Boat Preparation – To win you must be the best prepared, and a lack of attention in this area can mean gear or boat breakages and to be able to win you must be able to finish.
Beyond that, you must have competitive equipment, efficient systems and excellent hull finish. Carry spares for things that can be repaired on the course along with tools that are needed to effect those repairs.
Financing an Event – Look at your season and pick out the events that you would like to do. Work out whether you can attend each one and compete at the top level required with the finances you have available.
If you find that you are having to make the money stretch by scrimping on accomodation, food and equipment options, consider doing fewer events but dedicating more resources to those events.
You will find your stress levels will be reduced and the fun levels and your event success will greatly increase.
Mental Stamina – Are you able to keep going when things get really tough or do you let frustration get the better of you? Sleep and diet are not only important for your physical well being but they are important for your mental state as well.
When you train, work as hard as you would if you were racing and eat and hydrate the same way as well. Many of us practice specific things but don’t push ourselves as hard as we would if we were racing.
If your class does 3 x 45 minutes races each day, some of your training sessions should be for the same amount of time, that way you build the necessary mental stamina to carry forward to race day.
Concentration – In sailing, because there are so many variables, you are not able to concentrate on every variable all the time.
The best sailors pick the variables that need the most attention given the current course and conditions and disregard the ones that won’t make much difference.
There are always plenty of distractions at your club, a regatta or around the boat park, try to concentrate on the days racing by thinking about the weather, the course and what you need to do to succeed.
Many top sailors I have spoken to use headphones prior to heading out on the water and play music suitable for the day to set the mood and block out unwanted distractions.
Keep a sailing Log – All of us have plenty going on outside sailing so trying to remember settings that worked in particular conditions. This becomes especially tricky when you may not encounter those exact conditions again for many weeks or even months.
The act of writing things down helps your memory. Keeping a sailing diary enables you to refer to it to when you encounter the same conditions again.
Body Weight – Many boats and classes we sail have an upper crew weight limit or ideal weight for best performance and many competitors get involved in yo-yo dieting to meet those weight requirements.
Changes in weight need to be gradual and balanced otherwise it can affect your ability to perform at your peak.
An ideal situation in a class that has a particular weight range to be competitive is to be somewhere in the middle but of course this is dictated to a large extent by our physical size.
When choosing a class of boat to sail, it makes sense for sailors to select a boat matched to their natural size.
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