Mar 30, 2022
By Andy Burdick, Melges Team
Photo: Regatta Girl Photography
When you’re racing in a large fleet, choosing the proper gate can result in massive gains against the competition. The experts at Quantum Sails Zenda broke the decision-making down into three simple factors. Use these tips at the Midwinters for a fast mark rounding!
1) Which side of the racecourse has more wind? Start the decision process halfway down your downwind run. Wind is a major factor in your decision, so stand up, look around, and begin to decide well before the leeward mark.
2) Which mark will have less traffic? Not only should you look for less traffic as you enter the leeward gates, but you should also determine which mark will have less traffic as you exit the gate. In a big fleet, the downwind boats will create a lot of bad air – enter the marks clean and exit on the side with less downwind traffic so that you can sail full speed.
3) Which mark is closer? If there is a large discrepancy between the gates pick the mark that is closer and prepare for the rounding well in advance. Board down, outhaul on, cunningham set, sitting on the high-side ready to trim your sail fast and smooth. Exit the gate, focus on angle of heel, mainsheet trim, and speed. Focus is key after you exit the mark.