Weather Mark Speed and Tactics

By Andrew Kerr

September 11, 2010

Rounding the weather mark well is one of the more complex tasks in a Santana 20 sailboat race – boats approaching and leaving the mark from multiple directions, rules that change as boats enter and exit the zone around the mark, prepping and setting the spinnaker, maintaining good boat speed, keeping clear of nearby boats and their dirty air, sorting thru the tactical situations to find a smart lane to sail in, and more.

Speed

Due to the complexity of rounding a weather mark, even a small lapse in keeping your boat speed high thru the rounding can easily lead to lost places or being left with poor options on where to sail your boat. Here are some tips that will help you keep your your speed high while rounding the weather mark.

Tactics

Even with good speed, there will be boats near by that you'll need to defend against. Speed, of course, is your best defense but in reality you'll be struggling to keep in clean air while sailing the best course to the next mark. Here are some tactical tips to consider when sailing with a symmetrical spinnaker shortly after the weather mark rounding.