Check out this video on Optimist Tacking, narrated by Shirley Robertson, double Olympic gold medalist. The key steps and additional tips are listed below. The related content links provide videos from other sources with additional tips.
We’ve updated this post from the original with additional tips and a link to a newer video from Fletcher Walters, a top Australian sailor.
- Head up smoothly, keeping main sheeted in.
- As boat goes head to wind pull boat on top of you.
- Power your body across, leading with tiller extension and back foot.
- Sit on rail and flatten the boat.
- Steer to the close-hauled course, swap hands, and trim in the mainsheet.
- Make sure you’re at top speed and check over your shoulder before tacking.
- Most coaches say to squeeze the main in at the beginning of the tack to help turn the boat.
- Keep your eyes forward as much as possible to help you steer accurately.
- Ease the mainsheet slightly as the sail starts to come over.
- Crossing the boat is like powering out of the starting blocks in a foot race. This emphasizes the need for smooth movements, rather than a hop.
- Use your forward hand to grab the centerboard trunk, hiking strap, or opposite gunwhale of boat to help pull yourself to the other side.
- Keep weight forward. When you cross, think about moving your upper body forward. Plant your aft foot forward of your body as you step.
- Don’t over-flatten the boat.
How to tack an Opti – Light Breeze Tacking with Fletch
Tacking – Yachting New Zealand Coaching Resource
Advanced Optimist Tacking – Alan Williams
Avoid Tacking in Lulls – Be Prepared to Tack in Puffs – SailZing