To sail fast in waves and chop you need speed which means powered-up sails and footing off in the worst bits. As you hit each wave it slows you down and sailing well in waves requires determination, concentration and the correct technique. When sailing in chop, acceleration mode is the only mode and speed breeds speed. The faster you go the...
The best way to get started and build your initial skills is to get tuition either at the club level or with a course provided by your National sailing body. If your initial sailing was not in a club environment, joining a club is one of the most important steps to move your skills forward and it's through a club...
  MYTHS REGARDING CURRENT ACROSS THE COURSE MYTH - Your apparent wind will be different on each tack. Since you sail faster over the bottom on the down current tack, you’ll feel more wind on that tack and this will affect sail trim and speed. TRUTH - The apparent wind on both tacks is affected equally by the current, so you will feel...
Shifting gears on your boat requires knowledge of your boat, the conditions, and plenty of practice. Gear changing is what separates those with adequate boat-speed from those who always seem to be higher and faster. Many in your fleet start a race with a similar setup using a tuning guide or by following class accepted principles but the faster boats...
                          When racing around a set or fixed marks course, a competitive sailor uses the compass to plan and then implement their race strategy. If you are sailing in a crewed boat, one crew member should be responsible to watch the compass to establish what the wind is doing and...
All the good work of the upwind leg can be undone at the leeward mark. Leeward mark rounding in a competitive one-design fleet can be a daunting experience and when a mix of boats are arriving at different speeds and angles it can be even tougher to work out who’s going to get there and when. Learning to read situations as...
The concept of going fast-forward in a lift, or pinching in a header, has been around forever. When to Sail Low and Fast Going fast-forward or making a bearing gain is a great weapon to have in your tactical arsenal, bearing gain is when making trees on your competition.  To gain bearing you need two things: A boat that is capable of...
In sailboat racing, change is continuous, you have puffs, lulls, lifts, headers, bad air, waves, tacks and so on. It's rare that you can set the boat up and sail for too long without changing something, to go fast you must constantly adjust the trim of your boat and sails. We actually use many different settings to cover the full...
  Although light air sailing is far from most sailors' favourite conditions, it does provide the greatest number of opportunities to make the biggest gains. A well-sailed boat can develop a great speed advantage and at times it can go literally twice as fast as its competitors – so it is not unusual to see the largest race-winning leads developed in...
You have to train yourself to use your eyes, and this takes practice – Buddy Melges. "Get your head out of the boat" is pretty much a universal catch cry of just about any coach who is tasked with helping you to improve your racing results. This is a skill that must be practised but if you look around the best...

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