I’m sure the more astute followers of ocean races have noticed that leaderboards are a poor way of judging positions in a race. Here I will outline why, how there is no fail-safe method and how I approach the problem vs my competitors.
In the last chapter I’ve explained my approach to VMC-sailing, now let’s poke some holes into it. I do believe that a constant VMC target is the optimum solution for wind changing over time. That however leaves one mortal flaw: wind changes over space!
Let’s tackle the big one, VMC. To be blunt, the big difference between the top SOLers and the fleet is simply sailing faster. Here I will explore how.
Hitting islands is an easy and entirely too common way to ruin your race. The best SOLers do it once in a while. And of course there was the much talked about Vestas grounding. So how do we avoid this?
First off, no, Team Vestas were not taking any ‘risks’. To hit a fairly wide reef right in the middle, they had to be blissfully unaware of the obstacle.
Here I’m going to outline the fundamental principles how I tackle WX routing. Honestly my approach is entirely intuition (or software of course), so I don’t have a strict formal way… but the basics are very true.
1. The rhumbline
The shortest distance between two points is a line. Point at your waypoint, go max VMG if needed.Pros: you get to your destination eventually.
It’s the shortest route, sort of.
Sometimes the fastest route, if only by accident.
This was spawned off the ‘sailors with routers’ debate, I will try to create a comprehensive guide of what goes into a successful SOL race.
I will start with a review of fundamental routing strategies. Explaining VMC and it’s applications is going to be the meat of this guide.