With Special thanks to David Dellenbaugh of “Speed and Smarts” Newsletter – Keep a good record of notes about speed.
Good boat speed is about consistency as much as anything else.
Of course, almost any sailor would welcome a flash of super speed, even if it’s short-lived. But that’s not what your goal should be.
If you really want to improve your speed (and therefore your race results) in the long run, you must have a systematic approach to learning everything about making your boat go fast.
In Grand Prix auto racing, does each team’s head mechanic keep a history of engine settings for every car? Of course! They’d be foolish to begin a race without a very good record of what has (and hasn’t) worked in the past.
The same is true for sailboat racing, another technical sport where speed is super important.
How many sailors keep a record of the tuning set-up and sail trim settings that they have found to be fastest over a wide range of wind conditions? A lot of top competitors have this, but I’m guessing many others do not.
There are several ways to keep track of accumulating speed information. My preference in the past has been a handwritten notebook but now it’s usually easier to keep all speed notes in some sort of electronic notebook.
This could be a text or Word file on a phone or tablet, or a document file online that all crewmembers can access, contribute to and study.
The important thing is simply having a system where it’s very easy to record, organize, add to and review your speed notes.