When you find yourself in the middle of the pack during a race, trying to pass boats, you're sailing in an offensive mode. A good way to claw through the pack is to sail in a mode where your goal is to position yourself to pass boats. When trying to pass boats upwind from behind, you must first realize that there are no clean lanes in the pack, and other boats will try to keep you behind them. But you still need to find the best lane toward the next shift or the favored side of the course. Don't waste time sailing the wrong tack for a long time looking for a clean lane. Settle on a lane that keeps you in the game. Then look to consolidate when you have made gains. Pass groups of boats early in the race and then pick off individual boats as you approach the finish, avoiding the one-on-one battles. When trying to pass boats, take only educated gambles. If you sail the shifts and lanes smarter than the other boats, you'll pass them. When sailing in a defensive mode within a race, you're sailing not to lose places. When at the front of the fleet during a race, or at any time in a series, you're trying to maintain a point spread with an opponent by not adding additional points to your score. In college sailing there's an expression, "Low average wins." Your goal is to minimize your points in all the races sailed and keep your score lower than the entire fleet. That's why it's important to race against the fleet, while avoiding tight covers, tacking duals and one-on-one battles, which only drag you deeper into the fleet and worsen your average score. There's another expression in college sailing, "Keep your third." You need to understand that sometimes you go after boats, and other times you don't. When in third, why would you risk taking a gamble to pass two boats if it possibly meant losing more than two points?