Passing the Leeward Mark 2/3/6
Offense 2/3/6 —> 2/3/4
When a team finds themselves with a 2/3/6 combination, the most obvious conversion would be to a 2/3/4. This should be easy enough to accomplish if sixth lures her covering opponent under her team-mate in third. Once this is set up, third slows the opponent between herself and sixth while second keeps a close cover and balances back the other opponent who is not in first, ensuring she does not move ahead of the passback happening on the other side. This move, as with all team race conversions, must be done gracefully and balanced so as to not let one pair get ahead of the other; balance! If the pair including second gets too far ahead, the opponent in first may drop on second and pass her back between her teammate to create another winning combination, 1/2/X.
A good 2/3/4 conversion is well balanced so that while team mates third and sixth pass back their opponent sandwiched in between. First, on the opposing team is not sure whether or not to drop on second and try to make that passback with fourth. The fear and risk is that whoever accomplishes the passback first will come out with a 1/2/X combo because the other pair spent too much time trying to execute the passback. At the Naval Academy, practice drills were set up to stress just that point. The skipper in first place would be forced to pick whom to drop on and execute a passback once she saw that second and third were dropping on fourth and fifth to achieve a 2/3/4. First has to act quickly and smartly. First would have to rapidly go through the hierarchy of decision making to be discussed later in the section: Passing the Leeward Mark 1/4/6.
The Fool’s Game ; 2/3 CHASE PLAY
There is another strategy a team may utilize when finding itself in a 2/3/X, or the 5/6 of a 1/5/6 combination. Lets look at the 2/3/X. Instead of going for the 2/3/4 the team tries for the 1/2/X. This is the ‘Chase Play’ or the ‘Fool’s Game’. This strategy involves second passing the leeward mark fairly close to the opponent in first (one or two boat lengths away). Teammate third is not far behind second with a gap between herself and the opponent in fourth. Second passes the leeward mark and begins to tack, hoping to draw/fool first into a tacking duel which will slow both of them down. Meanwhile, third passes the mark and goes fast and perhaps on the lifted tack. After a few wasted dueling tacks by first and second, third finds herself in first place position. Figure 8 illustrates this. The old second draws the old first back to where the new first place boat, the old third, can swoop down and make a 1/3 passback, converting to a solid 1/2/X combination. This strategy involves second chasing first and first being the fool to fall for the trick of tacking too much to cover second while third moves ahead of both. If first does not fall for the fool’s game, then second and third should immediately commence execution of the 2/3/4 as described in the previous paragraph.
Defense - MAINTAINING 1/4/5 !
The 1/4/5 is one of the solid combinations and should be maintained. The strategy for maintaining the 1/4/5 is discussed in the next paragraph with the 4/5 gap.