You are unlikely to win every race you enter but you can learn something new every time you go out on the water. For the champions of our sport, learning is one of the most rewarding aspects of competition.
- Race as many different boats and classes as possible. Different boats react differently concerning changes in sail trim, boat handling, and reaction to waves. Sailing in a large variety of boats will deepen your understanding of what controls do, steering outcomes, and crew requirements.
- Watch Races. You will learn plenty from watching races from a coach boat or reviewing videos of sailing events. Sometimes you will learn more than you would have learned if you were actually competing.
- Champions are happy to share their knowledge so don’t be too shy to ask questions in the boat park after a race or in the bar.
- Two boat training with predetermined exercises and outcomes is a great way to learn quickly about what you need to do to get as fast as possible. This is especially useful in one-design boats but can also work with two different types of boats with known performance parameters.
- There are plenty of seminars, webinars, and Zoom meetings that you can attend and many have interactive Q&A sessions where you can ask for further clarification of concepts that you may not have fully grasped.
- Discuss a race from start to finish with your crew or even reconstruct it in your head and note down details and learnings for future reference.
- Keep a journal that you enter after each race or regatta. Things to record include the boat set up, conditions at the venue including wind speed, sea state, current, size of the fleet, and the sails you used. Record other factors relevant that will help you analyze and remember what worked and what didn’t.
- One of the easiest ways to get faster in your chosen class is to copy the top performers in your fleet. Watch how they prepare, how they set their boat up, when they leave the beach and what they do before the start.
- Sail with the best sailors from your fleet on their boats and occasionally get them to sail on your boat with you. Any feedback they give you about your boat’s setup will be invaluable.
- As part of your journal, keep photos of great ideas and layouts on other boats. Keep a video library to study sail trim and sailing techniques. This does not need to be restricted to your class and a lot can be learned from other types of boats.
- Save articles from magazines and read them again and again, join relevant sailing websites and forums and be proactive in commenting and asking questions.
- Get involved in your club learn to sail program and share your knowledge. It is often said that “you don’t really know something until you can explain it to someone else”
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