The Off Wind Legs
The 1991 USYRU Team Race Championship at Mahasset Bay Yacht Club on Long Island taught me one lesson that will help stress a point. I was on a tight reach in between two opponents. One opponent was ahead and to windward. I looked back and contemplated what to do with the opponent behind. Next thing I knew, the opponent ahead was luffing her jib and over-trimming her main. I was pinned to leeward and going slow. Meanwhile, I watched the opponent behind go to windward and ahead of both of us. A new sense of frustration was learned that day. Anticipate and seize the initiative!
Just as a boat may luff her jib to windward of an opponent to slow her as they sail upwind, a similar method is employed to slow on the reach. This tactic is especially effective on a tight reach. A boat ahead and to windward of an opponent on a tight reach may luff her jib and over trim her main. This slows both boats but the boat to leeward especially. This tactic can by used to break overlaps or slow an opponent so a teammate behind may sail faster and above both boats, beating them to the next mark and completing the passback. Unfortunately, I learned that one the hard way.