the port-end start

Home Page

Tactics and Rules

Start tactics

   Most start lines are carefully laid at right-angles to the wind and to the direction to the windward mark (so that the decision is easy to start on the starboard tack) but this might be unsuccessful, or the wind direction change, giving a port end start the advantage (below left)

port start perfect port start

                                                                                        PICTURE ABOVE RIGHT: A  SUCCESSFUL PORT TACK START (at Carsington 2009)

 The wind has swung to the left during the start sequence. Stuart (yellow hulls) is the master of picking the port-favoured opportunities, so that part of the usual starting routine for Alastair (blue hulls) in the last 5 minutes is to check out if Stuart has gone down to the port end.

   This time Alastair has reached down the line from the starboard end as fast as possible, and turned onto port to start with Stuart. In the meantime, the breeze has swung even further left, and the boats on starboard in the distance, way behind, can barely cross the line.

ruin the port start



The alternative is starting at the port end but on the starboard tack, which gives right of way over the boats starting on port. This is not easy to get right, as the approach to the line is at a narrow angle, and timing accurately is harder.

   It can be very satisfying to disrupt the port starters' plans but a worst case scenario is to cause mayhem and then fall below the port mark and have to tack to reach it.

    In the meantime the starboard end boats will have caught up from their disadvantaged position and will be coming across with right of way.


BELOW: The loneliness of the port tack starter. At Bewl in a strong breeze, Alex (Catapult 1, front) hovers at the port mark (which is out of picture, to the left)  The starboard boats, perhaps realising their mistake are starting to scream down to the start. two looking to go to the port end end, but probably too late to catch Alex.     BELOW RIGHT: the gun, and Alex powers up, getting an unobstructed port end advantage

catamarn sailing uk

Click for:    Back to top    Tactics and Rules     Start tactics

                            (Catapult has some of the best catamaran sailing and racing in the UK!)