Beware of “Gusts“ and “Lulls“! A battle of nerves right up to the finish line!

A completely new Simulation-Feature: “gusts“ and “lulls“, which experienced regatta sailors asked us to devise for training the Sailing Champions League teams has been developed. These regattas often take place on inland lakes where unpredictable “gusts“ and “lulls“ can cross an entire regatta field. Such wind conditions are impossible to train without simulation.

With the “Coach´s Toolbox“ every coach and sailor can train with the new “gust“ and “lull“ simulations and, create their own individual tactical exercises. You can also playfully test the influence of the gusts and in a regatta compare with the "best time" of other sailors, see screenshot at the Race Board for the game mode "Play Against the Wind - 8x8 - Gusts."

Tobias Schadewaldt, successful sailor in the Laser and 49er and participant in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, told us about his experiences in the finals of the Champions Sailing League 2017 on Wannsee in Berlin. His report* of it is exciting: „It was a battle of nerves right up to the end ... the gusts and wind shifts influenced the regatta field unpredictably. The wind was oscillating and gusty. ... we beat upwind through the middle to catch a few gusts, which helped us hold off the Überlinger crew competitors, who were on the right side, until just before the mark. Suddenly, we realised there was a lull on their side. That was our chance! We kept left of the Überlinger crew and steered into open cover and detoured the lull. In just a few seconds we were at the windward mark and had a lead of over a 100 metres. After that it was easy sailing to the finish. In the Champion Sailing League, it is often such key decisions, which at the right moment, can change a tactical gain into a winning margin.

Tobias said in an interview with “Tactical Sailing”: “Technically speaking, with wind we always sail `chaotically´, because nobody can predict which way the wind will shift. In all wind conditions you have to be prepared to make the best out of every situation.” We can assume that, in Berlin, Tobias tactically beat to the middle, to observe the wind from all sides, thus leaving all options open for later tactical decisions.

Up to now, all “Tactical Sailing” programs with well-known sailing areas with characteristic thermals were represented. For example: Lake Garda, with its thermal wind “Vento”, has different simulation possibilities: “Wind 1x1, 4x4, to Wind 8x8” and up to 64 different wind regions.

Wind force and wind direction were simulated according to wind conditions of the area. These typical wind conditions were simulated in a rectangle in the regatta field. Each individual region was only effective within the limits set by the program. Challenging tactical variations were possible: Wind could increase, decrease, shift or oscillate. The frequency could also be firmly set, manually adjustable or randomly changeable. But: Up to now they only worked within a defined region!

With the new “Tactical Sailing” features, there are no more limits. The “gusts” and “lulls” break through the previously defined wind boundaries and cross the entire regatta field. The sailor is forced to change his previous strategic and tactical decisions. There are many new ingenious game and training situations included for improving strategy and tactics to win with or against the wind.

The “gusts” and “lulls” are recognizable by their elliptical shape on the regatta field. In the simulation, regions of the sailing area are covered by “random” gusts or lulls, which can influence both the wind strength and the wind direction in the affected region.

Tactical aspects for training with gusts (and lulls) in TacticalSailing-Simulation for example are:
- Observe the frequency and direction of the gust(s)
- Observe the wind direction and strength of the gust or lull
- Observe gusts inside the regatta field: at the start, the middle of the field, right/left sides, near land, at buoys and the finishing area.
During the regatta: How far away is the gust from my boat?
- Am I sailing towards the gust (upwind)?
- Am I sailing in front of the gust (downwind)? Does it even overtake me?
From which direction does the gust reach the boat, which direction does it then blow?
- Is the gust heading in a favourable direction to reach the buoy?
- Is it a “lift” or a “header”?
- Does the gust bring me more wind speed and therefore higher boat speed?
- Or is it a low-wind lull, and therefore reduces my boat speed?

With the new “Coach´s Toolbox” there are many options to train the unpredictable “gusts” and “lulls” that cause sailors so much trouble on the water.

If you already have a license key, you can download a free update here. The game is a perfect gift, it can be downloaded directly from the internet (39 €), is available on CD (44 €) or with Extension Coach’s Toolbox (+20 €), "All in One" (59 € / 64 €). It runs on almost any computer (Windows, Linux, Mac). See the services at and order the game on our website as a download in the online store.

Photos: © Sven Jurgensen, Tactical Sailing
Text sources: * Excerpt from a report of Tobias Schadewaldt, in NRV-News 6/2017;