Game Plan- 1/2/X
Let’s consider the 1/2/X. When one team controls first and second place, it is very difficult for the opposing team to break through. If first and second play their race right they will cover third and fourth, balancing their respective pairs so that they ensure they finish first and second across the finish line. If first and second split sides, balance is important when covering their opponents and coming back to the middle further up the beat. If a wind shift occurs, one of the pairs will benefit and be further upwind. In order to regain balance, the windwind boat in the further upwind pair will have to slow their pair and even out the two team mates upwind. Balance is illustrated in figure 5. In situation I, first and second are evenly ahead of opponents in third and fourth. In situation II, the pairs become unbalanced by a wind shift favoring port tack. Therefore it is up to the teammate in first place on port tack to slow down/balance back the opponent who has now moved into second place as a result of the wind shift.
If the teammate in first does this effectively, a renewed balance shall be achieved, as in situation III. If the pairs were to become unbalanced again, and a 1/3/X combination were to result, another option would be to place second between the 1/3 passback, converting the dangerous 1/3/X combination back to the stable 1/2/X.
The 1/3/X combination is quite volatile. Take the example of 1/3/6. This means the opposition has 2/4/5. Whichever team performs a passback first will convert its score to one of the stable combinations. Just as the 1/3/6 team hopes to perform a passback on second and convert to a 1/2/X, second and fourth of the opposing team also hope to make their own passback on third, converting to a 2/3/4.