Sailboat Racing

Analysis of A Tack (using GPS)

This article is an analysis of a single tack. It uses GPS tracking data to calculate the current and from that to calculate the expected tacking angle. That is compared to the actual tacking angle to see why two additional tacks were required. The boat that is the subject of this analysis is not pictured to the left, but that is a pretty boat isn't it?

The upwind leg is the leg of interest. We are analyzing the third from the last tack before the mark rounding.

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Basics of Sailboat Raceing

This articles has been floating around the web and reprinted by some yacht clubs. It is an "introduction" to sailboat racing. It claims to be simple but is a bit more detailed than a typical introduction to racing. As far as I know, Captain Kangaroo is a fictional TV character from my youth but that is the author sited in the article. The pictures included in the article on the web are included but are enough to frighten anyone out of every trying racing.

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Finding Target Boat Speed to Windward

This is a series of web pages designed to allow you to find target boat speeds without fancy instruments. Target boat speed is the speed that will take you upwind as fast as possible.

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How to Point Higher

NOTE: This is an article I wrote for our local yacht club newsletter.

I have been racing at SPYC for 5 years and that represents almost all my racing experience. I am thankful to the club for this experience and it has helped me a great deal to become a better racer. I am also grateful to other skippers who are far better racers than I will ever be for sharing many insights and tips on sailing. While I do not consider myself an expert racer, I would like to continue the tradition...

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This article discusses leeway and its influence on measurements of the True Wind Direction using standard sailboat instruments. In particular I will addresses the notion that is presented in other sites online that leeway can be added to apparent wind angle. I will show that this is not the case and discuss the implications of leeway on measurement accuracy. Along the way I will explain leeway.

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Small Things Big Wins

Do you ever wonder what the big difference is between the boats that consistently finish in the front of the fleet and the boats that don't? Sure, sometimes it is just one or two big things; maybe a brand new set of sails while your struggle along with sails 5 or 6 years old, or maybe you think they have some uncanny way of always being on the correct side of the next shift.

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Wouldn't it be great to have an application or device that would get you to the starting line right at the gun going fast. There are several phone/tablet apps that say they will help you do that and a few dedicated boxes that say they will do it better.

This is the first of a series of articles on using GPS devices to get to the line on time going fast.

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Velocity Headers

I don't think there is a subject so misunderstood than velocity headers. They can take an entire fleet and get them to all stop dead in the water where a boat that recognizes what it going on can sail right through them. I know because I have done it. We went from last to first to finish in a fleet where we were neither the biggest, fastest, or lightest boat and yet there they all were stopped as we went right by, sails luffing away.

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Papoose Dismasted

What can I say. My boat was run down and dismasted.

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How to Fly a Spinnaker

Spinnaker This 8 page tutorial covers all the terms, positions, and tasks of flying a symmetric spinnaker using the end for end gybe technique.

I have had Papoose for 23 years and never used a spinnaker on her. Last two seasons we won the local beer can series using a free flying jib downwind sometimes along with our normal jib. But we always had to play catch up to the boats that used spinnakers. I decided to learn to fly a spinnaker so we could move to the next level.

I joined the crew of a very successful Tarten-10 for the winter series. I used a GoPro camera to document as much as I could. This training series of articles is the result.

Lazy Lightning (the T-10) uses end for end gybes which are said to be appropriate for boats up to 35 feet. It is much simpler to rig and execute than a dip pole gybe so is the preferred method for boats such as mine which fly smaller spinnakers.

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Racing with a Whisker Pole

Most sailors have whisker poles to hold a jib out to weather. Not that many use them in racing as a spinnaker is the preferred sail for racing downwind. But not everyone wants to use a spinnaker and some of us race in classes that do not allow spinnakers. Over the years we on Papoose have tried to prefect using a whisker pole while racing.

What I am about to discuss conflicts with the instructions you will find for using a whisker pole. The conventional methods assume you are not racing and are not helpful if you are. Cursers can furl the jib, set the pole, and then unfurl the jib to the pole. To remove the pole, they can furl the jib back up. A racer would not want to do this even if they could but there is no reason a cruiser has to either if you know some of the tricks discussed in this article.

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TP52 Samba Pa Ti

Samba Pa Ti and GG Bridge during Big Boat Series

TP52s Racing

Two TP-52s

Racing Resources

List of links to articles on racing from experts in the field

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