We are coming to the time of the year when many classes and clubs have their State, National and World Championships. Quite often travel to events both locally and Internationally adds a layer of difficulty and preparing a packing list is an important part of being ready to race.
In every case, preparation is one of the key ingredients to your chances of a great result. Champions succeed because of the preparation made well ahead of time.
Selecting and training with the right people as crewmates is perhaps the single most important factor as part of your lead up preparation. They must bring skills that you may not possess, be ferocious competitors plus have tactical and boat handling skills.
For those with the luxury of time before an event, there is no substitute for time on the water, this improves physical fitness and gives you a psychological edge based on being at one with each other and the boat.
There is nothing worse than turning up at an event feeling as though you are “underdone” and it would have been better to have trained as hard as the teams that you will be competing against. In many cases, some competitors are afraid of the competition because of their preparation and see their potential results being poor accordingly, as is often said, “where you aim is where you end up”
In one-design racing, you will be pushing your boat to its limits so all the checks and tests you do with your gear prior to turning up to an event give you the confidence to reef on the extra inch of side stay tension or other control knowing that everything can take the loads.
I have seen many teams turn up at an important event only to spend the first couple of days working on their boats whilst the better-prepared teams are out sailing, getting used to the local conditions, lining up against rivals, tweaking their boat and generally getting their head in the game so that when the first gun fires they are as good as they can be.
Fitness counts for more than most sailors realise, a current world champion once told me that his fitness was his main “secret weapon”. He said that he would be hiking just as hard on the last windward work as he was on the first, he also went on to say that his less fit rivals would be sitting up, no longer able to swing hard, the result of this was that he would be faster.
Great preparation guarantees you will be more relaxed, ensures a good result and as a bonus makes the regatta fun.