Twelve Thunderbirds showed up Wednesday July 8th, a sunny evening with a steady breeze, to join the joy and exhilaration of one design racing on Port Townsend Bay. Is there more fun to be had in this Victorian seaport arts community of ours than that? I think not. 

Twelve boats results in challenging starting action, plenty of crossing situations, and close mark roundings. In all these situations the racing rules of sailing are our friend, provided we know how to use them. They are designed to facilitate an orderly start, to keep boats safe out on the course, and to prevent collisions when a pack of boats converge on a single point at mark roundings. Knowing the rules allows us to take advantage of our rights, and to consolidate our advantages. Playing by the rules makes for predictable behavior. And predictable behavior helps keep us out of trouble.  

This past week Falcon, Possum, and Dorado had a close encounter at the final leeward mark of the day. Consider Dale Dunning’s race video shown below.  What lessons are to be learned here?