In investing, new technology such as smart-phones can kill off existing industries, or risk-taking in the banking sector can lead to a financial crisis. We often talk of building "all weather" portfolios for our clients to ensure that our clients achieve their financial goals no matter what craziness occurs in markets.
Investing and sailboat racing have much in common. We have strategy, skills and experience, but when unexpected things happen, we just have to work our way through. In sailing, the wind direction could shift dramatically or a key piece of equipment may break. Over a series of races, superior teams will prevail over less experienced sailors.
"Match racing is like chess. Good skippers need to think two, sometimes three, steps ahead, or they will find themselves hopelessly outmaneuvered by a cagey competitor."
In match racing, two identically built and equipped boats go head to head in a race or set of races to decide which boat has the better crew competing on board.
During this year's US Match Racing Championships, 10 teams will compete in round robin series on Friday. The top 8 teams will advance on Saturday in bracket format paired as 1 v 8, 2, v 7 etc. The first boat from each pair scoring three points (wins) will advance to semi-finals with 1 v 4 and 2 v 3. The winners of those pairs will compete for 1st and 2nd, while the losers will compete for 3rd and 4th.
The Match Racing course is a simple setup of windward-leeward (upwind-downwind) legs, each about 1/4 mile long.
Two of the legs are upwind, or sailing against the wind, and the other two legs are downwind, or sailing with the wind. For the second leg, competitors chose one of two rounding marks "gates." Both start and finish are between the Race Committe boat and a "pin."
Boats enter the starting area from opposite sides of the starting line with 4 minutes remaining in a 5 minute starting sequence. Each boat jockeys for best placement for the start as the sequence comes to an end, while simultaneously trying to disadvantage their opponent, possibly even obtaining a penalty against their competitor.
A penalty can be discharged by that boat by completing a 360 degree circle. Boats are not required to discharge penalties immediately. Indeed, the penalized boat may get an offsetting penalty against the competitor, at which point the 360 turn is no longer required.
In the first leg the boats tack against the wind in order to get to the windward mark the fastest. The boats round the windward (upwind) mark to the starboard or the right side of the boat and set spinnakers for the downwind leg.
The second leg ends at a gate - two marks close to the initial starting line. Each boat passes between the marks and turns upwind left or right depending on the crew's evaluation of which side of the course has better wind.
The third leg is a repeat of the first leg, and the 4th is a repeat of the second, except that the boats cross the starting line for the finish.