Diego Figueroa continues his series on sailing to win.
Similar to the starting line, the finish line also has a favored side. You should always check which side it is, and take advantage of that, especially if you are close to the boats in front of you. You must always keep your option open to choose the side of the finish you prefer.
Approaching the finish line, think about the inside lay-lines. If you are sailing on port and need to tack to make the finish, you have two starboard lay-lines to consider: the one that takes you to the pin (inside lay-line) and the one that takes you to the RC boat (outside lay-line).
The same happens if you tack onto port, only this time the inside lay-line will take you to the RC boat and the outside will take you to the pin. Going to the outside lay-lines too early will close the option of choosing where you want to finish once you get close enough to judge which end is closer.
The best place to judge, and then choose, which end of the finish line is favored is the intersection of the two inside lay-lines. If you approach the line sailing on them, you will always get to the point where you can either keep sailing straight to one end, or tack and sail straight to the other one.
At that point, put your head up, see which side is closer, see which tack crosses the line in a more perpendicular angle, and make your decision fast so you don’t let anybody sneak in between you and the end that you choose.
Always finish close to an end
It is always better to finish close to an end, because that means that you are taking a decision, either good or bad, but at least a decision. Boats that finish in the middle of the line show that they didn’t think.
When finishing close to the end, especially if it is the boat-end, make sure you check the position of the flags that determine the line. The line can vary, depending if the flags are in the stern or the bow of the boat. Remember you must sail aiming to those flags, not to the RC boat itself. The flag pole is what really matters.
In most big events there is measurement for the top boats after finishing. As you finish, sail towards the ‘measurement’ boat and ask if they need to check you or not.
Then sail to your coach to discuss the race and get some snacks and water as soon as possible.
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