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Competitive Sailing Sailing Sailing To Win Yacht Racing

Train Yourself To Use Your Eyes When Sailing

Using your eyes effectively whilst racing takes plenty of discipline and practice.

First, you need to ascertian what it is that you are looking for, is it a mark, a puff coming towards you and does that puff look like it is a lift or header.

It may just be simply a case of working out where you will be situated when you meet competitors coming together on opposite tacks. 

Whichever the case may be, you must learn how to visualise ways you can turn what you see into a offensive or defensive manouvre.

If you are back in the fleet, you need to analyse how you can work your way through the boats ahead.

Think about what staying on the lifted tack may do and what that may mean as you approach a mark, a small gain here may put you in a world of pain as boats come together further up the track.

Might the better tactic be to take a short dig on a knock but which will mean that you are in a better position approaching the mark compared to the boats you are racing.

The best way to train your eyes is to spend more time on the water and there is no substitute to having been in that situation before and to have the experience to interpret it and respond accordingly.

 A good pair of Sunglasses are essential because they heighten the contrast made by the ripples on the water of an approaching puff and they help you also see the direction that the puff is moving.

Get used to looking for all things that are coming at you no matter whether they are puffs, waves or other boats.

Be actively looking ahead and around the course and avoid simply staring at the bow as it goes through the water or the sails and telltales.

The simple message is keep your eyes out of the boat and be continually evaluating the ever changing chess board of wind, waves and boats on your racetrack.

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By Brett Bowden

Brett Bowden is an author, entrepreneur, business broker, and yachtsman. Brett is a competitive yachtsman and has competed in many races and championships around the world and still owns several boats.
Brett Bowden is the author of “Sailing To Win” and lives in Victoria, Australia.

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