Just when I thought I knew how to tack, Steve Cockerill of Rooster Sailing fame comes up with this odd idea.
I was always been taught that in a center mainsheet boat the right way to tack is facing forward. I have been tacking facing forward in Lasers and Sunfish and RS Aeros for almost 40 years now.
But Steve Cockerill says that tacking facing backwards in an RS Aero enables him to make the most of the “glide” in the tack. And who am I to argue with him? He has won a gazillion championships in various boats and is now one of the fastest sailors on the planet in an RS Aero.
You can see what he is talking about in the video at the top of this post. If you don’t want to watch the whole thing then start at 2:05 to see and hear what backwards-facing tacking is all about.
And if you want more detail then you can read all about how to do backwards-facing tacks and why they are better on the Rooster blog at Maximising the Glide.
I must admit I worry that, although Steve may be on to something, I think that if I tried to learn a new trick like this at my age I would probably either fall out of the boat, or capsize, or break the tiller extension, or strangle myself with the mainsheet, or all of the above.
What do you think? Is he kidding or is he serious? Are you going to do backwards-facing tacks in an RS Aero?
Not kidding – but it is a skill that my Finnish friend used to say – enabled him to keep an eye on his competition.
In super light conditions, I still find myself tacking forwards as I can get more a roll on the boat, but once the boat is moving nicely – the aft tack works a treat. Honest!
Thanks Steve for making the first comment on this blog!
I can see I am going to have to try the aft tack. If only to confuse all my friends.