Whether it be a single race or a regatta, you need to develop a race day routine if you want to be successful. This is not only for those in Fantasy land at the back of the boat but everyone onboard needs to be included. This ensures that every crew member understands their position, duties and what is expected of them whilst they are racing.
There are 4 main phases of the race day routine.
- Review the starting schedule.
- List your goals for the days event or for each day of the regatta.
- Make sure that you have the correct number of crew and maximum crew weight to match your rating certificate,
- Have a list of pre-race jobs and who is assigned to them such as sails, rig tune, gear, navigation and weather to list a few.
- Have a schedule and stick to it. This builds morale, enhances the leaders integrity and respect.
- Set the boat up for days race prior to leaving the dock.
2. After Leaving the Dock – Develop A Race Day Routine
- When heading out to the course have a crew meeting and review goals which gets everyone’s head in the game.
- Having a team uniform is great to build teamwork and also shows professionalism.
- Ask for and listen to and if necessary act on crew comments and even consider changing positions if the team believe it is beneficial.
- Go over safety procedures and refresh the team on where equipment is stowed and who is the go to person in different scenarios. eg Man over board.
- Practice upwind and downwind maneuvers for at least 30 minutes.
- After the practice and at least 10 minutes prior to your starting sequence take time to rest, stretch and chat amongst the crew for final comments related to the race.
3. During The Race
- Stick to the game plan.
- Each team member needs to be conscious of where they are positioned with regard to balance of the boat. Should they be inboard, outboard, fore or aft.
- Make sure they are low and not blocking anyone’s view.
- Keep chatter to a minimum and let one person speak at a time.
- On a boat with a very large crew, appoint a spokesperson for each major position. Only they should communicate with the afterguard.
- Contain excitement when in front or behind, yelling on the boat only serves to unnerve everyone.
- Play the averages and be consistent as that is what wins races, not taking a flier or making a “go for gold” move.
- Continually update observations on where your competitors are, how you are going against them and changes in the weather and sea conditions.
4. After The Race
- Pack the boat up and stow all gear and sails.
- Make a list of any maintenance issues that have arisen during the race and where time permits attend to as many jobs as possible.
- Have a crew de-brief and make notes about what has been learned.
- Before leaving the boat, let everyone know when the next race is and find out who is available.
- As a team, head to the clubhouse and catch up with fellow competitors. Its amazing how much you can learn from talking with them.