Competitive Sailing Sailing Sailing To Win Yacht Racing

Top Tips For Starting Next Time You Race

Holding Station on the line –

  • Keep the boat flat to stop it going sideways.
  • If you end up head to wind, release the kicker/boom vang to help regain steerage. 
  • If you wish to go sideways, lift the centreboard.
  • If you want to go backwards, sit your weight forward to stop the transom from digging in. 

Accelerate From a Holding Position When the Gun Goes –

  • Practice this, ideally with two other boats of similar ability by lining up with one boatlength between boats and on a signal, accelerate up to speed.
  • It pays to set the boat up for slightly more power than you will need to go upwind so you can keep your height and not fall into the boat below.
  • Setting up for more power also assists to sail through the disturbed wind and water caused by the proximity of many boats in the starting area.

Hit The Line At Full Speed –

  • The boat will accelerate best when starting on a close reach before hardening up
  • You need to know your boats capabilities, especially in the confused seas and wind that will be present in the starting area.
  • In the pre-start, sail away from the line and then approach, taking note of the time it takes in the current conditions and number of boats in close proximity.
  • Monitor the difference caused by gusts and lulls during your timed run to the line.
  • If you are not confident in getting a good start, , place yourself where you can guarantee the best chance of starting in clear air.

Protect Your Space – 

  • Keeping a gap to leeward is vital to give you options and to give you space to accelerate into.
  • Keep your bow off the wind with the boom out and the sails flapping and this closes the gap. If someone comes in below you, they have to give you room and time to keep clear.
  • To create a space or to make it larger, work the boat up to above close hauled without sheeting the sails.
  • If you do use your space, look for another one straight away and don’t hesitate.

And finaly, remember, the favoured end may not be on the favoured side of the course so make allowances for this in your starting strategy.

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Competitive Sailing Sailing Sailing To Win Yacht Racing

Useful Tips For Championship Sailing

  • Watch your competition to get a quick understanding of your boats relative performance and once noted, do not wait to make changes.
  • When sailing to windward, bear off a degree or two and simultaneously ease your sails to increase speed.
  • Keep a constant note of your angle of heel. Too much windward helm indicates that you have too much heel and Lee helm indicates too little heel.
  • Heel is an important speed factor and this can be corrected with moving crew weight, changing sail shape or angle to the wind.
  • Always attempt to sail in clear air, disturbed wind and water has a dramatic effect on speed so always manouvre away as soon as possible.
  • In light winds and choppy water keep crew weight as low in the boat as possible.
  • Only carry out manouvres when the boat is moving as fast as possible for the given conditions.
  • When sailing downwind, the trimmer and helmsperson should communicate during every puff or lull.
  • Be the first boat to gybe in a lift.
  • Make sure you have the jib trimmed so that the telltales break evenly when you luff. On the mainsail the top telltale should be just on the edge most of the time.
  • When making changes, make one at a time and let the boat settle down. Watch for speed differences before changing something else.
  • If you notice that you are slow, take immediate action.
  • When trimming sails, remember that the correct shape is more important than the projected sail area. Sails work at peak efficiency when the draft is 35 to 50 percent aft of the luff.
  • In heavy air, carry the spinnaker pole a little forward of where you normally would and ease the sheet the same amount. This will make the boat more forgiving and less likely to broach.CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPEED

Competitive Sailing Sailing Sailing To Win Yacht Racing

How To Make Sure Your Learning Time On The Water Is Quality Time





It has been said by many who should know, that sailing success is probably 5% talent and 95% hard work.

I have set out below some approaches that will assist you in making the most out of the time that you are training and learning on the water.

Have Learning Objectives for every time you Train or Race – 

  • Work on boatspeed by making one adjustment at a time.
  • When starting, get out of your comfort zone and try different starting techniques.
  • As a helmsperson, if you spend your time with your eyes slavishly glued to the telltales, practice also getting your head out of the boat.
  • When out training, practice tacking or gybing on every shift. This will help with your understanding of shifts and sharpen up your boat-handling skills.

Build Training Events into your Season –

  • Treat some events that you attend as training sessions and get beyond your ego by trying different things. Learn from the outcomes and don’t stress if you end up in a less than stellar result.
  • Many sailors race every week but hit a brick wall because they do the same thing race after race, they put in the hours but they don’t experiment and learn from mistakes.
  • When you do an event that you treat as a “win” event, you don’t need to experiment but simply apply the new things that you learned in earlier trainning events. 

Sail against Different People At Different Venues –

  • Techniques used in different classes and by different sailors can be adapted to your preferred class. Quite often we observe and learn from the sailors in our class and at our club, but sometimes the pool of knowledge can be quite shallow.
  • If you sail a Cat, don’t restrict your learning to that type of boat, sail in monos, sportboats and keel boats and vice-versa.
  • There is something new you will learn from every experience and what you have learned you can employ in your chosen class.

Sail against the best sailors in high standard fleets – 

  • Your learning will be accelerated by observing and talking to the best sailors. 
  • You will be surpised by how willing they are to pass on their knowledge. Great sailors realise that if the fleet improves, so do they.
  • You will always learn more and improve more quickly when you have to work hard to stay with the best in your fleet.

How To Consolidate Your Learning – 

  • After each race or event, make notes regarding observations, learnings and what worked and what didn’t.
  • If you sail in a crewed boat, have a team debriefing and talk through the race, getting each team members feedback.
  • If you sail a singlehander, go through the event in your head and make notes.
  • Before every race refer to your notes to refresh and remind you of previous learnings. 

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