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Our Sailboat Races

We generally set up one of two different courses here on Lake Mohawk, both of which are
somewhat triangular, the difference being the order of the "legs".  The portion of the course
from mark to mark is called a "leg".  Observe the picture below...



The triangle course we usually sail would take the following route:

windward leg, 1 - 2

1st reaching leg, 2 - 3

2nd reach leg, 3 - 1

repeat again, then

to the finish line with a final windward leg, 1 - 2



The race committee may elect to set an Olympic Course which
would have the same shape, but different legs as follow:

windward leg, 1 - 2

1st reaching leg, 2 - 3

2nd reaching leg, 3 -1

windward leg, 1 -2

leeward leg, 2 - 1

windward leg, 1 -2



If you are a sailing novice (no worries, we all start out that way!), you may realize that sailboats cannot sail in a windward direction, or
into the wind.  That is why the upwind course that sailboats actually sail are zig-zag as denoted by the white arrows in the picture.
A sailboat can sail at approx. 45 degrees to the wind, so in zig-zagging (or "tacking" in sailing jargon) the sailboat can move in a windward
direction - and yes, it can take a while to get to the windward mark!

The other part of the equation you may find missing (but it is not, really!) is the start and finish line.  There is a motor boat, we call it the Committee Boat,
which is used to both set up the course and helps to set the lines.  The committee boat anchors near the leeward mark (1.) to form the starting line - this
line is approx. perpendicular to the wind.  After the race has started the committee boat officiates the race, and then sets the finish line off the windward
mark.  The committee boat is shown by the black diamond in the picture above - at the starting line.



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