Passing The Leeward Mark 1/3/6
A simple rule here is to convert the 1/3 to a 1/2. The need for this conversion becomes obvious when it is realized that whoever makes the passback first, either the team with the 1/3 or the team with the 2/4, locks into one of the solid combinations. 1/3/6 hopes to convert to the 1/2/X. 2/4/5 hopes to convert to 2/3/4. If First does not pass back her opponent in second place, trying to convert to a 1/2/X, the opponent in second has the option to pass back third, attempting to convert to a 2/3/4. Therefore, guidelines would advise converting to a 1/2/X when passing the mark 1/3/X.
Once the 1/2/X is achieved, the third teammate’s job is to stay out of trouble and finish in any place. It is up to 1 and 2 to maintain their positions, keep their opponents behind, and not get beaten by an opponent out on a corner with a wind shift. First and second must balance any opponents whom they cover so that they ensure their first and second place finishes. If one side of the course gets a lift, it is up to the teammate on that side to slow the covered opponent and keep her balanced behind the teammate on the other side. Meanwhile, the third teammate can act as a distraction or lure, trying to keep the opponents worried about the threat she may pose. Once the 1/2/X is achieved, it is difficult for 3/4/5 to try to break through. Obviously, the strength of the 1/2/X lies in maintaining the 1/2 combo.
There are a few methods of converting from a 1/3/X to a 1/2/X after passing the leeward mark.
One option is having the first boat stop after entering the two length zone and either 1) block second from passing inside while third rounds and moves into first place, or 2) let second pass the mark to leeward of first, pinned from tacking out and covered in bad air. If second chooses the latter, she is doomed to go slow as first rags her jib to slow second while third goes fast and passes them both.
Another method for first to trap second after passing the leeward mark would be to pinch to a great extent so as to gain ground to weather on second. This will either pin second to leeward of first or at least put second in first’s bad air. Conveniently, third can then round with speed and tack while second is either pinned by first or going slow in first’s bad air. Because second was either trapped or going slow, she will not be able to tack on top of third to effectively cover. If second does choose to tack and cover, third will be bows out and only needs to perform a speed passback with first who tacks also to cover second.
These methods are illustrated in figure 7 situation A.
Another scenario where the 1/3 passback is effective is when first place has a small lead. When this is the case, first can pass the mark, tack out so that she will be able to tack back and then reach down to second place as she rounds. In doing this, first can pin second from tacking. This is very useful when third rounds after second and tacks out to go left. Figure 7, situation B illustrates this. Wouldn’t second be surprised to find that she can’t follow third because first is now pinning her from tacking!
Offense 2/4/5 —>2/3/4
From the other team’s perspective, as discussed in the previous paragraph, 2/4/5 must work to accomplish a 2/3/4 combination. To do this, second and fourth must take the initiative and passback third. Their job is not complete until they force opponent third, all the way back to fifth or sixth place. If they do not do this, opponent third, who then becomes fourth, will have the opportunity to drop on a teammate in fifth and execute a passback with the other opponent in sixth place. This means that if they are successful and accomplish their 4/6 passback, they will effect a 1/4/5 combination, a winner!
Therefore, when you are 2/4/5 and execute a 2/4 passback, be sure to send the opponent in the middle far enough back so that you have a 2/3/4 combination. Then first will be in a dilemma about which of your three teammates to drop on because her two teammates will be in last and next to last place. If first does drop, it opens the door for two of your teammates to go fast and take first place position... and then maybe passback the old opponent who was in first so that you can effect a 1/2/X combination. Wow, what a race!