Port and starboard

Okay I’m racing and I know which is port and starboard, and all the rules, but when It comes to actually racing, I forget all of the above because of the fast pace, and people start yelling at me “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” and stuff like that.

Anybody else have this problem? I’m going to try dayglow red and green stickers for port and starboard tack recognition help.

Yes, I do, and I just have two other people to race against. Most of the time there is only two of us so we match race and evn then it’s hard(if not impossible) for me to think of anything but controlling the boat. I think an awful lot of the people that do well at this are people that have been sailing all their lives and the rules are second nature to them. For those that have never been in a sailboat the learning curve is very steep and if you are over 50 when you start it may just be too steep.

Vancouver Island

You would be suprised at the amout of times I’ve had a port tack boat call starboad on me, and thats while fullsize racing! You often see red and green sickers on dingy booms of even quite good sailors. I must admit I think port and starboard more naturally than left and right! (but I’ve been racing for almost half my life, and I’m only 18 now)

Luff 'em & leave 'em.

I have placed numerous pieces of yellow reflective tape on the side of the boat that the booms are on when on starboard tack. I am not a former big boater, but the action is so fast and furious that help is needed. It also allows you to not waste time figuring so positioning for tactical advantage is better.Clyde

Hiya Clyde!! :slight_smile:

I remember a guy in my club has reflective orange ‘dots’ on the one side, so I was thinking that it would look cool if you got ALL the people in your club to put the same color on the same side. Also, it would help everybody (assuming you got a bunch of newbies) to learn what side is what. If two or more boats are on the same tack, you can see that easily, just be the dots, so it would take some stress off the new people. In that case you’d only have windward-leeward to worry about (much easier rule).

Maybe paint one side of the boat red and the other green! If a whole club did it,think of the effect when everyone tacked at the same time. A new Olympic sport-- Synchronized tacking!!!

Vancouver Island

I understand the frustration of this one though it is something I have had beaten out of me over several years of racing. It was probably my doing that lead to john posting this . . . good bad or otherwise.

The one bit I would like to add, is that I understand the want to make the two sides of your boat different color such that you can tell what tack you are on, but this doesnt always work. Its NOT what color you see, its the side of the boat your boom is on. It might be misleadin, especially if the wind shifts. You could get lulled into a sense of security that if you are looking at a certain side of the boat, that you are on a certain tack, but that wont always hold true.

All kidding aside, I was thinking of wiring up a small circuit to embed in my mast that would trip a small lightwieght switch when the boat crossed over centerline. when the boom is on the port side of the boat (starboard tack) a light would come on on the top of my mast letting me know I was on starboard. Woo hoo!!! right of way!

For me this would be particularly helpful because sometimes when my boat is running downwind, but parallel to where I am, I cant tell if my main boom is pointing towards me, or away from me!

As a very dumb aside. . . the way I can quickly tell if I am on port or starboard, is by picturing myself on the boat hiking hard on the rail, tiller in one hand, sheet in the other. In my mental picture, I know that if I am looking forward over my right shoulder, I am on starboard tack and have the RIGHT of way. If I am looking forward over my left shoulder. . . I better watch out! probably wont work for anyone else in the world, but it works for me!


PS: John, great job sailing that soling on sunday! looking good around the marks. Get to know the rules as well as bill and I and you will be a forced to be reckoned with anywhere in region one!

I just remember (dinghies/keelers) when sitting on the weatherside looking forward (also looking at the boats in front, always last)(not looking for the wind shift) if the tiller is the left hand (watch is on) I am on starboard.
Bugger if I leave the watch at home!!!

what bout if u wear ur watch on the right had?

I guest you will be screamed at alot more!!!

Thanks Tod-

I had another Idea similar to the lightbulb. You could have a short lever that gets flipped to the right by the sheet, right next to whare the sheet leaves the boat, only when the boat is on starboard, but remains upright when on port. This lever could move a dayglow colored thing of some sort at the stern. Hmmmmmm.Might effect sail shape for one of the tacks

(I’ll be at the pond tonight if it aint rainin which I don’t think it will be)

I think the most important point to the color or reflective tape is so you know which side is the starboard side(more difficult). Then you need to understand the definition of port or starboard tack (easier).

About that lightbulb…could you see it in the afternoon sun?