Update: Following a Regional Race Officers' seminar run by the RYA in Lymington in 2010, current best practice is for a Race Officer to set the start line in two stages.
The first set is at right angles to the wind (or at 85 degrees to give a little starting out port-end bias).
The second, and more important, set is to observe what the competitors do, and make the necessary adjustment. If they bunch at the pin, drop the pin; if they bunch at the starboard end, raise the pin; and know that the line is set just fine when there is no bunching. That's it. Oh -- raise or lower the pin by as much as it takes to get the boats spread out along the line, without getting worried at all about the amount of movement you have to make in the line...
Another point worth making here is that current ISAF and RYA best practice is to make sure that the line length is equal to 130% or 150% of the total lengths of the boats expected at the start. Not less...
©2011 Lester Gilbert