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    Re: Setting a course when sailing into the wind.
    From: Bill B
    Date: 2016 Jul 27, 15:33 -0400

    On 7/27/2016 12:23 PM, Graham England wrote:
    > Some of the guys who race pointed out that racers tend to do many tacks
    > and use the momentum of the boat to gain some distance into the wind on
    > each tack.
    > Does anyone do this?
    In a sense it is navigation, getting from point a to point B in the
    shortest time has always been a sailor's goal, be it commerce, cruising
    or racing. In your scenario one might sail one tack, anticipating a wind
    shift. Long leg vs short leg, cruising or racing.
    As to racing, it will depend on the type of boat and distance. VOR vs,
    match racing vs Club dinghy racing on your local pond. Match racing and
    Club racing are very much a chess match based on boat speed, wind shifts
    and the competition. It is very likely racers will do a series of short
    tacks upwind to stay in the middle of the course and cover those behind
    them when heading for the upwind (weather) mark. Sometimes the fleet
    will split tacks hoping for better wind on one side of the course. There
    is also matter of leverage. If you are leading the pack, you have none
    and cannot make a mistake. If you are at the tail end you have a
    tremendous amount of leverage and may try any "champ or chump" move you
    wish as there is no more last than last (short of a DQ for not finishing
    in the allotted time). In a port/starboard crossing a boat slight ahead
    take onto the same tack (port or starboard) forward of and below the
    other boat to "lee bow" the other and leave them in a wind backwash off
    the sail that does not allow the other to point as high, or slows them
    down so they cannot "roll" you. In terms of boat speed,especially in a
    mixed fleet racing under handicap, a decision on boat speed vs pointing
    is made. Pinching (high point but slow, aka heading) vs sailing lower at
    higher speed. Velocity made good (VMG) is simply cosine of the angle
    upwind/to the mark times boat speed.
    As you can imagine, seldom will a match or club race be two tacks from
    the start line to the weather mark. As a rule of thumb tacks take time
    and slow you down, so a racer does not want to tack any more than
    necessary. For dinghy racers there is something called a "roll tack"
    where moving the crews weight and manipulating the sail just so may have
    your boat speed coming out of the tack greater than it was going in. The
    racing rules do not allow for continuous unnecessary roll tacks to move
    upwind at a greater speed, continuous rolling of the boat, ooching, or
    pumping the sails to create you own wind.
    The short answer to your question is no, tacks take time.

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