Sail to the shift or sail the long leg first?

Discussion in 'Racing' started by markwbird, Oct 31, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. JRT

    JRT

    Joined Feb 14, 2017
    1,235 posts, 413 likes
    Catalina 310
    211 US Lake Guntersville, AL
    Awesome, I'll be updating my jib for sure @Jackdaw
     


  2. Jackdaw

    Jackdaw

    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    10,307 posts, 3,314 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    OK wrapping in a few thoughts from some PMs on this post....

    These concepts are tactics that you can use for upwind (and downwind!) racing/sailing. The key is to understand the conditions, and how each tactic might play into getting you to the windward mark the fastest. The major tactical players are:
    1) Sail lifted in oscillating breeze
    2) Sail to the shift in a persistent shift
    3) Sail on the breezier side of the course
    4) Connect-the-dots to stay in pressure regardless
    5) Play prominent geographical shifts due to course setup

    Sometime you will use more than one, and sometimes you'll switch. Before each race we pick which one best applies to the conditions (and BlueJ!) and work hard on executing on it. We actually have a wind handbook that describes the local conditions for all 8 major wind directions.

    This is all regarding upwind racing, where you have to tack at least once to get to the mark. Point-to-point race legs where you can fetch the mark are a different matter. Most often you simply rhumb-line it, heading straight for the mark. But shifting conditions might favor 'taking the ups' and staying high to avoid a tack later in a adverse shift, or waiting as long as you can before you tack on the hope that a late lift will carry you over.
     


    Apex likes this.
  3. Davidasailor26

    Davidasailor26

    Joined May 17, 2004
    1,735 posts, 448 likes
    Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE
    US Havre de Grace
    Can I add one more, admittedly with less frequent use:
    - Play changes in current and wind strength.

    In a recent race we were in ghosting conditions most of the day. At the start of the last leg the wind filled in nicely, but I was skeptical that it would hold. The current was from the north, so while the wind was blowing we sailed on starboard to get way North, ignoring bigger wind lines on the water south of us. Eventually the whole course was becalmed again, but we were able to drift down over the finish, coming back from nearly a 10 minute deficit to take first. The boats that played for the middle of the course or followed the dying wind south were stuck coming back against 1 knot of current in a 1 knot wind, making virtually no progress.
     


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  4. Ben4195

    Ben4195

    Joined Jul 5, 2005
    131 posts, 18 likes
    Beneteau 361
    US Sandusky Harbor Marina
    Wow David, awesome job! I don't have current where I race, but that is an excellent factor to consider. thanks to you, JD, and everyone else for the lessons in this thread. :)

    My boat's crew were joking during our last race of the year last week that we should find a week long on-the-water racing clinic somewhere in the Bahamas this winter. Some of the experts in this thread could be the instructors!
     


  5. Jackdaw

    Jackdaw

    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    10,307 posts, 3,314 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    Of course! Current and tide can turn this entirely upside down.
     


  6. Apex

    Apex

    Joined Jun 19, 2013
    842 posts, 118 likes
    Oday 28
    US Traverse City
    North U and Offshore Sailing offer winter courses geared towards racing. Last year I participated in Offshore Sailing Performance Race Week. It was a good course, and learned a lot on tactics esp in practicing race starts. I am still working with my boat on which we are attending for this winter.
     


  7. Ben4195

    Ben4195

    Joined Jul 5, 2005
    131 posts, 18 likes
    Beneteau 361
    US Sandusky Harbor Marina
    Thanks for the tip, Apex! I'll look it up. Probably just a pipe dream though, getting myself and the rest of my crew to fly down to the Bahamas for a week for race training. Stranger things have happened tho!
     


  8. danstanford

    danstanford

    Joined Aug 2, 2010
    267 posts, 40 likes
    Beneteau 323
    CA Cobourg
    Frankly, I am just now getting enough brain power free from sailing the boat to try and assess the wind shifts so I can react to them. Can you help me understand what to look for in deciphering the difference between oscillating and persistent when on the course? I am thinking about assigning someone on the crew to try and figure out where the best pressure is on the course but this one really needs some attention and thought to make the best decisions. Dan
     


  9. Davidasailor26

    Davidasailor26

    Joined May 17, 2004
    1,735 posts, 448 likes
    Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE
    US Havre de Grace
    You won't be able to tell just by one shift whether it's an oscillation or persistent. The best way to tell is to look at the weather forecast beforehand, and to pay attention for a while before the start to see what the trends are.
     


  10. Jackdaw

    Jackdaw

    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    10,307 posts, 3,314 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    Sure.

    Big persistent shifts are often forecast, like the one I posted. Or they happen locally with great regularity as the sea and land breeze swap during the day. SF is a great example of where this happens. Locals will know.

    Oscillating can be seen by sailing upwind before the race and watching the compass. If the wind is going to oscillate, normally in a 10 minute beat it will swing through 10-15 degrees, with the median being the 'average angle' on that side. Do the same on the other side. When you are on the wider side of the average angle (AKA knocked), think about tacking. That will put you tighter side on the other tack (AKA lifted).
     


    danstanford likes this.
  11. Joe

    Joe

    Joined Jun 1, 2004
    6,692 posts, 440 likes
    Catalina 27
    US Mission Bay, San Diego
    You might check with J-World. They specialize in crew oriented, week long clinics. They also have some interesting offshore racing programs. Besides San Francisco, Annapolis and San Diego, they have a school in Puerto Vallarta now... that sounds like fun.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     


    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
  12. Apex

    Apex

    Joined Jun 19, 2013
    842 posts, 118 likes
    Oday 28
    US Traverse City
    ..and keep records. BEFORE the race, so you can predict oscillations for that day, and AFTER the race so you can log and start to recall the local conditions and trend conditions, boat settings etc. Not difficult, a simple and disciplined approach.
     


  13. Ben4195

    Ben4195

    Joined Jul 5, 2005
    131 posts, 18 likes
    Beneteau 361
    US Sandusky Harbor Marina
    Thanks for the tip on the J-World, Joe! Looks promising. :)
     


  14. BobbyFunn

    BobbyFunn

    Joined Apr 16, 2017
    552 posts, 213 likes
    Federation NCC-1701
    US Riverside
    If you have clouds look up.

    Watch them move across the sky. Some days the entire cloud is moving as one. On that day there wont be many oscillations.

    Other days there will be swirls spinning within the dominant flow. Those swirls are your occilations, gusts, and dead zones within the forecasted wind direction.

    The apparent wind is some vector of the forecast wind speed and dirction versus the swirl wind speed and dirction at the moment you sail is making contact. Like trying to determine speed and net direction of the perimeter of a spinning frisbee.
     

    Attached Files:



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  15. glaufman

    glaufman

    Joined May 23, 2016
    144 posts, 24 likes
    O'Day 1984 23
    US Island Park, NY
    Different but the same. It's only different if you're teaching a noob with "sail the lifted tack when oscillating, and the headed tack if persistent... Easier to remember to sail towards the next shift in either case.

    But now time for me to stop arguing and draw on your expertise... Relating to the posts on jib trim... Early this season I started with a new to me Genoa... Initial car position set by my buddy (the gifter of the sail) I thought left to much twist but I didn't change it as I was winning my division... (Also was racing in similar condx each day) Finally I experimented moving the car forward one notch...I felt the top tales were better trimmed but I wasnt pointing as high as everyone else... But maybe sailing a little faster and still winning... But in my area we race a lot of narrow channels where I'm thinking a little less smg to windward may be worth saving a few tacks.. thoughts?
    I'm hoping to do some testing against a friend this winter but if that doesn't happen...?
     


  16. glaufman

    glaufman

    Joined May 23, 2016
    144 posts, 24 likes
    O'Day 1984 23
    US Island Park, NY
    Come to think of it... Re staying away from layline... Sail the longer tack first is often preceded by"when in doubt" or "all other things equal"... Which of course they aren't ever..
     




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