The first two minutes of a race is arguably the most important. Those first two minutes will define where you start on the line, and how much space is around you to accelerate. This makes starting one of the hardest skills to master in sailboat racing. Good news is there are a few tricks that can make starting much easier. These tricks focus on executing a start that is low-risk and has a high-reward. A low-risk start isn’t going to mean that you are leading at every windward mark, but it will keep your options open on the first beat so you can go where you want without being forced which will give you a better chance of rounding the top mark in the front of the pack. Once you are in the front, it is easier to hang in there.
In the video below, our expert Mike Marshall talks us through a ten-boat start where one boat, in particular, had the opportunity to contain the fleet and have a low-risk start with just one small decision change. Instead, because they were too early, they had to sail down the line which then forced them into a high-risk starting situation that gave them no control of the race, or their competition.
Modern sailcloth begins life as industrial fiber and film. Some of these products are well known to sailors by a specific supplier’s brand name. A better understanding of the characteristics of these fibers can be helpful in choosing the right sails for your boat.
Remember when your spinnaker was new—how crisp and clean the material felt and the way it crinkled going into the bag? The whites were white and the colors were bright, and it even smelled like the brand new nylon that it was.
North Sails offers three material options to help you find the right sails for your needs. Every North cruising sails is custom-designed for your boat and sailing style. By matching the right materials to your sailing goals, you'll be even happier with your new North sails. That could mean easier furling and flacking, smoother tacking and jibing, headache-free sail handling and storage or optimum performance and longevity.
Cruising sailcloth comes in three styles: woven Polyester dacron, cruising laminates, and 3D composite material. Each provides a different balance of durability and performance. Dacron fabrics are the toughest and most structurally stable. Cruising laminates offer lighter weight and increased shape holding. 3D composites are a new generation of cruising materials with exceptional shape holding and structural integrity beyond many laminates.