Cowes Week navigation tips part 3

RYA training guru Jim Saltonstall looks at the winds and tides for the western Solent
Wind Direction 340-020 degrees: When the wind comes from this northern sector, it's blowing over relatively low land with lots of trees. As you would expect, the wind is fairly shifty, more so as you get closer to the shore. As with any offshore wind, the further you get away from the land, the less frequent the shifts become and the range or arc of shift narrows - in this case to about 10 degrees. The closer you get to the land, the more frequent they become and over a wider arc - up to 30 degrees or more in the light winds. It's important to know the high and low headings on the compass. If the windward mark is within half a mile of the shore, look for lifts on port tack as you approach the land, because of the wind shift from land to water - always to the right as it blows offshore in the northern hemisphere. 020-090 degrees: The mainland shore is typically favoured in this sector, with more breeze. On the beat go left for the wind, with more pressure on the port side of the course, as well as the headers on starboard tack as you sail that way. There are possible lifts on port tack, especially if you are within half a mile of the mainland shoreline - which is the convergent shore. 090-180 degrees: The wind is now blowing over the Isle of Wight and will be shifty as a result. It likes to line up with the various valleys that open onto the island shore of the western Solent. A look at the Ordnance Survey map will help you figure out where these are in relation to your race course. It will also blow stronger down these valleys, than where there is high