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BACK TO HOME Current issue #143 - Fleet Tactics

Test Your Smarts

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Quite a few of our issues during the past several years have covered strategic themes. Now here's a way for you to see how much you remember, and how well you can apply those rules of thumb to actual race-course situations. We have designed this test to help you evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses. If you put your email address in the box below, you will receive an email with all the correct answers and explanations. Good luck!

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1 To determine the length of the starting line, you begin on a reach at one end and sail toward the other. If your speed is 5 knots, and it takes you 1 minute to run the line, roughly how long is it?
1000 feet (300 meters) 200 feet (60 meters) 500 feet (150 meters)
You can't tell this way
2 If it takes you 30 seconds to accelerate from a dead stop to your full speed of 6 knots, roughly how far will you travel by the time you reach full speed?
100 feet (30 meters) 150 feet (45 meters) 300 feet (90 meters)
50 feet (15 meters)
3 Before the start, you find that the average true wind direction is 225 degrees. When you sight the starting line from the pin end toward the RC boat, it bears 310 degrees. Which end is favored (for a windward start) and by how much?
The boat is favored by 10 degrees The boat is favored by 5 degrees The line is even
The pin is favored by 10 degrees The pin is favored by 5 degrees
4 You are sailing up the final beat to an upwind finish. The finish line is set exactly like the line in Question 4 above. Ay which end should you finish?
The committee boat end The line is even The pin end
You can't tell from this info
5 Before the start, you take a range on the starting line. You are 3 boatlengths to leeward of the committtee boat, and you notice the pin buoy is lined up with a tall building on shore. As you set up for the start in the middle of the line, you notice the pin is lined up with the building again. Roughly how far are you from the starting line?
0.75 boatlength 1.5 boatlengths 3 boatlengths
It's not possible to determine You are right on it
6 At a Melges 24 regatta, the starting line is 300 meters long (about 41 boatlengths) and the pin end is favored by 10 degrees. If boat A starts at the pin and Boat B starts at the boat end, roughly how far will A be ahead of B at the start?
10 boatlengths 2 boatlengths 5 boatlengths
They will be even
7 Which of the following does not correctly describe how to finish quickly at an upwind finish?
Finish near an end of the line Finish on a course that's perpendicular to the line Finish on starboard tack
Shoot head to wind to finish
8 The leeward (pin) end of the line is favored at an upwind finish, and you are sailing closehauled on starboard tack, heading for that end. If you want to finish as soon as possible, should you be:
None of the above Right on the layline to the pin Slightly above the layline
Slightly below the layline
9 When you are racing upwind in a cross-current and you expect the wind to get lighter (the current and the direction of your sailing wind will stay exactly the same), it will pay to sail the up-current tack first.
10 If one tack takes you directly into the current, you can increase your velocity-made-good to windward on that tack by pinching so the current hits the leeward side of your bow.