Advice from Paul Goodison

The most important thing for downwind boat speed is pressure the more wind we have and the longer we can stay in it, the faster the boat will go. To spend the most time in the pressure it is important to sail in the direction that the pressure is travelling, and then link up the next area of pressure without spending too much time in the lighter spot. Waves are also critical to increase boat speed. Try and keep the boat travelling down the front of waves as much as possible, and spend as little...

Apparent Wind Sailing

High-speed downwind sailing involves large amounts of apparent wind. This is arguably a reach, as the faster you go the more wind comes from the front, so you need to sheet in or bear away (which takes you closer to the leeward mark). Remember, if you are sailing by the lee you would sheet out or head up (which would also take you closer to the leeward mark). However, to get the boat to go fast you need to head up more, or bear away more and sail by the lee (harder in boats with unstayed rigs)....

How Prepared is Your Boat

You need a fast and well-prepared boat in order to win You should care for and maintain your boat there is rarely an excuse for gear failure. Examine the class rules carefully and make sure you take advantage of any possible improvements you can make (reducing weight, making control systems easy to operate) but stay in class You certainly do not want a disqualification for being out of class. In a nutshell you need to be racing with the lightest, stiffest and smoothest hull the best spars,...

Preparation

How Prepared are You Peaking at the Correct Time Checklists It is often said that life is about being in the right place at the right time, and this is certainly true when it comes to sail boat racing For the key regatta of the year everything needs to be in top shape - and that includes you. The first step is to see where you are and where you want to be, and then look at how you can bridge the gap in the most efficient way Some elements of preparation are easy to measure. Are all the sails...

The Importance of Correct Attitude

In order to win, you not only need to be physically fit but mentally fit. There is no point preparing your body to win if you do not prepare your mind At the top level of sailing, championships are won and lost on mental skills more than physical skills. Mental fitness can take as long, if not longer, to achieve than physical fitness. Quite simply - you must have a positive attitude at all times. Think of it this way positive thinking brings positive results (and negative thinking brings...

Advice from Simon Hiscocks

Due to the normal course configurations, asymmetric skiffs rarely reach. It could be argued that skiffs always reach downwind, which is a reasonable assumption. Let us consider what is happening between a boat trying to sail low and one that is trying to sail high to lay a mark (i.e. a proper reach and an apparent wind downwind run). Wind is wind, so whether it is true wind or apparent wind it still has the same effect of an air mass hitting a boat's rig at a given wind speed. Therefore, if a...

Introduction

The whole purpose of this book is to try and improve the average finishing position of the reader, whether the goal is to win at club, open, national or international level. To achieve this you need to work on your weakest areas. It may be fun to practise what you are good at, and race in your favourite conditions, but the real improvement to your overall sailing skills is to be had by working on what you are bad at. This can expand your skill base and means you have all the tools in the...

Boat Handling

Top and Bottom Turns Tacks and Gybes Changing Gear Advice from Paul Goodison Any boat will probably be sailing fastest when using minimal corrective steerage (that is, when the rudder is not acting as a brake). Even in classes like the Laser where you do lots of turns downwind, if you can do this with minimal rudder movement (and a nice flat boat when sailing in a straight line) you will be quick. (If the boat is too heeled you end up using the rudder just to keep it in a straight line.) Even...

Advice from Joe Glanfield

If you are thinking about doing a proper campaign to a major national or world title, you need to do your finances as though you are running a small business. Have a financial plan and prioritise the things you really need. It is very easy to waste money just because you have it there. I have seen people get some money to travel who then attend every event in a hectic mess, when they would actually be far better settling and focusing on fewer events. Likewise people can waste money on equipment...

Downwind Tactics

Downwind, your tactics as the lead boat are usually heavily dictated by the boat behind you. Often it is simpler to try and keep your air clean and sail as fast as you can Where possible, encourage those boats around you to work with you to get away 7.3a When rounding marks avoid sailing through the fleet. 7.3a When rounding marks avoid sailing through the fleet. from the fleet. Try and avoid getting caught in silly luffing battles as you may end up sailing back to the windward mark , unless...