----- Original Message ----- From:Thomas Vendely To: Al Schonborn
Sent: Saturday, March 02, 2002 11:59 PM Subject: Tactics Nights
Hi Uncle Al,
First of all I would like to thank you for the two Tactics Nights.
They were very informative and it was a great experience to participate.
I have put together a Word file which I would like to send to you with this e-mail.
I know you are busy, but if it is not too much work for you, I would like to ask you to correct it and if possible to add a few words to it, where I marked it with italic letters.
The bold letters are your words from your synopsis, the regular letters are my notes taken or collected from the WIT from the CWA web site and the italic is where I am asking for your input.
Thank you very much again for the Tactics Nights and for your support.
Thomas (W4608)
This is a Summary of the Wayfarer Tactics Nights Held by Canadian Wayfarer Class Coach Uncle Al

on February 21 and 28, 2002 at the Toronto Sailing and Canoe Club

Maxims: words to live by (most of the time)

maxim: general truth or rule of conduct briefly expressed.

Messes are SLOW

Collisions are SLOW Rule 14 says: Avoiding Contact: A boat shall avoid contact with another boat if reasonably possible. However, a right-of-way boat or one entitled to room need not act to avoid contact until it is clear that the other boat is not keeping clear or giving room, and

(b) shall not be penalized unless there is contact that causes damage.

i.e. you break Rule 14 by not avoiding contact that was reasonably possible to avoid but are not penalized for breaking the rule unless the contact causes damage.

Question: do you need insurance for your sailboat? Yes - it is considered wise and some clubs/events insist on it.)

Love the rhumb line = avoid the corners


Off the wind: At layline, all the useful options are gone

The closer the layline, the more eager one should be to tack! – get back to the middle

Avoid desperation moves such as:

Think ahead: What will you do on run look for more wind, but in general sail the rhumb line

Remeber the big picture

Don’t be greedy: cross them when you can But if a you have split tacks with a boat that was in front of you and have moved ahead the next time you meet, I would suggest not letting that boat go off to the side where you got something that moved you past the other boat (better wind, fewer waves, better current to boat relationship, etc.) Instead cross and cover or if your lead isn't enough for that, lee bow the other boat and force him to go to the "bad" side. Similarly, do let the other guy who pulled ahead by splitting tacks cross you and keep going to the area where he got extra benefits. Don’t let them cross you

Especially in oscillating winds, resist the temptation to prove you are still ahead of boat B by staying on the bad tack just so that you can call starboard

Fight the fast guys

upwind go with the fast guys to see your trimming and boat speed - especially on open water, seek out the fastest boat in your fleet early in the race to check your speed – try some adjustments, if necessary – Stuart Walker lesson! (Uncle Al could you clarify please?)  Stuart Walker once said that many of us avoid going "head to head" with the fast guys because subconsciously, we don't want to face the fact the fast guy is walking all over us. What we do to avoid this experience is to split tacks with the fast guy upwind - e.g. he goes left, we'll go right! By doing this, we get two possible results:

Either way we don't need to face up to the fact that fact guy wiped us out by sailing over us!! SW says we should instead seek out the fast guy and learn from pacing ourselves against him. That way we learn how to go faster.

When in doubt let it out

especially upwind in light air – sail as high as you can, but if she starts feel slow at all, let off the sails, get your speed up – faster boat points higher and foils work better.

Play your sails – don’t be lazy

play the main upwind, especially in puffy conditions: off in lulls, crank it in during puffs but don’t forget to sheet in once boat up to speed after a tack

Up in the lulls, down with the puffs: Off wind strategy(is the reverse true upwind?)

If in the attempt at a diagram above, you picture the black rectangles as puffs/wind streaks going in the direction of the red arrow, and the green as the track of your boat going from top to bottom, you can see that at the top you start out by going your usual course (rhumb line of the run, let's say). You see a puff coming beside you, or you think there may be one coming, or you just want to go a bit faster in the lull - so you sail higher. When you reach the puff you run down to sat longer in the fast air as you say. When the puff passes, you sail higher once more to go across to the next puff (with the red arrow in it) because you go faster in the lull as you say but also to shorten the distance you have to sail to reach the next puff!!

Czech Proverb: Misfortunes always come in by a door that has been left open for them.

Almost all bad luck is preventable or at least the damage can be minimized. e.g. suppose a bunch of boats catch you on run as wind comes from astern. You can

(a) let yourself go to pieces because you lost a half-mile lead


(b) decide what the heck, we’re still right up with the leaders with a leg to go, so let’s go get them!


Racing Strategies, Tactics & Preparation


Boat: hull & foils




- don’t fiddle with small adjustments magic box for jib halyard

boom vang

Crew: Mental - think racing, review rules, Speed & Smarts, books

Physical - exercise


Racing Strategies & Tactics

Before the start: review your maxims messes are SLOW

collisions are SLOW love the rhumbline avoid the corners avoid desperation moves think ahead

the big picture (where are you in a race, in a regatta, will determine whether you should be taking risks or defending position)

cross them when you can (cross them only if you can, don’t force it, you will get them later)

don’t let them cross you (again don’t force it if they are crossing you because of a shift, you must tack under them instead of letting them actually cross you - that way, when the shift comes back, you can tack and come out ahead again - this may be hard to picture so I've tried a diagram below:

On the left side of the diagram (wind direction 1), you (green) are ahead of red who would cross behind you if he had to tack. If the wind shifts to direction 2 (right side of diagram), red will likely cross you by tacking. What green should do (in oscillating shifts!) - regardless of what red does - is tack and wait for the wind to oscillate back to direction 1 before he tacks back to starboard tack.

when in doubt, let it out (sail trimming)

play your sails- don’t be lazy (trim the main and the crew should trim the jib as well, watch the luff tickers on the jib and leach tickers on the main)

Czech proverb: Misfortunes always come in by a door that has been left open for them.

Try to close all your doors, which may cause trouble for you later, if you can.

We also have a Murphy’s law for this one: If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.

Before the start: check wind, current – yes, there is current sometimes on Lake Ontario

Have a game plan

Practice maneuvers (spi, close-hauled, tacks, gybes, roundings) Stop the boat head to wind, sit on the line, to establish favoured end of start line

slow down the boat by pushing out the boom, if approaching start line too fast/soon

practise going backwards, but remember you don’t have the right of way not usually wise on start line!!.

How long does it take to get up to speed from head to wind?

Drop the bow, sheet in, get some speed, worry about pointing high later.

Line sight – before start: line up the RC boat, the pin and a landmark, it helps you to determine your position at the start line during start.

The start: Is there a favoured end? How important is it?

If there is an obvious favoured end, there will be a big crowd there.

To get to the favoured tack as soon as possible after the start, and to have clear air is often more important than the favoured end.

Go for the ‘perfect’ start? It is very difficult to do a perfect start, where you cross the start line on the favoured end with full speed.

In a good race the boats are hovering a few meters away from the start line with 5 seconds to go.

Go away from the crowd, 1 / 4 or 1 / 3 from the favoured end is still a good start.

It is good to have room to tack.

Use the compass to find the favoured tack and for wind shifts.

Which maxims apply?

Messes are SLOW

Collisions are SLOW

Avoid desperation moves

Think ahead

The big picture

Which Rules apply?

When a right of way boat alters course, she should give room to keep clear to the other boat.

The buoy room rule does not apply at the start.

First beat: Which maxims apply?

Messes are SLOW

Collisions are SLOW

Love the rhumbline = avoid corners

Don’t go over the layline

Avoid desperation moves

Think ahead

The big picture

Cross them only when you can

Don’t let then cross you, if you can

Fight the fast guys to see how fast are you

When in doubt, let it out

Play your sails – don’t be lazy

Up in the puffs, down in the lulls

The first beat is the most important beat.

Wind shifts: oscillations – persistent - strength Oscillating wind shifts are frequent on small lakes

Persistent wind shifts, which don’t come back. They are rare, about 10 %.

Try to sail to the new wind.

If the wind blows from the land in Humber Bay, there is a famous George Blanchard wind shift. (What is it, exactly? Which way does the wind shift? Is it oscillating or persistent?) When the wind is from the east, and we start about a km. off the TSCC, it pays to hold starboard tack in the general direction of Ontario Place until you can practically lay or even overlay the windward mark. There seems to be a wind bend in that area (and often more wind as well) and boats that do this almost always win.

First Mark: Which maxims apply?

Messes are SLOW

Collisions are SLOW

Avoid desperation moves

Think ahead

The big picture

Remember, no tacking within two boat lengths from the mark.

No port tack layline, approach the mark on starboard tack.

Do not hit the mark, it will cost you a 360.

New Rules

(Uncle Al, could you talk about the new rules?) Have a look at my summary of the new rules at

http://www.wayfarerinternational.com/NewRRS.htm and then feel free to ask me any specific questions.

I love to talk Rules and will be happy to do so with you over a beer or two if you would like. Let me know and we'll arrange a time and place?

Leaving the mark: Which maxims apply?

Messes are SLOW

Collisions are SLOW

Love the rhumbline

Think ahead, which way do you want to go after rounding the mark?

The big picture, are you attacking or defending?

If you are ahead, go high, don’t let them pass on windward.

If you are behind, try to go low.

Is there a rush with the spi?

No, don’t rush the spi, look around, make sure no boat passes you when you are hoisting the spi.

The first reach: to luff or not to luff?

It depends, if the boats behind you are trying to pass you on windward, luff up, if you are alone try to sail the rhumbline.

Fastest way to the gybe mark?

That would be the rhumbline, so try to sail it whenever you can.

Think ahead to buoy room

Try to get inside buoy room as you approach the gybe mark.

The gybe mark: Which maxims apply?

Messes are SLOW

Collisions are SLOW

Slow down to get inside buoy room

Slow down to avoid the crowd, to get clear air and win

Avoid desperation moves

Think ahead, where do you want to go on the second reach?

The big picture

What rules apply?

(Uncle Al, could you please write here something?) Again: see http://www.angelfire.com/de2/WIT/NewRRS.htm

Leaving the mark: How important is good form in a reach to reach gybe?

It is very important to perform a good spinnaker gybe, try to practice it as much as possible.

Make sure the spi goes over to the new leeward side, set the main and the jib and then fix the spi.

Think ahead of buoy room Try to get the inside position at the leeward mark.

Defend your wind? Why is it more important now?

Do not let anybody pass you on windward. If you do, they will take away your wind and get the inside buoy room as well.

Approaching the leeward mark: Think ahead to beat #2

Which way do you want to go on the second beat?

A snazzy spi douse to impress the fans?

Get the spinnaker down a bit earlier and focus on the rounding of the mark and the tactics on the second beat.

Rounding the leeward mark: What are your rights as inside boat?

You can get just enough room to round the mark, no right for a big, wide tactical rounding.

Leaving the leeward mark: Should you tack right at the mark?

Do not tack right after rounding the mark, get up to speed first and get into clean air, without approaching boats.

Have they changed the course?

(Uncle Al, how do you know if they changed the course? I know there is a code flag for course shortening, which one is it?) See http://www.wayfarerinternational.com/RRSPart3.htm. It's Rule 33. I have posted all the main Rules on my WIT site (with ISAF permission!!). So if you want to look anything up, go to: http://www.angelfire.com/de2/WIT/RulesIndex.htm

Beat #2: Do you remember beat #1 and the reaches?

Which tack was the better tack?

Is it still the better one?

Did the wind change its direction or speed?

Did we learn anything that affects this beat? (Uncle Al, could you write a few words please?) Note the spelling correction above: it should be affects not effects!! I'm setting a bad example here!! What I mean is: Was one side favoured on the first beat? Is it likely to still be favoured? Has the wind shifted during the reaches? Will it keep shifting? If the latter, sail towards the direction in which the wind is shifting - i.e. if it's shifting left, go left. How conservative should we be? (Uncle Al, your input please.) Be logical in how wildly you are willing to gamble. If you are in pretty good shape, don't throw away a good position in a risky attempt to move from 3rd to 2nd, etc. Even if you are not doing well, more than half the race is left as you start the second beat so there's lots of time to pass boats a little bit at a time. Don't hit a corner in hopes that you'll get a 1 in a 1000 bit of luck.

(Uncle Al, could you write a few words please? We did not have a chance to discuss the items on this page).

The mark and the run: The new rules rounding onto run Rule 16.1 requires a right-of-way boat that changes course (e.g. during the mark rounding onto the run) to do so in such a way that the other boat will have room to keep clear. This often arises at this point in the race where the boats starting the run are meeting boats finishing the beat.

To gybe or not to gybe right at the mark? Think ahead and decide whether you should gybe right after you round the mark. Don't get into a habit of doing one or the other all the time without thinking what would strategically be best.

Tack downwind? Unlike the performance boats like Fireball, etc., the W rarely does better by tacking downwind. It's is almost always faster to go more or less straight from the windward to the leeward mark - except where you need to go up in lulls and down with the puffs as mentioned earlier.

Overtaking rules only applies between boats on the same tack Many of us grew up with the Rule: "Overtaking boat keep clear!!" But on the run, a starboard tacker that comes up to the transom of a port tacker has right of way because the overtaking rule applies only to boats on the same tack!

Approaching the leeward mark: Think ahead to the rounding and beat #3 Again, make a plan for the final beat before you get to the mark: Is one side or the other likely to be favoured from all you have seen and noted during the race(s)? Are there a lot of boats just ahead of you? How will you deal with this situation: go low to get clear air or tack away. If you are pretty sure of the side you want for the beat, you will have to tailor your rounding accordingly.

A snazzy spi douse to impress the fans? In most cases, the spinnaker makes a Wayfarer only very slightly faster (note the 2002 Midwinters where the 1-2 boats did not have spinnakers!!) Therefore it makes the most sense to get your spi down early unless there is a compelling reason to hold it til the last second (such as a boat that may get an inside overlap if you douse too soon)

Rounding the leeward mark: What are your rights as the inside boat? Buoy room for an inside boat that is to windward of the outside boat is only enough room to make a seamanlike rounding, not a "tactical wide and close rounding.

Leaving the leeward mark: Should you tack right at the mark? Even if you are right behind a boat (or several!) it may not be wise to tack through a bunch of spinnakering boats just finishing their run - the disturbed wind and water are killers. Not to mention the possibilities of getting tangled up with one of them. You might be in the right but that won't get back the 200 metres you lost to the guys that were just a little in front of you at the mark!

Have they changed the course? Apart from all else, make sure you know where the new finish line is! A course change may affect your preferred side of the beat.

Beat #3: Remember beats #1 & #2 and the run? Did we learn anything that effects this beat? Does one side or the other have more wind, less adverse current, etc?

How conservative should we be? How desperate are we? Again, weigh the risk against potential rewards (and how necessary these potential rewards are to you race and/or series)

The finish: Is there a favoured end? If you can cross the finish line at a substantially better than 45º angle on one tack, you should cross the line on that tack as far to leeward as possible. I have seen guys sail almost parallel to the finish line while a port boat crossed astern and beat the boat that had been ahead by crossing the line at nearly a right angle (90º) while the starboard boat continued towards the unfavoured end of the line.

Special rules? Do we have to completely cross the line?

Buoy room rules do apply. And no, you do not have to completely cross the line - you can just get the beep by sticking your bow across the line and then bear away and go home. However, the Rules still apply until you have finished and cleared the finish line - e.g. if you hit the finish mark or boat (which is a mark) you have to do your 360 and finish again; if you foul someone, you need to do your 720 and finish again.

What if the RC boat is on the "wrong side"? The Finish definition requires you to cross from the (general) direction of the last mark even if this means leaving the finish mark to starboard in a buoys to port race.

You don’t have to round the buoy on port, the finish line is between the RC boat and the buoy.

After the finish: To be done list

What have we learned?

Race diary?

Protests? What requirements? See Part V of the Rules.

What if we didn’t have the heart to nail the guy? It's good to discuss the situation in a friendly manner after the race over a beer and explain why you feel you were fouled.

Congratulations: crew, competition, RC, host club, etc. Words of praise are never wasted!