In a hurry? You're an amateur sailor?

Then visit our Tactics Lite page

You know the rules of the game?

Nevertheless it might be useful to have a closer look at our page Rules Crashcourse


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This is a site for Race Tactics. Who should read this site? What kind of sailors would find this site useful?

We hope to answer these questions in the following.

Technique or Tactic?

Die österreichische RC44 It is easy to understand that a brilliant sailor, who wants to win medals at the Olympic Games, or world championships, needs perfect equipment, has to handle his boat perfectly in all conditions and should know how to deal with any tactical situations on the race course.

But how many "perfect" sailors are there in the world?

Sailboat racing is a very time consuming sport. You have to prepare your material, you need a lot of training on the water to improve your boat's handling, you have to deal with rules and decisions, and you have to play with tactical situations and know what is the best solution for you in any particular race situation. You will hardly find another sport, which is nearly as complex as sailboat racing and, as most of us are sailing for pleasure in our leisure time, we do not have enough time to pay attention to all the different aspects of it.  But nevertheless most of us are sailing, for pleasure in our leisure time. Therefore most of us do not have enough time to pay attention to all the different aspects of sailboat racing. You have to prioritise.

The main goal for most racers is to improve their results. Because time is the limiting factor in this game, you have to decide how best to use that time.

I plan to write an article with some calculations on this topic, but in the meantime trust me - the most important thing is: Try to sail fast

Racing Tactic is an important factor for winning races. But don't waste important training time for tactical issues if your boat handling is not perfect. If you win nearly every training leg, the time is coming to spend a lot of time with tactics, then you are ready for these pages.

Until that time comes it is better to go out on the water and to work on your technique or into your garage to improve your equipment.

But nevertheless you should know some Tactical basics. Knowing these is enough to help you to perform well in all kinds of regattas, and I really mean all kinds of regattas. I know some professional sailors who know only these or similar basic tactical rules and are performing very well in top level regattas. nach oben

Strategy versus Tactics?

This page is about sailboat racing tactics, but we will also cover strategy. For me strategy is a part of the tactics game. What do we mean by strategy? Strategy is the plan you have for sailing around the course in the shortest time possible in the absence of other boats. Tactics are how you manage all other boats on the course, which have one aim - to destroy your strategic plan. They try to steal your place on the start line or tack immediately in front of you.

What a fine life we would have, if there were no competitors on the water.

Tactics and Rules

Tornadostart The focus of this site is sailing tactics. Unfortunately we are not alone on the race course and sailing against the watch like downhill racers. We have to share the racing area with our competitors and therefore we will meet them continuously during the competition.  We must try to take advantage of these meetings, to find a successful field tactic and, to be successful in a one-on-one battle, it is necessary to know the rules of the game.

In connection with a special tactical situation we will mention the rules, but this site is not intended to be about rules.  If you are not sure about the Racing Rules of Sailing, and want to revise them have a look on our "Rules Crash Course". nach oben

Tactic for Beginners

As mentioned before, race tactics are somewhat overrated. Tactics become the leading factor in the game if the competitors are so high level, that they manoeuvre their boats perfectly all the time. For everyone else, we have collected some basic principles. If you follow these basic rules, you will be better than 80 % of your competitors, unless you are a class-A sailor, fighting to win the Olympics..

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Most tactical issues are based on compass readings. If you have no compass on board, you cannot make tactical decisions based on facts, but only on your feelings.  Trust me, every top sailor has a good feeling for speed, wind and weather, but he will not trust his feelings more than the figures of the compass. How to use the compass to find out some important facts, you will find in the appropriate chapters, but don't try to become a good regatta sailor without using a compass.nach oben

Crashcourse Rules

The following pages deal with tactics, but knowing the rules is an important component for successful tactical decisions.

Refresh your Rules Know How. Here you will find the most important rules of the ISAF RRS2013 (as updated by the ISAF in January 2010).

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