Mid-line Start on a Level Line

Mid-Line starts are possibly the hardest to get right, mostly because it is much harder to be sure of your position relative to the line

What the Experts Say

Paul Goodison – Laser Handbook
(A good way to gauge how far you are from the line) is to point your bow directly at the pin end, hold the tiller centred and look down the tiller towards the starboard end. If the extension of this line is two boat lengths behind the Committee Boat then you will be one length behind the line in the centre of it.

Jon Emmett – Be Your Own Sailing Coach
What you really need is some transits…if you are confident in your position you may even be able to start on port!

Books with information for Mid-Line Starts

Websites and online articles for Mid-Line Starts

Paul Goodison writes about the key points he considers when executing a mid-line start in this excellent article on starting

This article also has good advice for mid-line starts

This article focuses on mid-line starts

What We Learned...

Mid-Line Start on a Level Line

Starting in the middle of the line is possibly the hardest place to get a really good start. Partly this is because most lines have a bias of some description which is not being milked by starting in the middle, but mostly it is because it is much harder to be certain of your position in relation to the line. It is essential to have more than one very reliable transit, so that you can both be certain that you are on the line, but also to help you judge your approach from holding station through the acceleration towards the line at the gun.

If you get the opportunity to be on the committee boat for a big fleet start then you will almost certainly see the infamous mid-line sag that comes with a long start line. Boats can be as much as three or four boatlengths off the line at the gun, valuable distance at the beginning of a race where every inch equates to positions lost or gained. However, once you are confident of your position in relation to the line, this can actually be used to your advantage.

The trick here is, once you have good transits in place to help your approach, to stay with the pack as long as possible. If you move to early you will encourage the rest of the fleet to go with you, but if you hold back and time your acceleration to the line correctly, you should get a good clean start at pace, with clean air and a good lead on the boats around you.

It can take courage, but once you have pulled this off a few times and are confident in your use of transits you will have a real advantage on square start lines. It is an especially useful skill in shifty conditions, or where you have remained unsure which side of the beat will pay. You will have good options to go right or left up the beat, have a good view of where the breeze is, and if you have timed your start correctly and others haven’t, you should be able to get into the shift sequence very quickly.

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