Rolex Big Boat Series 2010 – notes…

Things to remember on the 2010 Rolex Big Boat Series at St. Francis Yacht Club:

We were very competitive going into the RBBS with the division breaks, our main competitor going in was Tupelo Honey, but there were also other boats that could be a threat  such as Hawkeye, who had (Bill Colombo) from Doyle Sails aboard and a J-109, Electra,  from Southern California sailed by Harry Pattison of  Elliot Pattison Sails. Going into the third day of racing, 3 boats tied for first place.  Unfortunately for us, Saturday was a light wind day and we were somewhat under canvased to be able to race effectively despite having great starts off the line.  It took us out of contention for the podium finish, but overall we were definitely a threat to any of the podium finishers.  This log is to itemize some of the key points and lessons from this year’s BBS efforts…

  • Light air advice from Harry Pattison on Electra:  loosen shrouds and head stay to induce sag in head sail and mast should sag in the middle to widen the slot.  After suffering the slows on Saturday’s light-air races where we got 2 fifth place finishes and knocked us off as contenders for a podium finish, we loosen the headstay and sailed fat and fast on the last race of the series.  But Sunday’s condition was not exactly like Saturday, there was a little more wind, so I’m not sure that we have the light air speed problem solved yet.  Nonetheless, our speed using the Doyle jib was very good and we gained in every leg to yield  6:07 elapse time and 3:17 on corrected time ahead over our nearest competitor, Electra.  The light air is definitely a weak point that will need to be shored up before next year.  One way to mitigate this would be to evaluate whether we should enter with a rating that is with the 125% jib and to sail the pre-season races with the 125% to see what the impact would be using the 125% all the time.  Yes, there will be times where we do not need the 125%, but if we can sail without a huge penalty with the 125%, it may be worth it.  Certainly during the year, it would be good to test that hypothesis.

  • Even in late ebb turning to slack this year, it was still advantageous to hug the city front rather than heading north of Alcatraz to catch any residual ebb from the North Bay. This was something of a surprise on Saturday (the light air day) when Hawkeye hug the shore, while Bodacious played the middle of the channel between Alcatraz and the City Front, and we took a flyer out to the north of Alcatraz because we didn’t have the speed and point.  Hawkeye gain considerable distance to Bodacious by hugging the City Front.  Two things I was surprised by this move:  1.) this was light air condition, I would have thought the wind would be blocked closer into the shore, 2.) usually, when it’s slack, the flood comes into shore first then spreading out to mid bay. Timing of this is tough to predict – need to observe this from previous race and monitor closely.
  • The tide charts that were sold for $200.00 were dubious investments.  While it presents to have the current mapped out in detail, in the final analysis, it is a 2 dimensional interpolation and subject to the same flaws as any simulation data.  The best indicators are still visual clues you get as you sail by.  The greatest opportunities is when the tide change direction at different parts of the bay at different times.  Oh…to capture that knowledge on record somehow is difficult.
  • Starts were dialed in this year. The trick is to stay 1-2 boat length below and start pressing for speed 10 seconds before the gun and build speed to 110% so at the gun you can out-point and out-maneuver your opponents that few seconds at the start. Once you have them in your grasp, you have options: you can gas them by pinching up when you have breeze, you can foot off and get more speed to favorable currents… etc.

The one significant skill-set we acquired this year aboard IE is that we can out-point most boats in our fleet with the Pineapple 100% jib in winds above 12+ knots.  The jib is hauled inboard with the barber hauler and the main strapped in tight or travel to weather to induce weather helm, the helmsman drives the boat alternately for speed by pressing and then luff up whenever there’s a puff or pressure.  We find consistently the boat can point 2-5 degrees higher than normal and was able to cause the entire fleet to peel off to weather of us because they could not keep up the pointing.  This was an effective counter to Tupelo’s previous uncontested pointing superiority and we did not see Tupelo attempt to climb to leeward of us as in previous years.

This trimming technique is also a departure from the way the jib was trimmed in previous races and is a potentially contentious point as to how the boat should be sailed. I have trouble grasping the logic in having the jib trimmer setting jib trim independently from the boat’s tactical considerations.  When we are in a tactical situation, every little advantage must be played at the right time to yield a positive result.  It does no good when we are being lee bowed to have the jib trimmer to ease sails – the helmsman has two options, 1.) press down to get the jib drawing maximum, but closing the gap between the leeward boat and us, or 2.) continue to point high and luff the jib, thereby loosing speed while maintaining height.  The helmsman is responding to the jib trimmer for course and direction, it should be the other way around.  The first disconnect I have with this method is when we want to point up, the current practice is to have the helmsman head up, the jib now luffing slightly, then the jib trimmer brings the jib in to flow.  My take is that while the jib is luffing, we are actually not deriving maximum speed from the jib – why would this be an effective manuever?  Contrast that with the move where the trimmer trims in the jib WHILE the helmsman slowly heads up – this allows maximum drive from the jib…  It’s a very slight difference to be sure, but in most tactical situations on a race, it’s these subtle moves that makes the biggest difference between a successful maneuver and an unsuccessful one.

GOALS FOR 2010-2011 SAILING CAMPAIGN
September 19, 2010

Institutionalize 2010 Improvements-

  • Continue to use the Start sequence strategies used in BBS (http://shipslog.sightinc.com/practice-starting).
    • Start NEAR the favored end of the line … even number towards; odd numbers away …
    • Start On Time.
    • Start with 110%+ of upwind target boat speed … 15 seconds to power up
    • Start with clear air to leeward.
  • Expand Starting repertoire
    • Practice Power, Back, Luff techniques.
    • Practice Hover/Go drills.
    • Consider two-boat drills suggested by Robert’s e-mail.
  • Practice Upwind trim modes-
    • Point, Speed, Power modes & settings.
  • Practice maintaining speed on Tacks & Gybes (record transition speeds & times to full speed)
    • Create a Log/Table/Matrix for settings.

Correct 2010 Shortfalls-

  • • Establish light wind sailing techniques-
    • Main & headsail trim settings.
    • Record optimum Sail vertical & horizontal setting at different wind speeds.
    • Crew weight distribution in helping boat heel.
  • • Team discipline (micro-management/ communication, etc.)
    • Establish a common vocabulary amongst crew.
  • Translate past experiences on other boats to an IE specific vocabulary.
  • Expand team’s overall understanding of how IE handles-
    • Enhance tapemarkings for various trim settings-
  • spreaders, forestay, barber haulers, mainsheet, etc.
  • Change/rotate positions at practices/ beercans/ winter series.
  • Sailing without electronics.

Milestone Goals-
• Determine which key races are to be pegged towards the accomplishing of which goals.

Create SMART Goals for each of the goals listed above-
(Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely)

San Francisco Bay Entrance (Golden Gate), California Current

16 September 2010 – 20 September 2010
San Francisco Bay Entrance (Golden Gate), California Current   37.8167° N, 122.4833° W

  • 2010-09-16  09:41 PDT  -0.00 knots  Slack, Ebb Begins
  • 2010-09-16  12:10 PDT  -1.27 knots  Max Ebb
  • 2010-09-16  15:19 PDT   0.00 knots  Slack, Flood Begins
  • 2010-09-16  15:40 PDT   Moonrise
  • 2010-09-16  18:07 PDT   1.70 knots  Max Flood
  • 2010-09-17  07:39 PDT   2.84 knots  Max Flood
  • 2010-09-17  10:39 PDT  -0.00 knots  Slack, Ebb Begins
  • 2010-09-17  13:47 PDT  -1.53 knots  Max Ebb
  • 2010-09-17  16:17 PDT   Moonrise
  • 2010-09-17  16:26 PDT   0.00 knots  Slack, Flood Begins
  • 2010-09-18  08:30 PDT   3.00 knots  Max Flood
  • 2010-09-18  11:26 PDT  -0.00 knots  Slack, Ebb Begins
  • 2010-09-18  14:37 PDT  -1.89 knots  Max Ebb
  • 2010-09-18  16:49 PDT   Moonrise
  • 2010-09-18  17:21 PDT   0.01 knots  Slack, Flood Begins
  • 2010-09-19  09:12 PDT   3.13 knots  Max Flood
  • 2010-09-19  12:05 PDT  -0.01 knots  Slack, Ebb Begins
  • 2010-09-19  15:09 PDT  -2.26 knots  Max Ebb
  • 2010-09-19  17:17 PDT   Moonrise
  • 2010-09-19  18:08 PDT   0.01 knots  Slack, Flood Begins

RACE #1

IRC D
1 USA 28908 Tupelo Honey Elan 40 Gerard Sheridan 1.031 16/Sep/10 – 13:32:53 0:01:37:53 0:01:40:55 1 1
2 USA 28423 Inspired Environments Beneteau, Farr, First 40.7 Timothy Ballard 1.046 16/Sep/10 – 13:31:35 0:01:36:35 0:01:41:01 2 2
3 USA 50444 Hawkeye IMX-38 Frank Morrow 1.031 16/Sep/10 – 13:33:23 0:01:38:23 0:01:41:25 3 3
4 USA 56385 Electra J 109 Thomas Brott 1.018 16/Sep/10 – 13:35:15 0:01:40:15 0:01:42:03 4 5
5 USA 385 Kuai Sabre 386 Daniel Thielman 1.020 16/Sep/10 – 13:36:02 0:01:41:02 0:01:43:03 5 9
6 USA 41001 Bodacious Farr 40 1 Ton John Clauser 1.029 16/Sep/10 – 13:35:23 0:01:40:23 0:01:43:17 6 10
7 USA 38023 Ohana Beneteau 45f5 Steve Hocking 1.053 16/Sep/10 – 13:36:14 0:01:41:14 0:01:46:35 7 18

RACE#2

IRC D
1 USA 50444 Hawkeye IMX-38 Frank Morrow 1.031 16/Sep/10 – 16:27:41 0:01:32:41 0:01:35:33 1 1
2 USA 41001 Bodacious Farr 40 1 Ton John Clauser 1.029 16/Sep/10 – 16:29:55 0:01:34:55 0:01:37:40 2 2
3 USA 28423 Inspired Environments Beneteau, Farr, First 40.7 Timothy Ballard 1.046 16/Sep/10 – 16:28:30 0:01:33:30 0:01:37:48 3 3
4 USA 28908 Tupelo Honey Elan 40 Gerard Sheridan 1.031 16/Sep/10 – 16:32:42 0:01:37:42 0:01:40:43 4 4
5 USA 385 Kuai Sabre 386 Daniel Thielman 1.020 16/Sep/10 – 16:38:06 0:01:43:06 0:01:45:09 5 5
6 USA 38023 Ohana Beneteau 45f5 Steve Hocking 1.053 16/Sep/10 – 16:38:50 0:01:43:50 0:01:49:20 6 6
7 USA 56385 Electra J 109 Thomas Brott DNF 1.018 8 22

RACE#3

IRC D
1 USA 56385 Electra J 109 Thomas Brott 1.018 17/Sep/10 – 16:48:53 0:01:51:53 0:01:53:53 1 1
2 USA 28423 Inspired Environments Beneteau, Farr, First 40.7 Timothy Ballard 1.046 17/Sep/10 – 16:46:30 0:01:49:30 0:01:54:32 2 2
3 USA 41001 Bodacious Farr 40 1 Ton John Clauser 1.029 17/Sep/10 – 16:49:20 0:01:52:20 0:01:55:35 3 3
4 USA 28908 Tupelo Honey Elan 40 Gerard Sheridan 1.031 17/Sep/10 – 16:51:13 0:01:54:13 0:01:57:45 4 4
5 USA 385 Kuai Sabre 386 Daniel Thielman 1.020 17/Sep/10 – 16:53:13 0:01:56:13 0:01:58:32 5 5
6 USA 50444 Hawkeye IMX-38 Frank Morrow 1.031 17/Sep/10 – 16:52:04 0:01:55:04 0:01:58:38 6 6
7 USA 38023 Ohana Beneteau 45f5 Steve Hocking 1.053 17/Sep/10 – 17:00:35 0:02:03:35 0:02:10:07 7 7

RACE#4

IRC D
1 USA 56385 Electra J 109 Thomas Brott 1.018 17/Sep/10 – 16:48:53 0:01:51:53 0:01:53:53 1 1
2 USA 28423 Inspired Environments Beneteau, Farr, First 40.7 Timothy Ballard 1.046 17/Sep/10 – 16:46:30 0:01:49:30 0:01:54:32 2 2
3 USA 41001 Bodacious Farr 40 1 Ton John Clauser 1.029 17/Sep/10 – 16:49:20 0:01:52:20 0:01:55:35 3 3
4 USA 28908 Tupelo Honey Elan 40 Gerard Sheridan 1.031 17/Sep/10 – 16:51:13 0:01:54:13 0:01:57:45 4 4
5 USA 385 Kuai Sabre 386 Daniel Thielman 1.020 17/Sep/10 – 16:53:13 0:01:56:13 0:01:58:32 5 5
6 USA 50444 Hawkeye IMX-38 Frank Morrow 1.031 17/Sep/10 – 16:52:04 0:01:55:04 0:01:58:38 6 6
7 USA 38023 Ohana Beneteau 45f5 Steve Hocking 1.053 17/Sep/10 – 17:00:35 0:02:03:35 0:02:10:07 7 7

RACE#5

1 USA 28908 Tupelo Honey Elan 40 Gerard Sheridan 1.031 18/Sep/10 – 14:23:16 0:01:16:16 0:01:18:37 1 3
2 USA 56385 Electra J 109 Thomas Brott 1.018 18/Sep/10 – 14:24:35 0:01:17:35 0:01:18:58 2 5
3 USA 50444 Hawkeye IMX-38 Frank Morrow 1.031 18/Sep/10 – 14:24:48 0:01:17:48 0:01:20:12 3 6
4 USA 41001 Bodacious Farr 40 1 Ton John Clauser 1.029 18/Sep/10 – 14:25:36 0:01:18:36 0:01:20:52 4 9
5 USA 28423 Inspired Environments Beneteau, Farr, First 40.7 Timothy Ballard 1.046 18/Sep/10 – 14:25:59 0:01:18:59 0:01:22:36 5 13
6 USA 385 Kuai Sabre 386 Daniel Thielman 1.020 18/Sep/10 – 14:30:00 0:01:23:00 0:01:24:39 6 15
7 USA 38023 Ohana Beneteau 45f5 Steve Hocking 1.053 18/Sep/10 – 14:29:38 0:01:22:38 0:01:27:00 7 17

RACE#6

IRC D
1 USA 56385 Electra J 109 Thomas Brott 1.018 18/Sep/10 – 17:40:31 0:02:12:31 0:02:14:54 1 7
2 USA 28908 Tupelo Honey Elan 40 Gerard Sheridan 1.031 18/Sep/10 – 17:40:11 0:02:12:11 0:02:16:16 2 8
3 USA 50444 Hawkeye IMX-38 Frank Morrow 1.031 18/Sep/10 – 17:45:47 0:02:17:47 0:02:22:03 3 9
4 USA 41001 Bodacious Farr 40 1 Ton John Clauser 1.029 18/Sep/10 – 17:48:07 0:02:20:07 0:02:24:10 4 10
5 USA 28423 Inspired Environments Beneteau, Farr, First 40.7 Timothy Ballard 1.046 18/Sep/10 – 17:51:40 0:02:23:40 0:02:30:16 5 11
6 USA 385 Kuai Sabre 386 Daniel Thielman 1.020 18/Sep/10 – 17:55:51 0:02:27:51 0:02:30:48 6 12
7 USA 38023 Ohana Beneteau 45f5 Steve Hocking 1.053 18/Sep/10 – 17:59:35 0:02:31:35 0:02:39:37 7 17

RACE #7

IRC D
1 USA 28423 Inspired Environments Beneteau, Farr, First 40.7 Timothy Ballard 1.046 19/Sep/10 – 14:30:21 0:01:45:21 0:01:50:11 1 1
2 USA 56385 Electra J 109 Thomas Brott 1.018 19/Sep/10 – 14:36:28 0:01:51:28 0:01:53:28 2 2
3 USA 50444 Hawkeye IMX-38 Frank Morrow 1.031 19/Sep/10 – 14:36:05 0:01:51:05 0:01:54:31 3 3
4 USA 41001 Bodacious Farr 40 1 Ton John Clauser 1.029 19/Sep/10 – 14:38:05 0:01:53:05 0:01:56:21 4 4
5 USA 28908 Tupelo Honey Elan 40 Gerard Sheridan 1.031 19/Sep/10 – 14:41:20 0:01:56:20 0:01:59:56 5 5
6 USA 38023 Ohana Beneteau 45f5 Steve Hocking 1.053 19/Sep/10 – 14:39:35 0:01:54:35 0:02:00:39 6 6
7 USA 385 Kuai Sabre 386 Daniel Thielman 1.020 19/Sep/10 – 14:47:55 0:02:02:55 0:02:05:22 7 7

Handicap Chart for 2010 BBS – IRC Division D

This is the handicap chart for the IRC Division D…  At the end of a 3 hour race, we have to be 6:10 ahead of the slowest boat.  We give Tupelo about 2:30 to finish at the end of 3 hours…

Practicing starts…

I found a nice little write up on practicing starts that I sent to Timothy, but decided that I should save this on the ships log to recall later.  Unfortunately, I didn’t make a note of the author.  But I thought the routines he described makes sense, so I posted here with some minor edits and formatting to make it clearer…  Later, when I have some time to spare, I might make some diagrams to illustrate the maneuvers…


There are 4 primary things you want to accomplish in a start:

  • Start NEAR the favored end of the line
  • Start On Time
  • Start with 110%+ of upwind target boat speed
  • Start with clear air to leeward.

We can get into why but these 4 goals drive everything else. Now at starting lines, things happen fast, because boats are near each other and sailing TOWARDS each other, so the SITUATION is complex. That means your reactions need to follow KISS – Keep It Simple…Stupid! That does mean practice (and I’ll get to the exercises below) but it also means following a couple of general guidelines:
  • Zero is an Even Number… What that means is that if you have identified which area of the starting line you want to start in, in the milling about before the start, you want to be NEAR that area on even clock numbers and away from that area on “odd” numbers” And if you get out of phase on that, adjust your sailing around so that you get back in synch
  • Try to use THE SAME TYPE of approach for each segment of the line.  i.e. use the same technique ALWAYS for the Starboard end. For the Port End be consistent in your technique and same applies for the middle. that doesn’t mean all three have to be the same, but it does mean you keep a consistent pattern for each of those three.
  • Your boat needs AT LEAST 15 seconds of reaching power to get to 110% of upwind speed. your goal then is to make sure that your ‘space on the line’ allows you to do that.
  • A moving boat can adjust its position, a sitting boat is a target.
  • Stay within 5 boatlengths of the line ALWAYS during the sequence.
  • NEVER GYBE within 2 minutes of the start…ALWAYS TACK. Gybes stall the foils and the sails and make you a sitting duck for too long.
  • Always count down the time in steady increments.

Now each of these “rules” gets broken sometimes in the hurly burly of a start, but if you TRY to follow them, you will get ever improving and CONSISTENT starts. Now to practice starts you need 3 people on your boat – no more (4 if your main is so big you need a main trimmer). You need Driver, Jib trim, Bowman and optional main. You can add your tactian if you want, but your tactician should NOT be telling you how to start. its too confusing. I’ve tried coaching green drivers through starts, and it invariably is a cluster.

So then there are two sets of drills you can do – Single boat and Double boat. run ALL of these drills with 2 minutes LESS on your clock than your club’s normal starting sequence. That way when you get to actual racing you will feel like you have loads of spare time to get set up.

You have Three Commands: Power, Back, LUFF.

Your trimmer must respond IMMEDIATELY to these commands. Your trimmer should also call the time in either 10 or 15 second increments, counting down the last 15 seconds. But the intervals need to be consistent, and the trimmer should PAUSE before answering the time to stay in cadence… why?  because a cadence gets YOU in a rhythm. Random intervals knock you out.

Your Bow is responsible for calling two things: Distance to the line and the LAST THREE DIGITS of any boat hidden by your genoa that is on converging course.  The way the bow shows the distance to the line is by holding out fingers behind their back if you are below the line. A balled fist means ON the line.  If you are ABOVE the line then the hand comes up and shows fingers. this way the fingers are in a consistent place, AND when you get up in the competition – THEY can’t see them

Single Boat Drills:

Hover Drill

Find a mark – any mark. AT the “start” of your sequence, be at the mark reaching at full speed. Your goal is to sail at full speed UNTIL 1 minute to go at which point you want to be Fully stopped with your bow as close to the mark as you dare. for the next minute, you will luff you sails. You are allowed to pump them or back them periodically, but your goal is to hover as close to the mark as you can for a full minute. the first time you try this, you will probably last about 10 seconds. The longer you can do this, the better your downspeed boat handling.

The trick to this drill is to be CLOSE to “Head To wind” but not quite. and to have lots of slack in the main sheet and use ALL the parts of the mainsheet for trimming by grabbing the sheets as close to the boom as feasible.

Time and Distance Drill

Start as with the hover drill. But now your goal is to be At the mark, at 110% of target upwind speed, coming up to close hauled at ZERO. Sail until 1:30 from the start. Now rag the sails and coast. NO ADJUSTMENT ALLOWED. At 30 seconds to go, sheet in and make for the mark – once you sheet in, no slowing down is allowed. First few times you try this you will be completely off. Learn to adjust. Now the easy approach for this is coming in from STB. For a more advanced version of this drill, Sail off to the port of the mark and come back on port. coast through the tack once you let the sails go and see if you can still hit the mark.

The trick to this drill is to use a CONSISTENT APPROACH Pattern (notice the reinforcement of my earlier comment). this will get you used to CONSISTENTLY being where you need to be for a given wind condition, and give you an idea of how long your boat takes to accellerate

Sheet In and Go Drill

Start as with the Hover Drill. But now your goal is to hover exactly at the mark from 45 seconds to zero. this will teach you how to accelerate when you are almost pinched off and how to transition from Hover to closehauled without your trimmer dragging your bow down with the Jib. Sail at full tilt until 45 seconds. at 45 seconds you need to be stopped with your bow as close to the bouy as possible. Hover for 30 seconds. At 15 seconds sheet in, but keep your bow “below the line”. The goal is to be “close hauled” at zero as close to the mark as feasibly and still with good speed.
the trick to this drill is that your jib trimmer has to start trimming in the jib gently so that he doesn’t pull the boat down with the Genoa while the foils are still stalled. And you need to get the main on quickly
OK, get good at those drills and you will be in the top 1/3 of your fleet’s starters. But you still will lose out to “Mr Starting Line” as he comes and plants his boat immediately to leeward of you. So you need to learn how to defend “your hole” (the space to leeward of you on the starting line that you are going to use to accellerate into). and you need to learn how to ATTACK Mr Hover (the guy who gets to the start line with 1 minute to go and then hovers there).

2 Boat Drills

This requires 2 boats, and there are 2 drills with each boat having a different assignment. the “target” is always the boat on STB. This boat on STB ALWAYS starts out in Hover Mode – ie near the Mark, stopped with sails ragged.

Port Attack/Defend Drill

In this drill the Target boat gets 30 seconds to get into “hover mode”. The ‘attacker’ starts out on port 10 boatlengths away. the “Target’s” goal is to drive the defender either behind him, or far enough to leeward of him on the line that the Target can accellerate for at least 15 seconds prior to the start.

The Attacker’s goal is to tack underneath the “target” and get close enough that if the “target” sheets in before the attacker has started to bear away, contact would occur. The Attacker does this by sailing towards the Target from port, tacking below- completeing the tack with ragged sails, and then luffing as close to the Target as possible without fouling the Target.

The Target defends by… pulling the bow down from “almost head to wind” quickly by having the jib trimmer drum the jib on hard for a few seconds (but ONLY a few seconds) to start the rotation. the sails BOTH get luffed completely as the bow is pointed STRAIGHT AT the bow of the Attacker. Remember this “bow to bow” change of course has to be done while the attacker is at least 3BL away, but you don’t want to do it until they are about 5 BL away because otherwise you burn too much distance to leeward.  Once ‘bow to bow’ the Attacker cannot tack closer than your bow. As soon as the attacker starts to tack, dump the helm to leeward to push the bow up, and grab all parts of the main and sheet it in PAST MIDSHIPS. this will cause the boat to weather vane. Now its important to release the main as soon as the boat starts to turn, otherwise you will get too much speed and push your bow across the line OR WORSE, force yourself into a tack.  THIS is the mechanism for protecting your leeward hole from attackers from Port.

Both boats hover until time to start and try to beat the other boat over the line at speed. If Target TIES Attacker, then Target wins. If Attacker pins out Target, Attacker wins. Reverse roles every 3 tries.

Drill 2:

Attack from behind:

Shark Attack
setup the Target as before. Attacker instead starts 10 BL to STB (astern) of Target. But the goal is the same. Sail below Target’s stern and luff up under them as close as possible.  Attacker’s trick here is to delay the turn up as long as possible and use backwinding the jib to stop (but not tack).  This is the one place where your tactician can help you in the start. They can call “Shark coming”. But otherwise when the ‘shark’ is 3-5bl astern (depending on speed) helm calls “Power” until the bow starts down followed by “LUFF”. again the goal is to come parallel to the line with as little fwd speed as possible.
Now the Attacker will start yelling ‘come up’ quite a ways out (this is common practice by Mr Starting Line) but YOU don’t have to react UNTIL their bow overlaps your stern. THEN YOU MUST IMMEDIATELY BEGIN to come up. But Attacker must give you ROOM to ‘stay clear’ that means they have to give you room to pivot the stern of your boat.
what this means is that you put the helm down and sheet in the main (again with all parts agressively) to force the bow up AND THE STERN CLOCKWISE. Attacker MUST KEEP CLEAR of your swinging stern. Because if they don’t they have violated RRS 15 by failing to Give Room To keep Clear.
Now the trick here is that Target swings the stern faster the faster the attacker is moving. if the attacker is moving slowly, then you swing your stern a bit more slowly. the goal hear is to use the swinging stern to keep them from turning up towards the wind until their keep has passed well behind your stern. That way you are guaranteed they cannot get closer than 1/2 BL to you. and that’s enough to start accelleratig at 10 seconds.


Ok do those drills – ideally for 2 weekends prior to the start of your season, and you will see a marked improvement in your starts. I do the “single boat” drills in every new boat I go racing in. Because its the quickest way I have found to get yourself in tune with how the boat handles, and it also gets your crew in tune with how you start.