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shy thunder

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At a small outlay you can improve your boat speed.

How you ask?

Go down to your local newsagent and buy a notepad.

How is this going to make you sail faster you ask?

Lets start with how many mistakes did you make during the last season, how many did you repeat over and over....

At the end of each race jot down those errors and a method of rectifying them.

Record the wind, wave, general conditions and any varations to rig changes.

Write a summary each 4 to 6 weeks of errors/ rigs or starting procedures and read these notes before each race to reinforce the improvements you are trying to make.

Watch the boats ahead of you and record their relevant performance to you as a benchmark.

What sort of things are you trying to improve on?

Which end of line to start at?

Lifts and knocks where are they?

Did you start aggressively?

Did you cover?

Was the boat performing well?

Gains and losses against same or other classes?

How many times did you loose concentration and why?

There are many things to record that can help, but by writing them down and reading them you can positively reinforce the positive side and maybe start to race smarter and start picking up speed and places.

Good sailing in the new season.



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Good stuff Dave.

A few more helpful hints;

The boat needs to be as sailable as it is possible for it to be. That is to say it needs to be in good working order so that it can be sailed well, easily. Breakages and gear failure must be reduced to a min. if not totally eliminated because DNFs cannot be tolerated if you want to win.

All the controls should work easily and be within easy reach for adjustment while sailing. Time wasted looking for the traveller line or downhaul/outhaul etc. is most often VMG lost.

A good sail is a must. And it should be as far up the mast as is possible.

A burgee or wind direction indicator is also a big help. On a cat it should be attached to the mast and on a sloop to the bridle.

A compass used properly, (not often done) is a huge advantage.

Knowing what the prevailing wind conditions are at a given venue is absolutely necessary to achieve the best results. You need to be able to predict what is going to happen during the race. Is the wind shifting? Is it a persistent shift or oscillating? Is it best on the right or left side of the course? Will it 'fill in' during the race and if so from where?

Getting on the water early provides a precious opportunity to check conditions on the course. You should allow time enough to sail at least half the work and try three or four starts which is the very minimum if you are serious about winning. It's most important to know if the port or starboard end of the start line is favoured and which side of the course (left or right) is best.

Knowing who your main competitors are and knowing exactly where they are at any given moment is paramount.

Get a good start. Be on the start line, at the favoured end of the line, on the gun. It's easiest to sail from the front and cover than to play catch-up.

And above all else, the more you sail the better you get at it.


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