I almost never start on port tack. That was a fun thing to do in junior sailing, but it rarely works in the real world. I set up on port tack coming in from the left of the line. My options stay open as to whether I can tack under the first guy, or find another spot. If there were no current against us, then I would not come in from port like that.
Exactly. And if you tack then, you end up doing a 180 degree turn in dead air.
I also find in Barrington in a light Westerly that the puffs don't move so fast. So if you do come into breeze with a header, you have to dig in a little. If you tack right away, you might miss the meat of the puff. This is a difficult thing, especially when the tendency is to lead other back to the middle. You might actuall have to tack on another's hip to make sure that you are in the breeze.