Strategy and Tactics – They are Both Important

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strategy is having a plan for how you would like to sail a race if there were no other boats on the course and Tactics is being able to adapt quickly to changing situations, that is, reacting to the boats around you.

A lot of strategy can be done before you leave the beach such as taking note of local topography and how it will affect the wind as well as looking at charts and tide tables that tell you about potential currents.

Another part of planning your strategy can be assembled by talking with locals or fellow competitors who have sailed at the venue before.

Once on the water, work out what type of day it is, is it gusty and shifty, how large are the shifts and how fast are they?

In your head, make some rules for the race but avoid making too many as a lot of rules to think about will take your mind away from keeping the boat fast and concentrating on the many other aspects of getting to the next mark the quickest way possible.

Be prepared to adjust or jettison rules if conditions change or the rules do not appear to be working.

From a Tactical point of view, it is very much about weighing up the risk/reward for each action on the racecourse and try to minimise the risks by sailing conservatively.

Different weather conditions and fleet positions will require different tactics, try to keep things as simple as possible and set small goals. As an example, in shifty conditions, always be on the lifted tack even if it means being in dirty air for a short period of time.

In stable wind make sure you have clear wind and it may even mean sailing on a small header briefly to clear your lane.

Keep your Tactics simple, it is easy to overcomplicate this area of sailing.

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