Sailing Instruction for Zach B.
You can learn three important things from a simple "head to wind" at the starting line. Here is the procedure.
Go head to wind at the starting line with your boom down the center line and your sails flapping. First, as you coast to a stop, look left and right along your traveler. One end should be aimed below the committee boat or the buoy. That is the "favored" end of the line, and it is easy to see by how much. Now, look straight forward along the center line of your boat. You should notice two more important things. One is, which side of the windward mark your boat is pointing to. Say, for example, that it points to the left of the mark. This tells you that the left (port) tack is the "long" tack. Second, you should notice which side of the course has the stronger wind. This tells you where you need to go for max power. Now you know all the factors necessary to determine your race strategy. Which end is favored, which tack is the most favorable and which side is favored and. Now all you have to do is make a plan and execute it.