The Harbor runs NW to SE. The sea breeze during the day tends have a little
more east to it. When we race after six, the breeze tends to be predominately parallel to the
harbor, coming from the SE.
However, the puffs tend to have a bit more east to them, that is port lifted is
headed and starboard is headed.
There is also a change in velocity with the more breeze towards the middle.
I would say from experience that over 80% of the time, going left (starboard
tack) is favored.
The puffs that are headers, so one is tempted to tack in the header.
I would resist the urge unless the shift is over 30 degrees.
Normally going out to the port lay line is not a good idea, however in these
conditions it usually pays off.
On the leeward leg on starboard, the puffs are headers.
With the spinnakers up, the tendency is to trim the sheet to keep the starboard
spinnaker luff from folding over.
However, in this light wind, it brings the spinnaker too close to the boat.
In these conditions, I first ease the guy and then readjust the sheet.
After the puff, be sure to move the spinnaker back around to starboard.
The last windward leg in these conditions can be dicey.
One can get puffs from the east across the airport. However, sometimes there are
puffs from the south coming down the Fort Point Channel.
Again, I feel the odds are better going to the left, that is tacking at the mark
and crossing the boats (if any) that are still on the run.
The wind speed at the leeward mark will in general be less than what was last
experienced going to weather at the weather mark.
Be sure to adjust the sail trim and crew location to take this into account.