How to dive for the start at maximum speed with your heart in your mouth!

Many races specify a maximum altitude for crossing the start line. Of course, you want to cross the start line with as much speed as possible, you want to be as close to the maximum starting altitude as possible and if it’s a regatta start (clock starts at a specific time whether or not you have crossed the start line), you want to cross as close to race start time as possible! This makes for one of the tensest moments during a race! It is really important to have a consistent method for doing this. I learned a simple formula from another pilot that works pretty well for me and takes out some of the anxiety. The method that he gave was only for a 15 meter glider, namely the ASW 27 and will need to be adjusted for other ships and other pilot preferences. His formula is very simple.

  1. If possible, start your dive from 300 meters above the maximum starting height and 1 Km from the line at flaps 1. The hardest part for me is knowing how far you are from the start line. If you are in the middle of the line you can use screen 3 on the glider’s flight computer to read the distance. The problem is that if you are NOT in the center, that won’t work. I guess the best thing to do would be to learn what 1 km from the start looks like at a certain zoom factor of the moving map and always use that for the race start.
  2. Time to red line from 1km and 300 meters is about 16 seconds so allow about 18 to 20 seconds
  3. When circling at the 1km distance from the start line waiting for your 18 to 20 second countdown, it’s good to know that it takes 23 seconds to complete 360 degrees at 45 degree bank at 110 Kph
  4. See Start Information for specifics for 15m vs 18m ships.

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