Avoid wretchedness and mutiny with the latest of Tom Cunliffe's Skippers Tips.

A summer’s cruise that’s planned to tightly can lead to wretchedness and mutiny. Neptune, after all, does not send his winds to serve our purposes, and if we are set on what turns out to be a long beat at the outset, it doesn’t make for happiness.

On a day sail when you know the wind will not change, it makes sense to start out upwind and come home on a reach, on the ‘nasty things first, nice things later’ principle known to every well-brought up baby.

On a longer trip, you might put to sea upwind and arrive tired, only to see the breeze clock the following week and stuff you at home time too. Begin downwind and you’ve secured at least 50% joy. You’ve probably an even chance on your homeward passage too. At worst you’ll score 50-50, but odds are in your favour. Ask any gambler.

200 skipperThis tip was taken from ‘Yachting Monthly 200 Skipper’s Tipsby Tom Cunliffe. Buy the book online now here.