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Examine All the Gear - Friendly Racing

starting, boats, sails and ropes

EXAMINE ALL THE GEAR - FRIENDLY RACING Examine all the the boat's gear yourself, and trust to nobody, before starting for a race ; see that there are no sprung sailing thwarts, or masts, or yards, no rotten ropes, half straightened hooks, ripped sails, or anything else which is at all likely to fail you during the race, remembering that very often an extra strain is put upon gear when racing, and that ropes and spars, which previously showed no signs of weakness, may have their backs broken by the last straw, and " give out " at the critical moment, which is a great sell to say The least of it, and although it is sometimes unavoidable, still it is always worth while to take every precaution : do not however follow a practice which is very common, and which is worse if possible than starting with worn out gear, and that is to reeve a lot of brand new ropes just on the eve of starting. if you do so without having had them previously stretched, and the turns taken out of them, and given them a little work, they are extremely likely to " kink " and " jam " in the blocks, and to sell you just at the critical moment, when your men are anxious and excited, and you want everything to go particularly smooth and easy. Never get excited yourself, and never lose your temper with the men, even if things do go a little bit wrong sometimes, it is not the best way of curing matters ; blunders committed whilst racing are generally caused by excessive zeal, and are worthy of commendation and not abuse, which always makes things worse : above all things keep_ your head even if you cannot keep your temper, look where you are going to, and don't run into your friends, or the mark boats, reserve ramming tactics for the enemies of your country, when you command an ironclad ; a foul during a race is always unsatisfactory, even if you are on the right tack it is better to go round, or to give way, than to have a collision, as the other boat may be erring from ignorance, and although he would be disqualified by his error, that would be very little satisfaction to you, if he also placed you hors-de-combat, by carrying away your mast or splitting your sails, or doing you some other damage which spoilt your chance of winning.

Let us now suppose all the boats have arrived at the starting post, and are moored by their sterns to a hawser with their sails down ; this is the usual way of starting boats, and it is the fairest whenever practicable, and the longer the first run to leeward is, the better, as it gives the boats a chance of getting clear of each other and prevents a crowd at the first mark boat, where there is so often a general fouling match, through each boat trying to cut his neighbour out round the mark.