Working Together - Balance
Perhaps one of the most important concepts in Team Racing is that of Balance. Balance is the art of teammates, equi-distant upwind from the leeward mark, slowing or maintaining speed so that they cross the finish line at the same time. Think of the final beat as being transposed on top of a giant ladder, with rungs being equally distant upwind. This is illustrated in Figure 3 with pairs A and B being equally distant upwind and equally far away from the finish line. This is especially important in Team Racing when you consider that each teammate may have an opponent to leeward of her. Therefore, if the teammates do not balance themselves as they come from opposite sides of the course and near the finish line (pairs A and B in Figure 3), an opponent to leeward of one teammates coming in on a lift from the left side, for example, may finish ahead of the team mate on starboard tack coming in from the other side. This unbalanced pair situation is demonstrated in Figure 5. It is the job of the teammate to weather of the opponent, who is both lifted and ahead coming into the finish, to slow that opponent and ensure that the opponent is balanced so that the teammate coming in on the header from the left still beats the opponent. Effectively executed, this art of balancing ensures a 1/2 teammate finish across the line. Having a 1/2 combination across the finish line is part of the strategy developed and discussed in this manual.
Various tactics can be employed within your Team Racing strategy to effect a winning combination. For example, if the boat in second of the 2/4/5 combination was to slow the opponent in third of the 1/3/6 combination enough to bring up her teammates to fourth and fifth, they might be able to get a 2/3/4 combination. A 2/3/4 would beat a 1/5/6. Adding up your numbers on the race course becomes a timely and difficult task. This is only made more confusing with the introduction of protests. It should become obvious that Team Racing can be confusing. Hopefully the following pages will help unlock the mysteries of Team Racing.