What do YOU do b/w Leaving the Beach and the Start Gun? (Dec ’17 – Jan ’18)

Multiple Choice Question

What do YOU do between Leaving the Beach and the Start Gun?

a) Reach up and down the start line when its 15 to 20 knots for the adrenalin rush.

b) Leave the beach as late as possible and head for the start line, hoping not to be late.

c) Tune the boat, find the wind 0ssolations, pick up the start line transit and find the favoured end.

d) Look for dolphines

e) Sit and chat with the start boat until they tell you to leave “We’re going into a start sequence.”

There are a lot of choices to this question, not all of which have been listed, and most are not wrong if that’s what you want to do with your limited time on the water. Having fun and doing what you want to do is all part of it.


Answer a)

This is always a fun thing to do, it is an enjoyable part of racing and yearns you to keep sailing when your body says no.

Answer b)

This can be an advantage on a day when it’s a 20 knot southerly and pouring rain but your expectations of a win will be limited.

Answer c)

The period before the start is a busy time if you want to be competitive with the top end of the fleet and to ensure you give yourself the best chance of a good result.

When I remember to, I try to follow the process below:

Go for a sail upwind and do the following

  • Tune the boat by adjusting the sail controls to suit.
  • Find the wind 0ssolations by sailing on one tack for up to 5 mins to get the high and low numbers on the compass then tack and do the same again.
  • Ask the question – Is the wind ‘generally’ shifting to one side of the course or the other. Or is it only shifting between the numbers you just identified.
  • Where is the breeze freshest.
  • Practice how to tack and gybe several times to make sure you have the process down pat.


Sail back to the start line and:

  • Pick up the start line transit by lining up the start boat, the pin end and a landmark (house/tree) on shore.
  • Find the favoured end of the line by going hard on the wind from either end. You will soon notice if you will be travelling a shorter or longer distance when you get to the apex of the triangle.
  • Is the wind direction on a starboard lift or knock just prior to starting.
  • Work out where you want to start on the line.
  • Position yourself with clear air.
  • Monitor the count down as you consolidate where you want to start.
  • The gun goes as you cross the start line at full speed.

As long as you follow the processes, remain focused and work hard, you should be happy with whatever position you come.

Answer d)

It is exciting to see dolphine fins piercing the surface as a pod swims by, not far from your boat but as you are mesmerized by the beauty of nature the start gun goes and you are 100 metres away from the line.

Answer e) 

This may be all good fun but I’m sure that the start boat crew would not be too happy. They would rather you keep sailing passed especially when they go into a start sequence.



Just a few pointers for when you are next on the water.