EPlogo-2007-2 Elliott / Pattison Sailmakers
May 2011 
Sail Sense
Because your sails matter! 
In This Issue
When Things Go Bad
Prepare for Offshore Races
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When Things Go Bad  
Sailing your way out of trouble

There are basic rules in sailing that need to be followed that will generally improve your finish position. I'm sure you've all heard them before but putting them into practice on a regular basis out on the race course is another matter. So before we get into the main theme of this article let's take a very short refresher course. I won't get into them in detail because I have in previous issues, and you've probably read them countless times before in other books and articles.


Basic rules fall into two categories; rules that help get you around the race course and rules that help the boat go faster. In the first group the big three are: sail on the part of the course that has the best wind, both in wind speed and wind direction, it seems obvious but it is amazing how often people fail to do it. Stay with the fleet or your primary competition, unless you are a world champion class sailor you probably aren't smarter than the rest of the fleet. The most common reason for people to split away is desperation; you think you don't have the boat speed to stay with the other boats so you take a flyer hoping for that magic wind shift, and usually lose way more distance and positions than if you had stayed with the fleet even if you don't have quite the boat speed of the front boats. And you've missed the ability to sail side by side other boats and learn what effect tuning changes will make. Last is sail conservatively,

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Preparing for an Offshore Race
Getting your sail inventory properly rated 

Most of the current offshore races are being run under either the ORR Rule or the IRC Rule. Either way there are things you should do to make sure you have the best rating for your boat and sails.


Since they are both at least partially measurement rules you want to make sure that your certificate accurately reflects the condition of your boat going into any major race. Both ORR and IRC ratings are calculated on the displacement of your boat and the size of the sails that you will be sailing with. If you have a current certificate you should carefully consider if you have done anything to the boat since it was last measured that would change the weight. If the answer is yes then for ORR you will want to have the freeboard measurements taken again to determine the current displacement, while for IRC you will want to have the boat physically weighed.


The most important thing to do for either rating system is to have your sails gone over and re-measured. Most current sails are laminates and will shrink some over time. 

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