We did two types of starts this past weekend. In light to moderate air we did a dial-up start, which is similar to soft water starts. The boats get into a counter-clockwise rotation while there is a horn at three minutes, two minutes and one minute. At the one minute horn the flag is up and it drops at the start. We were at the most 15 boats and there didn’t seem to be a problem with traffic.
When the wind piped up on Sunday the speeds were to high to safely maneuver, so we did a standing start. Both starts were on a beam reach, which is really fun because once you start, the boat just takes off like a rocket. But we had to lay the boats head to wind along the starting line so they wouldn’t run away without us, or capsize on the line. It was odd the first time, and it took some brainstorming to figure out that it might work, and it worked great. Everyone pushed a little upwind, jumped in and bore away. It was very easy to avoid others because you weren’t constrained by going upwind.
It would have been very challenging to have upwind starts because there wasn’t enough room for a fleet of short tacking boats all bunched up together. So we really learned something here. And one of the great benefits of both these starts is that it is no longer a sprinting competition. I think in small fleet DN club racing it will be fun to try both of these approaches. The downside is you need a timer, or a watch on the outside of all your winter clothes. Counting manually, at least for this writer, was a flop: the flag dropped at forty seconds more than once. The upside is that there is plenty of good air and room to move back there so it really wasn’t an issue after all.
Notice how the lee side of Jim’s plank is dead nuts level, the boat is barely hiking, the springboard is in full deflection, and the windward end of the plank is doing all the work. Just superb! The mast looks pretty nice as well. Sadly, it did not survive the day. Final standings to be published soon.