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Jamie Lea's Guide to Starting Like a Professional

Jamie Lea's Guide to Starting Like a Professional

Dinghy and one-design keelboat specialist Jamie Lea shares some tips on how to improve your start line technique. 

It’s generally agreed that the quality of your start is very often what determines whether you get a good, average or poor result in most sailing races. So it’s worth spending some time and effort on improving your ability to get off the line in good shape. 

Let’s take a look at the key areas to consider in order to give yourself the best possible chance of getting a good start. 

GATHERING GOOD PRESTART INFORMATION

I have a pre-start routine that I like to follow for every race, whether I am sailing on my own, or in a two-person dinghy or as part of a larger sportsboat or keelboat crew.  

First, I aim to get to the course area in plenty of time to be able to sail upwind in race mode for long enough to determine the highest lifting and lowest heading bearings on the compass, both for port and starboard tack. Having these bearings jotted down and readily to hand makes it a lot easier to ensure you are always on the lifting tack when you are racing.  

As soon as I get out to the racecourse I also begin to monitor and record the wind direction, by taking readings every couple of minutes. This gives me a feel for what the wind direction is doing and I can compare that to what I learned from... READ THE FULL ARTICLE

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