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Long distance

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Long Distance Tactics

An island can be your saviour

Especially with long distance races it often happens that on a long downwind course, boats are in front of us and make every jibe at the same time as us in order to stay between us and the next mark. To them, this is a legitimate defence of their advantageous position. But what can we as followers do? Should there be an island on the route which can be passed on either side, there is a good opportunity available. We just have to lure our competitors to the other side of the island. How do we do that?

Decide strategy

Which side of the island would we have passed it on if no other boats were around us? Now we know where we want to go.

Lure the boat in front of us onto the worst side

To do this we make a clear course on the side of the island which we don't want to pass it on. The boat in front of us will probably try to stay between us and the next mark, and so sail on that course.

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Sail to the preferred side

At the last possible moment, we jibe and sail by on the other side of the island. The boat in front of us is only able to sail further on its course. It has now lost control over us and if our strategy was correct we have a good chance to overtake our competitor, or at least to reduce the distance between us.

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If our opponent should, however, also decide to jibe and to change to our side, he will have to sail with a worse VMG and will in any case lose his lead.

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Of course this can work, not just with islands, but you can also use large ships, fishing boats or whatever else is floating around on the sea for your tactics.