Don’t come in on port in a big flee
  • You can cross the fleet if your in front but dont cross the fleet if your behind
  • loose cover with top skippers
  • Sail the fleet
  • Sail high if directly in front and slightly to leaward of opposition
  • Sail low if to windward of opposition if you have enough space
  • Ideal position  is to be directly in front in the same direction as the wind is blowing (you will not lose from a wind shift if in that position)
  • If opportunity on wind arrives sail low and fast
  • Think about OK to hit mark and do penalty rather than awkward slow tacks to clear the mark
  • Don’t sail away from the opposition, Learn to sail faster than them
  • If in doubt whether to cross a starboard tacked boat, tack rather than go behind
  • Overlay top mark for speed on rounding, Don’t cut corners
  • 3 second rule mark rounding and tacking before mark lay line


  • Stand as far dowind from the boat as possible so you can see wind puffs behind the boats
  • Stay high on tight reach
  • Aim for middle of gate before choosing bottom mark unless in a group and then better to establish buoy room early
  • Sail higher angles downwind when  coming to mark
  • Rounding marks (go in fat, come out thin)


  • Adaptability
  • Risk execution
  • Evaluate each race and work out where the gains and losses are!
  • Very difficult to come back from being behind !  Pinpoint the initial mistake that lost the race   
  • Be Patient Realize that if a wrong tack or wrong gust hits you if you get unsettled it could get doubly worse very quickly
  • Sail with what you have got not what you would like it to be
  • Slow on the rudder
  • Sail clean but stay in contention
  • Avoid collision even if you are in the right!   (you can lose a lot of ground when boats contact)
  • Aim to win however be careful not to take unnecessary flyers
  • work at consistent in regatta keep good position rather than risk loosing it
  • They are wind pennants not competitors (dont get caught up in personal battles)
  • Keep checking your rights
  • Protest correctly
  • You cant win a regatta on first day but you can loose it!
  • Be careful
  • Just sail every race like it’s the only race
  • Prioritize one thing
  • Be happy
  • Kill them slowly
  • I can beat them