The Dogleg Start gets ahead of the crowd at the start
When you start, so does everybody else. Because you’re trapped in the crowd, your tactical options are limited as well as your wind. The dogleg start technique lets you pop out of the crowd at the start, so you are then free to tack, and your wind is clear. How?
Win your start by crossing the line exactly on time with a higher boatspeed than everybody else
Take a look at a video of a Dogleg Start.
Here is how to establish where the starting line is.
The starting line page displays a line (the ‘Overspeed line’) above which you will cross the line above target speed. You will then be in free air and are free to tack.
The dogleg starting strategy involves running parallel to the starting line to build up a good head of steam and turning up just in time to cross at zero. With this type of start, you can have enough speed to pop out of the crowd into clear air and room to tack if the situation requires. The problem is, how can you determine when to turn for the crossing, and how do you adjust where on the line you will cross?
The starting line uses position, line location, true wind, your polars, stopwatch, and dynamics parameters (turn radius, acceleration, etc.) to calculate where the overspeed is and when you should turn up.
Adjusting where you will cross
The ‘Vanderbilt’ method
If you are going to be early at the far end, the dogleg crossing point will be pinned there and display “burn time”, or how much you will be early if you turned and went for it right now. The Vanderbilt method involves sailing away until the intersection is at the desired point on the line, then turning around and going for it. Note here the importance of setting turn radius so the geometry of your future path is modeled correctly.
Another strategy would be to sit relatively still somewhere and wait for the solution to shrink down to the desired point.
Your actual strategy will probably be a combination of these.
Even when on your reach leg of a dogleg start, you still have control of your starting point. If you reach further away from the line, the intersection will move toward you, and vice-versa.
The dogleg start is so successful that some of our clients feel guilty. But they seem to get over it.