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

  • 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)
  • 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


  • 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
  • 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
  • loose cover with top skippers
  • Sail the fleet
  • 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 wether to cross a starboard tacked boat, tack rather than go behind
  • Use speed at top mark especially when approaching on port
  • Overlay top mark for speed on rounding, Don’t cut corners
  • 3 second rule mark rounding and tacking before mark lay line


  • Stay high on tight reach
  • Aim for middle of gate before choosing bottom mark unless in a group and then better to establish bouy room early
  • Sail higher angles downwind when  coming to mark


  • Sail with what you have got not what you would like it to be
  • Slow on the rudder
  • Keep out of trouble but stay in contention
  • 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