Playbook: Downwind 5.1

The discussion on Red as she gets closer to the next lay-line needs to take into account several factors including: 

  • D = Distance between Red and Blue 
  • L = Lateral distance (gage) between Red and Blue 
  • F = Favored side
  • X = Distance to finish/lay-line

There are several possible solutions depending on the values of the variables above, and we encourage you to comment below with some other plays.  The one that we'll focus on here is the "jump," which we discuss often in debriefs.  In this case:

  • D < 8 boat lengths
  • D/X < 1 boat length/50m
  • L>0

In scenario DW 5, Red is set up to jump Blue on the next gybe.  The discussion on board Red should focus on creating gauge to leeward of Blue so that when both boats gybe, Red can position herself forward of Blue's bow, in the kill zone (position 2 here).  In position 1, the crew on Red should identify that, "When she gybes, we gybe," so that everyone is prepared for a simultaneous maneuver.  As long as the variables don't get outside of the values listed above, this is the high percentage move, as Red maintains contact with Blue, and remains in control of her destiny by setting up to gas Blue on the next gybe, but the farther ahead Blue is, and the closer to the finish the pair get, the more difficult it gets for Red to affect Blue’s air.

At a certain ratio of distance from the finish line to separation, Red should gybe away, and look for opportunities on the other side of the course to come back with starboard advantage. If Blue rounds the top mark with a lead >8 boat lengths, leverage should be created immediately by gybe setting, but if Red is in touch, she should pursue Blue as long as the lead does not grow to more than 8 boat lengths, or the distance to separation ratio doesn’t shrink below 1 boat length per 50m to the finish line.