Of course, there are some things you can do by yourself in areas such as boat preparation, sail shape and boat handling but it is almost impossible to improve your boatspeed very much by working alone.
For you to make substantial progress on speed development you need to line up with two boats side by side. The best way to judge your boat’s upwind or downwind performance is to compare it to the performance of a similar boat sailing in the same conditions.
As part of your pre-season, pre-regatta or championship preparation it is important to include another boat in your plan.
Ideally, you and your tuning partner should put together one or more training days to carry out a systematic test of various sail-trim and rig settings through a range of different wind conditions.
An important part of the training days is the keeping of notes to refer back to and then having a de-brief to discuss what each of you found to work and not work.
Prior to the start of individual races, it is essential for you and your tuning partner to sail part or all off the first leg of the course making sure that you each have the fastest settings for the conditions.
However, if time has beaten you or there has been a quick turnaround between races even a three-minute line-up before the start of the next race will be extremely helpful.