I recently re-read the following article by the late and great Paul Elvstrom regarding Sailing Psychology and have reproduced it here because I believe that if we can internalise these points we will go a long way to overcoming our feelings of self-doubt and self-belief on the race track.

You must not believe that a fellow competitor is better than you. If he is currently sailing a little faster than you, you have to say to yourself that this is just happening at this moment, soon it will be my turn to be faster.”


“In a regatta it is important to sail in the practice races and to show your worth and always arrive at a regatta a number of days before the event, sail around the course and tune your boat. This will not go unnoticed by your adversaries.”

“When lining up against practice partners or other competitors sail your hardest. You can bet that your fellow competitors may get a complex about you.”

“You must always keep your spirits up and say you are hurting after a long beat. Just remember that so are your fellow competitors.”

“If you are behind in the fleet and you are tired and hurting, remember so are the guys in front of you.”

Recover From A Bad Start

“When you get a bad start you must still go the way that is the fastest. You should not get flustered and start taking chances or going off on a flyer. Never do the opposite of what the leading boats are doing in the hope that you may pick up a little advantage.”

“If you are sure the leading boats are going the right way then all you have to do is follow them. If you think they are going the wrong way, of course, you shouldn’t follow them.”

“It is really important to recognise the difference between good and bad luck and also skill and good fortune.”

“It is important that when you have a bit of good luck, recognise it for what it is because in the next race or leg you may not concentrate or think it through as thoroughly.”

“Don’t keep clear of the better sailors on a run for fear of interfering with them, compete hard and sail your own race taking all factors into account.”