Excerpt from “Speed and Smarts” Newsletter issue 131 -               David Dellenbaugh Almost every sailor realizes the importance of making a strategic plan for the first leg before they start the race but how many of those sailors also develop a strategy for every other leg in the race? It’s tough to make a game plan...
  By Malcolm Page, Australia’s most successful Olympic sailor People often ask me what makes a winning sailor. I mostly get the impression that they are after some special Jedi “mind trick” that mentally makes someone a champion. With the focus these days on sports psychology, people often forget that before you worry about your mind, you first need to worry...
Sailing fitness is often overlooked but it is one of the weapons that we can achieve with minimum cost and a little effort. A new sail or a new piece of gear has a finite life but fitness is something that has benefits both on and off the boat forever as long as you have a regime to maintain...
In light air - steer to a higher luff telltale which will find you sailing a little lower, one of the biggest mistakes many helmsmen make in light airs is to pinch. It is important for the trimmer to use all the telltales both up the luff and on the leech to get the whole sail working efficiently. In heavier...
The best way to get started and build your initial skills is to get tuition either at 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 network...
  Often too much significance is attributed to sailing tactics and tactics only become the most important factor if you are sailing at a very high level.  For most of us, it’s better to invest in training time, concentrating on sailing technique and boat tuning. As a word of caution though, you can't manage without tactics altogether. I have jotted down...
Having the right crew on your boat is as important as the sails and equipment and contributes completely to the fun you have both on the boat racing and afterwards off the boat socialising. As a skipper and leader on your boat, an enormous amount of time should be spent putting your race crew together. With the right mix of...
Upwind sail power comes from 3 sources: The angle of attack. Depth in the sail (draft) Twist. When trimming our sails we want to get our boat to full power and we must adjust for the sailing conditions by altering the three power sources listed above. Sails are built so that they can perform in a variety of conditions but must be fine-tuned by...
In the last few minutes before the gun goes there is plenty happening. You must be observant of what is going on up the course as well as finding a spot on the line to accommodate you and your plan. Keep an eye on boats that may have already started on your course, but if you are the only fleet...
Windward mark layline mistakes, unfortunately, are very common and can be extremely costly. One of the most common things that sailors get wrong is getting to the layline too early. If you get to the layline too early, you can no longer play the shifts and you also lose tactical options. More often than not it is really hard to judge laylines...

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