7- Starting Strategies: The Port Tack Approach

05.20.2014 - By Race to Win Sailing Podcast

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This daring strategy takes advantage of the natural holes in the fleet that develop just before the start.   While some sailors consider the port tack approach more of a back-up plan than a strategy, it can be very useful in a crowded fleet.
While appearing simple to execute, the elegance of this strategy is in the finer points.  For example, it's important to follow through with the maneuver, and carry the port tack all the way to the windward side of the starting line gap.  If you chicken out and tack too soon, you will have wasted a slot of clear air at a critical moment.  Properly executed, the port tack approach leaves the skipper space on the line to foot down and accelerate for a start with full speed, in clear air. 

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