Mistakes I've Made This Year (so far)
Going into the top mark at the Nationals this year, positioned in the top 10, I hit the mark (1). Re rounding instead of doing a 360(2) cost me about 20 boat places. I should have continued on, and then done a 360 penalty turn. Probably would have only cost maybe 5 places.
Not recognizing that the boat was slowing down in increasing wind. Because I was still able to hold it down and point high, I thought I was OK (Lottawana and Nationals). Probably cost me 4 to 8 boat lengths per mile. Trying to point high in light winds will also slow you down. The solution is to ease your sheet or traveler and bear off a little. In high wind also move your board back a little. Everything just works better if you have a little speed.
Going down wind and not remembering that the wind seems to travel in lanes. Some lanes are faster than others. If you are not in the fast lane, get there. One recent race (yesterday) I was passed by two boats who were in the fast lane. Then they moved over in front of me! I then moved over into the now vacant fast lane and was able to pass them back. If you can see the puffs, go get in them. Sometimes, even when you can't see the puffs, there is still a fast lane. If you see the other boats going faster, get over there.
OK, this one is a little tougher for me to diagnose. In light air, nearly laying the windward mark, boats are lifting out on your weather quarter. Do you hold on hoping their wind will fade? I usually do. Bad decision. One race at Lottawana cost me seven places, another cost me two places. Several races here at Shawnee this year I've lost places when this happened. The solution is to swallow your pride and cut your losses and go get into the better wind.
When ever two boats cross upwind, one of them is going the wrong way.
If you don't know which tack is the correct tack, be on the tack pointing you closer to the mark.
The wind is seldom from a uniform direction.
If two boats are 100 yards apart, and the wind shifts 10 degrees, the gain (or loss) is a staggering 25 yards.
Keep checking the angles you are making with the angles of the other boats.
Always consolidate your gains when you can. Or cut your losses (don't hold on to a looser thinking it will come back).
It's a geometry game. (But you got to go fast.)