David Dsilo2


Dave Dellenbaugh Sailing

David Dellenbaugh is a champion helmsman, tactician, author, coach, rules expert and seminar leader who has spent his career helping sailors sail faster and smarter.Here are the learning resources that he has created to help you improve your racing skills.

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List of Back Issues

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Issue # Theme Date Description                          
144 Starting Strategy May/Jun 2018 This issue is all about how to determine where on the starting line you should start. Topics include a discussion about strategy vs. tactics • goals at the start • ingredients of a first-beat strategy • developing a starting plan • measuring and evaluating line bias • the importance of position on the line • when (and when not) to start at the boat, pin and middle • a starting strategy planner • and how other boats affect your strategy. 
143 Fleet Tactics Jan/Feb 2018 This issue is all about tactical moves that will help you navigate your way around the race course amidst a fleet of boats. Topics include: why you should avoid tactics whenever possible • the different general types of tactics • tricks for approaching the starting line • assessing your tactical risk • keeping your tactical options open • first beat versus second beat tactics • port-tack approaches to the windward mark • making strategic-tactical compromises • keeping clear lanes downwind • exiting the leeward mark • and more. 
142 Racing Rules IQ Test Aug/Sep 2017 This issue contains our quadrennial ‘IQ Test’ about the 2017-2020 Racing Rules of Sailing. This year the ‘IQ Test’ has more than 250 questions and takes up the entire newsletter. My goal with this issue was to create a comprehensive, useful resource that would be helpful in: a) finding out how well you understand the racing rules, and b) improving your overall knowledge of the rules. For easy reference, I divided the questions according to the part of the race course where they normally apply. You will see there are 35-40 questions in each of these sections: Starting, Windward leg, Windward mark, Downwind leg, Leeward mark, Finishing and Protests/penalties.
141 New 2017-2020 Rules May/Jun 2017 This issue is all about the new 2017-2020 Racing Rules! It explains the major changes in the new rulebook and how racing will be different during the next four years. Topics include the new rules about support persons, tacking in the zone, when mark-room turns off, discretionary penalties, hailing for room to tack, collisions when not racing, exoneration, conflict of interest, fair sailing, arbitration, misconduct, the new U Flag starting penalty, redress and protest procedures. A lot of good information that will be helpful this year and through 2020! 
140 Lessons from Rio Nov/Dec 2016 This issue is all about things I learned and re-learned while coaching the US Sailing Team at the 2016 Olympics. It covers a bunch of different topics including strategy and tactics, current, rules and protests, geographic land effects and more. A lot of useful tips that apply to all boats! 
139 Practice Drills Aug/Sep 2016 This issue is all about drills you can use in your next training session or pre-race warmup. It starts off with some philosophical comments about practicing and then describes more than 30 exercises you can use for improving the skills of your team. The drills are broken into groups according to how many boats are in your training session – 1 (just yourself), 2 or 3+. There is a focus on fun and an assumption that you will be doing the drills without a coach or coach boat. 
138 Ladder rungs Apr/May 2016 This issue is all about 'Ladder Rungs.' It defines the ladder rung concept, explains why they can be a valuable tool and describes how to use them for strategy and tactics. Issue 138 includes discussions about how ladder rungs apply to wind shifts, starting lines, gates, finish lines and leeward mark roundings. It explains how to identify your ladder rung and how to use that info for making tactical decisions both upwind and downwind. 
137 Light vs. Heavy Air Jan/Feb 2016 This issue is all about the differences between racing in Light Air and Heavy Air. It's the second in our 'comparative analysis' series designed to compare and contrast various parts of our sport. Issue 137 explains why and how your priorities should change for sailing in different wind velocities. It includes topics such as the nature of wind shadows, the value of pressure versus shifts, the cost of boathandling maneuvers, current effects, changing laylines, boatspeed considerations, tactical moves and more. 
136 Two Study Tests Oct/Nov 2015 This issue contains two 'tests' to help you improve your performance. One test with 60 questions about SPEED, and another with 62 questions about SMARTS. 
135 Championsjip Analysis 2 Aug/Sep 2015 This issue is all about the lessons that my crew and I learned and re-learned while racing in the 2015 Lightning International Masters Championship in Canada. The format is a race-by-race analysis of key moves and strategies that cover starting, wind shifts, how to approach and exit marks, strategizing, upwind tactics and more. The regatta was raced in Lightnings, but almost all the lessons apply to any boat, whether you sail a singlehanded dinghy, asymmetrical sport boat or handicap racer. 
134 Upwind vs. Downwind May/Jun 2015 This issue is all about the differences between racing Upwind and Downwind. It's in a slightly new 'comparative analysis' format designed to compare and contrast two aspects of our sport. Issue 134 explains why and how you should have a very different perspective for sailing beats versus runs. It compares strategies for topics such as playing wind shifts, determining the favored side, the value of finding extra pressure, dealing with waves, finding the groove, tacking and jibing, laylines and more. 
133 Play Fair! Jan/Feb 2015 This issue is all about sportsmanship and sailboat racing. Topics include the definition of sportsmanship, how to promote sportsmanship, the fair sailing rules, taking the appropriate penalties, whether or not you should protest, doing a Two-Turns Penalty, doing a One-Turn Penalty, tactical fairness and more! 
132 Playbook 5 - Boatspeed Nov/Dec 2014 This is the fifth issue in our 'Playbook' series. It is all about 'Boatspeed" and the things you can do to sail your boat faster around the race course. 
131 Playbook 4 - Mark Rounding Aug/Sep 2014 This is the fourth issue in our Playbook Series. This one is all about Mark Roundings – it contains a bunch of ‘plays’ to help you sail smarter when you are going around marks. Topics include key mark rounding principles, mark characteristics, rounding techniques, steering the ideal course around marks, windward mark tips, leeward mark tips and more! 
130 Playbook 3 - Downwind May/Jun 2014 This is the third issue in our current 'Playbook' series. It is all about 'Downwind Strategy and Tactics" with a bunch of ‘plays’ to help you sail smarter on runs and reaches. Topics include developing a strategy, lay lines, jibing factors, how to use the apparent wind, the importance of wind pressure, playing puffs, wind shift strategy, downwind rules of thumb, reaching tips, key tactics and more! 
129 Playbook 2 - Upwind Jan/Feb 2014 This is the second issue in our current 'Playbook' series. It is all about 'Upwind Strategy and Tactics" with a bunch of ‘plays’ to help you sail smarter on windward legs. Topics include developing a strategy, strategic vs. tactical priorities, identifying and playing wind shifts, strategic rules of thumb, avoiding wind shadows, converging tactics, covering, tactics for handicap racing and more! 
128 Playbook 1 - Starting Nov/Dec 2013 This issue looks a little different than most of its predecessors. It’s all about Starting and it’s designed as a ‘Playbook’ with several dozen ‘plays’ to help you improve your starting technique. Topics include developing a strategic gameplan, assessing the starting line, knowing where the line is, figuring out where to start, approaching the start (lots about this), defending your space, after the start, key rules at the start and more. 
127 Sail Conservative Sep/Oct 2013 This issue is all about the value of sailing conservatively – when and how to do it. Topics include how to reduce your exposure to risk,making high-percentage decisions, ten ways to sail conservatively, probability or luck?, conservative approach to the rules, sailing the longer tack or jibe first, conservative boat handling, avoiding breakdowns, tactical positions to minimize risk, fool-proof boat speed, and when it's possible to be too conservative. 
126 Jib & Genoa Controls Jul/Aug 2013 This issue is all about the sail controls that are available to adjust the shape of your jib or genoa. It covers sailshape fundamentals, coding ideas, jib sheets, jib leads, headstay (luff) sag, luff tension, changing gears, creating a wider groove, telltales and an overall trim guide. 
125 Downwind Tips Mar/Apr 2013 This issue is essentially two newsletters in one. The first part describes a bunch of tips and tricks that will help you sail faster and smarter downwind. The second part contains a brand new Racing Rules IQ Test for 2013-2016. It has 7 pages and 125 questions that will help you understand all aspects of the new racing rules 
124 The 2013-2016 Rules Jan/Feb 2013 This issue explains all the significant changes in the new 2013-2016 racing rules (which went into effect on January 1). It covers the five definitions that were modified, the addition of a new Exoneration rule (rule 21), a major rewrite of rule 20 (Room to Tack at an Obstruction), some new things you should know about mark-room (rule 18), and a few changes for protests, penalties and redress – plus a bunch of smaller changes. In this issue you will find almost everything you need to race your boat confidently this year under the new rules. 
123 Big Fleets Nov/Dec 2012 This issue is full of suggestions on how to sail faster and smarter in large fleets. It is packed with tactical and strategic tips for improving your performance when you are sailing in a crowded course. It includes an in-depth look at starting, notes on upwind and downwind strategies, an interview with the J/24 Worlds runner-up (there were 100 boats!), and a comparison of sailing in large vs. small fleets. 
122 Puffs and Lulls Jul/Aug 2012 This issue explains how to sail fast and smarts when you are racing in variable wind velocity. Topics discussed include changing gears, the affect of velocity on laylines, communication, strategies in puffy conditions,choosing puffs or shifts, velocity shifts and more. 
121 Regatta Lessons May/Jun 2012 This issue is full of lessons I learned while sailing the Lightning Southern Circuit in March 2012. It is packed with tips about tactics, strategy and speed that will help you be more successful in any kind of boat. 
120 Race Committee Clues Jan/Feb 2012 This issue is all about how you can be more successful by tuning in to your race committee! Find valuable race information by watching for clues on how they manage your race. Plus get the answers to many questions about understanding race committee rules, signals and procedures. 
119 Light Air Downwind Nov/Dec 2011 This issue is all about racing downwind in Light Air! It is packed with a ton of good tips and ideas about how to sail fast and smart on runs when there is not so much wind. 
118 Laylines Sep/Oct 2011 Everything you've always wanted to know about laylines . . . and more! Factors that influence layline position; how to identify laylines; why to avoid laylines; when it's OK to overstand the mark; five familiar layline dilemmas; layline tricks and tips; laylines to the leeward mark; laylines and the rules. 
117 Decision-Making May/Jun 2011 This issue is all about how to improve your performance by making better decisions around the race course. 
116 Case of 'The Slows' Mar/Apr 2011 This entire issue is about analyzing your speed problem(s) and figuring out how to get your boat going faster again whenever your speed is off the pace. 
115 Busting Myths Jan/Feb 2011 A look at sailboat racing's conventional wisdom and why you should treat a lot of it with a skeptical mind. 
114 Mainsail Controls Nov/Dec 2010 An in-depth look at six mainsail controls that help shape your mainsail:mainsheet, traveler, vang, cunningham, backstay, outhaul; visualizing sail shape; using reference marks. 
113 One Versus One Sep/Oct 2010 This issue is filled with moves you can make to control or get ahead of the boat that happens to be next to you. It explains how to use these one-on-one moves in a fleet race to beat the other boat and follow your strategic gameplan. Topics include – Beat the boat next to you; Keep the big picture in mind; On which side do you want to be?; One-v-one moves on the starting line; Control, pass or stay ahead upwind; Attack other boats downwind; Limit on ailing above a proper course; 2 moves from the match race playbook; Beat the boat next to you with speed; Philosophy of going one versus one. 
112 Rules of Thumb May/Jun 2010 This issue has 16 pages packed full of general guidelines and principles you can use to be more consistent and successful in your racing. IA great reference and refresher for future regattas! Topics include – Using ‘rules of thumb’; Risk- a racing sailor’s curse; Focus on strategy before tactics; Sail toward the next shift; Sail the longer tack first; Avoid laylines and corners; Go for puffs in light air, shifts in breeze; Stay between other boats and the next mark; Protect the right. 
111 2020 Sailors' Protest Guide Mar/Apr 2010 Special Issue:A sailor’s protest guide- how to file a valid protest; get ready for a protest hearing; Protest hearing Bill of Rights; A typical protest hearing; Protest hearing dos and don’ts; Do you deserve redress?; Key interpretations of protest rules. Updated 2018 - This issue has been revised to conform to the 2017-2020 racing rules. 
110 Waves Jan/Feb 2010 The importance of playing waves; Waves and other boats; Key wave concepts; Go fast upwind in waves; Playing waves downwind; Taking the initiative in waves; Tacking and jibing in waves; Tactics & strategy IQ test; New changes in the rules; How waves affect your gameplan. 
109 Championship Analysis 1 Nov/Dec 2009 This issue is unique because it's all about how David and crew raced in the 2009 Thistle Nationals (which they won!). It covers their overall strategic approach, pre-regatta preparation and lessons learned during each of the seven races. A popular issue! 
108 Current Affairs Sep/Oct 2009 Principals of current; Current effects on wind; Current characteristics; Tips for sailing the course in current; Racing in a cross-current; Four myths exposed; Case study: Changing current. 
107 Mark Rounding Moves Jul/Aug 2009 Tips for sailing fast and smart around windward marks; Leeward marks; Offset marks. Other topics: Boathandling at marks; How much room can you take?; Carving a smooth arc; Rules of thumb rounding marks. 
106 Upwind Speed 3 – Tips May/Jun 2009 Sailing light or heavy; Higher or faster?; Velocity shifts; Changing gears; When to trim harder; Rules IQ Test Answers. 
105 Comeback! Jan/Feb 2009 How to catch up when you get behind; The mental game; Strategies for beats and runs; Maintain speed in the middle of the pack; Crew roles for coming back. 
104 The 2009-2012 Rules Nov/Dec 2008 This issue explained all the major changes in the new 2009-2012 rulebook but it is now out of date. 
103 Steering Sep/Oct 2008 How to steer your boat fast upwind and downwind; Steering stance and grip; Where to look while steering; Using instruments to steer; How crewmembers can help the driver; Practice steering. 
102 Downwind Tactics May/Jun 2008 Pressure is king downwind; Protecting your lead on runs; Tactical tips for asymmetricals; Rules of thumb for shifts; Attacking from behind; Beware of overstanding downwind; The 'Doppler' windshift effect; Go for current or wind? 
101 Upwind Speed 2 – Sail Trim Mar/Apr 2008 20 tips for mainsail trimmers; Mainsail shape guidelines; Interview with Greg Fisher; Main/jib trim illustrated in photos; How to be a better jib trimmer; Headsail shape guidelines; Interview with Mike Toppa; How to trim older sails. 
100 Top 100 Tips Jan/Feb 2008 One hundred tips, tricks, nuggets and rules of thumb that cover the spectrum of sailing fast and smart around the race course. Topics covered include: training, starting, strategizing, windshifts, puffs and lulls, rules of thumb, steering, sail trim, boatspeed, boathandling, upwind tactics, fleet strategy, catching up and reaching.