Boston Harbor Sailing Club...More Time on the Water...

Lesson Learned

Racing in a Dying Sea Breeze


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.


Written by Alan Palevsky.  Any comments? Send me an email

Lessons Learned

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