Shooting the finish gains you 3 boatlengths
When you shoot the finish, you turning all your boatspeed into Vmg, thus crossing sooner than you otherwise would. This is not trivial; it can gain you about 3 boatlengths on the other guy. With a little practice, you can learn how to do this without fear.
How to shoot the finish
- At the correct point, head into the wind. All your boatspeed is now converted into Vmg, and you are going faster to windward than you were.
- You will continue to go faster to weather until your boatspeed falls to your pre-shoot Vmg. This is usually about 70%.
- Ideally, you should cross the line when your boatspeed does equal your Vmg.
- You will still gain until your continuing loss in boatspeed (loss) is equal to your gain.
Shooting the line can be practiced because there is an accurate metric (the ideal crossing point is boatspeed equals Vmg)
You don’t have to be exact either. If you are earlier or later, you still gain. In fact, you will gain until you boatspeed falls quite a bit more.
If you have confidence in your technique, you can extend your gain by reducing sail drag; drop the jib. Or even all your sails.