Making the right tactical decisions - whether in an Optimist or a J/70

A clear start, the long leg, and having right of way - that was the formular for success for Marvin Frisch, Optimist German Champion 2010 and 2011. Now Marvin sails with the J/70 Sailing Champion League Team for the Württemberg Yacht Club. "Tactical Sailing" was able to speak to him and his crew at the beginning of the 2019 sailing season on lake Starnberg.

It is apparent to every sailor that the J/70, in comparison to the Optimist, is classed with the "big boats". Through the role allocation amongst the team on a "big boat" such as a J/70, tactical sailing situations, such as the start, shifting winds and right of way, are just as important as it was then for Marvin when he was sailing his Optimist. 

However, for the Champions League format, with its small "regatta field", success depends entirely on intensive communication and quick decision making. With Marvin as the - "Tactician on Board" - the team have already gathered a lot of tactical experience.

Marvin: "When you don't steer yourself you must communicate a great deal."

This was made obviously clear by the team's "de-briefing" on land as they precisely discussed how to improve their next "Flight".
Essentially its about clear decision making, no hesitating and precise communication! This begins in the starting phase: Good timing on the start line is the foundation to success.

Marvin: "With the Optimist, I could let the sail luff on the startline, then just wait and bear off on the start signal. However, this tactic does not work with the J/70!"  The basic difference in sailing regattas with a J/70, is the Downward Course. You beat also downwind! This also applies when sailing the long leg. Here we also have a special feature regarding the team's role allocation: 

The Helmsman "travels" behind the "Gennaker-Driver". This means that the sailor at the front, controlling the Gennaker is the first to feel the power in the sail, and gives the Helmsman the information whether to luff or bear off. 

At the Lee-Gate the right of way plays a deciding factor. Besides keeping the right of way, the boat's gained speed must not be lost on rounding the windward mark. This means not staying still head to wind or on the leeward side. For the tactician Marvin, it is essential for him to make the tactical decision, which side is better for sailing downwind, thus solving the following problem: 

How to reach the mark when other boats are in the way? "Rather without any duels on the Gate-Buoy, then with open wind on the other buoys". - Was how Marvin clearly surveyed the situation from his past "Flight" experiences.

The result for the Württemberg Yacht Club(WYC) on this weekend: not quite a satisafctory result - but has a lot of optimising potential. However, the season has only just begun, so we will be keeping our fingers crossed for Marvin and his team, and wish them a successful 2019 regatta season.

So if you are interested in testing your ability to sail a J/70, then just order the new "Tactical Sailing" Software. If you already have a licence key, you can download our free new update. Our game makes the ideal gift and can be downloaded: Games and Tips (download) 39€, Coach's Toolbox - Add on (download) 20€, Games and Tips plus Coach's Toolbox (download) 59€. It runs on almost every computer (Windows,Linux,Mac) See: to download, buy in Online Shops. 

Fotos: Tactical Sailing, © Nico Martinez,

© Fotoseries of German Sailing Champions League at Munich Yacht Club from Andrea Grosser, see: