There is no luck, good or bad, involved in winning races.
Consistency is the key:
Races are won by losers’ mistakes, not necessarily by winners’ superb sailing.
- So minimize mistakes.
- Be patient.
- Above all, do not gamble...
- Play the odds.
Must develop a set game plan:
Rules we would stick to whether behind or ahead.
- Rules that we stick to in heavy or light winds, flat or choppy water.
- The plan is to beat the competitors, not the clock (at least in one design racing).
Must have consistent boat speed to maintain the set game plan:
- 80% of good boat speed comes from good teamwork.
- Good teamwork comes from practice.
- Must be able to change gears smoothly.
- Automatic sailing.
- Sails—must be competitive and must have the knowledge on how to use them.
- Hull, board, rudder - smooth, stiff, and free of dings.
- Rigging - Don’t skimp here! Boat must be able to be adjusted easily and while hiked out (important).
Don't try to outguess Mother Nature:
- Be ready for any condition.
- Try not to slant your program too much for any one condition.
Must have a working knowledge of the rules:
- Don’t want to be a sea lawyer.
- But, don’t’ want to be taken advantage of.
30 minutes before the start:
- Get to the start area not just the racing area.
- Sail upwind getting used to the breeze—up or down? Which side?
- Is there a patter to the shifts?
- Find a buddy to check out the wind on the opposite side of the course.
- Are there marks set? Is the course square to the wind?
- Work on your compass headings (if applicable)
- Build your game plan with your crew.
- But, do not let what you think you have learned dictate you entire game plan.
- Be flexible!
10 minutes before the start:
- Check the line to determine the favored end.
- Luffing main
- Head to wind
- Check your boat over for last minute breakdowns
- Is your trim and tuning OK?
- Pick up line sights to help with mid-line sag.
3 minutes before the start:
- Again, check the line.
- Again, check your compass headings:
- Has the wind shifted?
- Persistent or oscillating ?
Last minute before the start:
- Check and choose the favored end of the line:
- Do not commit—just be close!
- Start to set up your approach:
- Port tack,
- Starboard luffing,
- Your approach should be the same for every start - whether windward end, leeward end or middle favored line.
- Where do you want to be?
- Close to weather boat
- As far away from leeward boat as possible
- Park the boat unless
- You need to bear off to discourage those who want to “intrude”
- Use your crew to help you read other boats moves, take information and react…this is important!
- Watch for mid-line sag:
- Do not be early!