Use the “helps”! Especially “Best VMG” (B key). Buy them from within the iOS or Android apps to save money; they’re more expensive if you pay in Euros. A pile of them will cost you less than a jug at the club. NB. You buy red tokens and convert them to greens which you then use to buy “helps” at the start of each race.
Think about being the tactician rather than the helmsperson. Imagine you have the perfect helm and crew and all you have to do is put the boat in the right place! Easier said than done of course …
Similarities with real racing (these should be pretty obvious!):
Try for the favoured end of the start line – you don’t have to win it, just be closer to it
Try to get a clean start – a penalty (see below) on the start line can really hurt
Stay in clear air where possible
Play the shifts – use the three windocks in the mini map in the top left of your screen to see what’s coming.
Watch for pressure (dark on the water). It can make a huge difference depending on the type of boat you’re sailing. Ie. if the boat planes, foils or is a multi hull, look for pressure. Most of the boats in VR plane downwind bar a couple.
Play the wind shifts downwind too!
Try and set yourself up for the favoured gate – not always possible
Formulate your 2nd beat upwind plan before you round the bottom marks
Watch out for the rules! Eg. At the bottom right gate looking downwind the boat on port gybe has mark room when inside the zone.
Dissimilarities with actual sailing
You don’t need to do penalty turn(s) – if you break a rule you get a 5 second penalty that will just slow the boat down. Note that during this time you can’t get another penalty, so use it to your advantage!
You’re not going to hurt anyone (ok, perhaps their feelings) or break anything when you run into someone.
There is no need to worry about boats on a different leg from you so don’t bother avoiding them.
Somewhat similar stuff
Penalties are VERY easy to draw/get so try not to get too close to other boats. (Think match racing or on water judging)
Penalties are expensive but can be taken to get what you want eg. out to the right when you’re pinned on starboard tack or even take one on a port tack start if it’s really favoured. (Ok that’s not similar to real sailing but you might try it with the plan to take a pile of sterns if it doesn’t work out!)