Thursday, March 21, 2019

Does it matter?

I have a problem with Lasers tacking.

The problem stems from the fact that I do too much Umpiring. When umpiring, particularly team racing, you have to call when a tack is complete. That is the point at which you judge the speed of the boat. Is it travelling faster than when it entered the track. (Which was when it passed head to wind). Leave the boat heeled after this and you risk getting a penalty for propelling the boat. The act of bringing the boat upright has the effect of the stroke of a paddle and there is no change of direction. This happen quite often in Match Racing where the crew take their time before bringing the boat upright.

At the last two events I have had to watch Lasers complete their tack and then do a massive rock. The turn is so sharp that the boat is practically stationary on completion of the tack, all the rock does is accelerate the boat back to normal speed. Everyone does it, and no one cares.

What they should be doing are vmg tacks. The initial roll is to steer the boat into the tack. As the course is changing you cannot penalise that. The second roll to bring the boat upright should be done before the boat comes down to the new close hauled course. This can propel the boat to windward, hence calling it vmg (velocity made good) The trick is to come down to the new closehauled course once the speed has dropped to what it was on entering the tack.

Done well and smoothly you gain at least a boatlength directly to windward on each tack and shouldn't be yellow flagged. Much better than the ugly ninety degree turn and massive rock I have been watching recently.

But what cares about such technicalities?


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