Seven Keys to Match-racing Success in Fleet Racing
Make the other boat start late. Push it behind the pin or committee boat. From your point of view, you must play from the inside out on the start. Your safest zone is in the windward half of the starting line but inside the committee boat layline, eight to 10 lengths low of the line.
Gain the first cross to control. Never let your opponent feel free, which will give them hope and make the race harder for you. If you are behind, do not engage with your opponent until later in the beat.
When you round the windward mark, work to create the maximum gap between you and your opponent so that you can hold your position downwind. Downwind, sail fast and protect starboard. You will get in trouble if you try to do too much. When you’re in front, your goal is to stay in front. If you try to get clever, you will get passed, or at least be forced to take an even split at the gates.
At the leeward mark, take your spinnaker down early and attempt to slow your opponent. This often catches him by surprise. If they are still carrying their kite, they might foul you. If behind, this is a great chance to split gates and sail free for the first part of the second beat.
The second upwind leg is another good chance to slow them and keep close control by sitting on their wind.
On the final downwind leg, work to stay in front, or if behind, try to pass.