Key Areas To Work On


Because Sailing is a complex sport, it’s easy to get obsessed with little things that don’t really matter. I have listed the key areas to work on that you should attend to, to ensure success.

Your Attitude

Self-confidence like most things in life is a major key to success. Listen to what others say but make sure that you map out your own plan.

You will find fellow competitors may try to psyche you out. Ignore those tactics and be confident in your own abilities and skills.

It is your effort on your boat that determines your results.

Manage Your Time

We all have interests outside sailing, but we must be careful to not let the myriad of things going on in our lives interfere with our thinking when we race.

Give yourself time to prepare for a race or regatta and don’t just attend to the details as and when you have a spare minute.

If you have a crew, divide those jobs up between the team and don’t try to shoulder the load on your own.

Use all your energy to work on the main things that will get the biggest result and then attend to the minor items when time permits.

Use a list, and set it up in order of priority. Set times that each task must be completed in order to keep yourself accountable and to keep an eye on progress towards your goal.

Equipment Preparation – Key Areas To Work On

In order to succeed, your boat and all its gear must be at least equal to that of your competitors. If you sail a dinghy, the hull finish must be smooth foils need knicks and gouges repaired and the slot gasket must be in good shape.

If you sail a keelboat the hull smoothness is also very important to reduce drag. All winches, cleats and turning blocks need to be serviced regularly.

A thorough check throughout the boat is essential and anything dodgy should be replaced immediately. Trying to get one more race or event out of a worn component could spell disaster.

At the end of the day’s sailing, repair anything that failed during the day.

Leaving it as a “to do” until the following week in many cases means it gets forgotten. This not completed task becomes a booby trap waiting to scuttle your next race.

Keep all your gear up to date and don’t dally when sails have outlived their best shape. Bite the bullet and buy new sails before the current ones are completely shot.


Predetermined settings are great for getting you in the zone but a great feel is often the last 5% you need to win.

Time on the water and time in the boat is what you need to develop a feel. That acquired feel will give you that final per cent.

Don’t wait until you are going slow to make changes to see their effect.

Even when you make a change and it slows you up, make a note. This is another lesson and helps with your list of things to do when you are looking for speed.


Calibrate your boat and make notes in your notebook or electronic device of what works in which conditions. Refer back to these notes regularly and make additions and subtractions whenever you learn something new.

Before each race, scope the day’s forecast and look back at your notes. See what worked and what didn’t in similar conditions.