There is a sequence of actions required to prepare and execute a race series and you must focus only on what’s important.
Plan logistics well in advance and make sure everything on your boat is in working order. If you have a trailer or transport vehicle make sure that all maintenance is up to date. This includes the pesky wiring and wheel bearings.
Make a check list and when it comes to getting logistics ready, lists are your best friend. Carry out a comprehensive check early giving you enough time to fix any problems.
If you’re sailing with a new team or new team members, practice will be extra important to ensure that you can work efficiently together. Practice to prevent boat handling mistakes and practice like you are racing.
Take the time to practice each manoeuvre in as many conditions as possible. Make a list of each type of mark rounding (both top and bottom turns), make a short windward-leeward course, and cycle through them so there’s no confusion come race day.
Make sure your crew is on the same page with regards to logistics and schedule and ensure everyone knows the rules. It’s each crew member’s responsibility to read the race documents (SIs, NORs, and class rules) so there are no surprises.
Before the event, point out anything that might be unique to that regatta.
Early in the Regatta
You can’t win the regatta on day one, but you can lose it. Important points to make your team aware of.
- Focus – Have a pre-race briefing on the beach or dock before the day’s first race for any last minute questions or reminders.
- Get on the water early – conduct a few warm-up manoeuvres, test boat speed against a fast boat, and review pre-start homework. Sail all or a fair part of the first leg to get settled and note the numbers and settings.
- Practice like you are racing –
- It’s always great to win – but sail for the best average and not to win races.
- Set small goals – keep the goal manageable and prevent it from overwhelming you.
- If you find yourself back in the fleet early in a race, work on picking off boats one by one rather than going for a flyer.
Reassess your goals compare them to reality and see how you stand.
Are you still in striking distance of your goal, or should you make a new one? If there’s a big gap to your ideal outcome, it may be time to take a few calculated risks to step up a spot or two.
Look for opportunities that maximize your potential gains on the fleet with the least amount of risk.
Going into the last day, understand how the scores play out and which scenarios will get you the best result.
Knowing the point totals will dictate if you can focus on the boat next to you in the standings or if you need to keep an eye out on a number of boats.
Focus on what you can control. You can’t control other boats, the wind, or the weather, but you can control how you respond, so focus 100 percent on your own boat.