# THE FINISH

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THE FINISH
How many times have you heard the story about someone losing four boats right at the finishing line? Chances are he wouldn’t
All you need to know is the favored End and the Favored Tack.
FAVOURED END
The favored end of the finish line is the end of the line that is farthest way from the wind, or closest to downwind (See Diagram 1)
You need to know the favored end of the finish line for the same reason you need to know it for the start – if you finish there, you
will sail a shorter distance than people who finish at the opposite end.
You may ask, “ How can I tell which end is favored after I round the leeward pin?” An excellent time to check the line is while
on your way past on the final lap or leg.
The easiest way to figure out the favored end as you are going by the line is by figuring out what will be the favored tack to the
finish. The favored tack is the one which will cross the line most perpendicular
to it. And the favored end will always be the opposite of the favored tack, in terms of port and starboard (see diagram 1).
To figure it out by this technique, you must understand that whichever tack you are on downwind, if you come back to weather on
the same angle , you will be on the opposite tack.

A
o…………………………………………………………..

B

C                                               favored end

DIAGRAM 1
The dotted line is perpendicular to the wind, indicating that the starboard end is furthest away from the wind and thereby the
favored end to finish. Boat A is sailing downwind on starboard tack. As he passes the finish line, it is apparent that his heading is
almost perpendicular to the finish line. If starboard tack is most perpendicular downwind then port tack will be most
perpendicular upwind, as indicated by Boat B, This means port is the favored tack to the finish and the Starboard end of the line is
the favored place to finish. Unfortunately, in this example Boat B is finishing at the unflavored end of the line, although he is on
the favored tack, Boat C is even worse off – he is finishing on the unflavored (Starboard tack) and the port end of the line.
INSIDE AND OUTSIDE LAYLINES
Sometime with Olympic Courses the finish is set further out than the weather mark and it is hard to determine ahead of time
which end is favored. In this case you want to tack to the inside lay lines, rather than the outside lay lines.
Because the finish line has two ends to it, there are actually four lay lines involved (see diagram 2) When we know the favored
end of the line, the most common approach is to go to the outside lay line for that mark and tack to the lay line. When we do not
know the favored end, you can sail the inside lay line towards one end of the finish line. When you reach the point where the
other end of the line is directly abeam – “the moment of truth” – you are at the point where the two lay line cross. Decide at that
point which of the two lay lines is shortest and take the route to get to the favored end. If the shorter line will require you to tack,
consider your tacking time in calculating whether the shortest distance will pay off.
FAVOURED TACK
The favored tack, as we have already explained, is simply the tack that crosses the finish line at the most perpendicular angle.
You can figure out the favored tack with the systems we have already talked about in “Favored end”

O
Finnish line
Outside lay line

Inside lay line                     Outside lay line
Inside lay line

Moment of truth

Diagram 2

You may say. “So what?” What difference does it make which tack I make across the line on, as long as I go the favored end?.
But there is a BIG difference, If there are no other boats in sight then, fine, finish backwards if you want to, but in normal racing
situations, the concept of the favored tack is extremely important.
For example, and I have seen this happen many times; The line is heavily port-tack favored, which automatically means it is
starboard-end-favored. The boat in the lead has the race in the bag and tacks just short of the starboard end lay line. Meanwhile
the second place boat is coming in on port tack to the same starboard end lay line. The leader hails “Starboard” and continues on
down the line knowing he will cross pretty soon. The second place boat replies hold course, slows down a little until the leader is
clear. And sheets in, accelerating across the line on the favored tack, and for victory (see diagram 3)
Countless times boats have lost many places, not just one, simply by ignoring the favored tack.

o

B

A

B                         A
Diagram 3

Boat A exercises his starboard rights and continues to the finish line on the unfavoured tack. Boat B crosses behind Boat A, sails
a shorter distance to the finish on the favored tack and wins the race.
TACTICS GOING TO THE FINISH

DEFENCE
If you are in the lead (or ion any position defending against boats behind), it is imperative to make good rounding at the leeward
mark by entering wide and exiting close. This gives you a higher line going to weather so boats rounding behind you will be not
able to get above you and control you. They are in a position if you should make a wide exit from the leeward mark, and they
made a tight rounding. Now you would be pinned and unable to tack – tacking too close would be the problem.
If your only concern is defense stay on port tack until the boats you are covering or defending against round the mark. If they also
stay on Port tack and are following you and are not above you, hold port tack until you reach the lay line to the favored end. If
they have had a better mark rounding or get a better shift of wind are pointing higher than you to the point where they will soon be
controlling you, you must tack across to protect yourself before you get to the point where they are preventing you from tacking.
Once they are in control, they are probably going to beat you to the finish. If you have had to tack to protect yourself and if the
other boat continues on to the lay line, you will be doing two more tacks than they in getting to the finish will. Therefore, it is
now even more imperative that you go to the favored end of the finish and the favored tack, saving as much distance as possible to
make up for the extra two tacks.
What do you do if the boats you are defending against tack right after rounding the mark or at some point before they get to the
lay line? Tack to cover them. You should be watching the boats behind you like a hawk. If they start to tack first, you tack at
the same time, If they have not tacked when you comfortable laying the favored end, tack before they do and go for it.
CAUTION-You had better be sure of the favored end if you are going to tack before the other boat. If you are going for the
wrong end and they hold their tack until they are laying the favored end, they could still beat you. NOTE-If you are only
defending against one boat and have no other boats to worry about, you can afford to continue going with that one boat and tack at
the same time.
If you have a starboard –favored line, with a port-tack favored finish, you can still come in on the right lay line. Just as you get to
the starboard end of the line, head up sharply to he bow across the line, even if you go ahead to wind, then immediately bear back
off onto starboard. You are finished if any part of the boat crosses the line. The entire boat need not cross to be finished. That is
one way to beat the port tacker coming in at the starboard pin. You know you cannot tack in front of him because you would be
tacking too close. However you have not tacked until you are past head to wind. That is why you must not go past head to wind
and then you must bear off back to starboard. On starboard you have rights.

OFFENSIVE
If you are behind at the leeward mark and your goal is to beat the boats ahead of you, it is just as imperative to have a superlative
C mark rounding be entering wide and exiting close. If you can make a great mark rounding and take a higher line to weather
than the boats ahead of you, you may be able to control them all the way to the lay line and/or beyond it.
If you rounded the leeward pin in second and you had a good mark rounding, you will find that you are behind but to windward of
the lead boat (see diagram4) you are in a position to control from behind. Of course, you may be getting back winded and could
slip down behind that boat, in which case the tactical picture changes for you.
However if you hold that position and work up to a point where your air is fairly clear, you can run the leader way out past the lay
line before you tack. You see, the leader cannot tack in front of you, so he has to wait until you tack. The secret, in this case, is
don’t tack right on the lay line – you must carry the leader well past the lay line so that you will both be reaching back to the finish
line
The other thing that happens here is that since you have control over when you are going to allow the other boat to tack, you can
tack first and get boat speed up while the other boat is still going even further beyond the lay line before they can execute their
tack. You are off and going, at an angle that takes you a shorter distance

o

A
B

B
A

Lay line

o
Diagram 4

CAUTION- If you have lots of boats trying to catch you, this tactic of carrying the leader will not work, as you will end up
loosing to boats behind you.. This is an offensive move, which must be tempered by using intelligent defense against those
behind you. ANOTHER CAUTION - The leader might try to drive off a lot. He is trying to make room to tack. Don’t let him.
Drive off with him. If you let him get away you are no longer controlling from behind.
It would be silly for you to sail close to the wind, letting the leader drive off and tack only to come at you on starboard and be on
the lay line as well. You would be dead meat.

But let’s say you don’t get a good rounding, you may either follow right behind or slightly to leeward of the boats ahead of you.
This is a no win situation. If possible, and a rapidly as possible, tack out of there. If you get out into clear air and if you know the
favored end and favored tack, you still have a chance of picking up the leader. If you stay in follow the leader position you will be
floundering along in bad air all the way to the finish and may even lose more positions.

‘FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH DEPARTMENT

Never finish in the middle of the line. The shorter the line, the less important the favored end may be, but it is still important

When the distance from the leeward mark to the finish is relatively short, the time it takes to tack is a major factor in your tactical
decisions. If you can avoid throwing in two extra tacks on this short leg, do so. Only do those extra tacks if necessary to protect
your lead against boats behind you or if you have nothing to loose.