Speed & Smarts: Sail the longer tack first

By: David Dellenbaugh 

When you’re not sure where the next shift will come from, get onto the longer tack to the windward mark (the tack on which your bow is pointing closer to the mark). This is one of my most reliable strategies.

Sailing the longer tack works because of probability. Your chances of success are better when you sail the longer tack toward the middle of the course rather than the shorter tack toward the layline. Of course, once in a while it pays to go to the layline early, but more often than not the windshifts favor taking the longer tack. And your odds improve as the two tacks become more and more uneven.

For more racing tips and resources from David Dellenbaugh, visit the Speed and Smarts website.