Fitness Equals Sailing Results


I have copied below excerpts of an interview with Krystal Weir on how Fitness Equals Sailing Results.

Krystal is a qualified Physiotherapist and Exercise scientist and has sailed at the highest level in many different classes from sailboards to catamarans. Krystal has also represented Australia in the Olympics twice. Once in the Yngling class and once in the Laser Radial.

Currently, she runs her Physiotherapy business out of the Royal Brighton Yacht Club on Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne Australia. Krystal works with sailors helping them improve their sailing fitness and strength.

Krystal gives us an insight into the importance of using a professional for your sailing fitness and care of your body.


Brett: In speaking with many successful sailors, they insist fitness is one of their key weapons. What do you say to that?

Krystal: 100%, fitness is key.

There are a few key things in sailing that you need to make sure you’ve got covered so that when you go out on the racecourse you can actually play the game.

That’s making sure that your boat preparation is spot on, that you’ve got the right gear like sails and equipment, and the speed work. Making sure you’ve got good boat handling and then making sure you’ve got good fitness.

I think a lot of people do the first three points of tactics they’ve got rules, they’ve got strategy, they’ve got great boat preparation.

And then when it comes down to it, they just can’t get the kite up quickly or winch the brace around.

They can’t actually physically do it, or get out trapeze quickly, or hiking for a whole entire beat, so they’ll fall back by half a boat length on every single leg and then that just sucks them back into the pack.

Fitness is quite an easy way to be in front of the fleet.

At an Olympic level, everybody has a ridiculously high level of fitness, but as you go down the levels through world, national, state, and club levels, the fitness sort of drops off a bit. So it means you can win a club championship just because you’re fitter.


Brett: In the fitness programs you put together, what parts of the sailor’s body do you concentrate on and what should their priorities be? Obviously, there are a lot of parts to a body, where should you start if you’re starting from point zero?

Krystal: Sailing, depending on what you do on the boat, it might be hiking, for example, is quad dominant.

You end up with really tight hip flexors and then it’s more of a pulling action with your arms, so your gym work should actually be the opposite of that.

If you’re doing lots of pulling actions with your arms like pulling ropes, for example, you need to do the reverse which is a push, and it’s the same with your quads.

It’s good to develop your quads through cycling but I think a lot of people get into trouble because they don’t work on their hamstrings or their glutes or their calves, the back part of their body.

So, make sure that you’re actually using your gym work to balance you up so that you’ve got synergy between the front and back of your body so you’re able to be injury-free.

It actually means that you’re stronger through the key muscle groups that you need to do the actual technique.


Brett: How many days a week should a sailor participate in exercising away from the boat?

Krystal: It depends on how much you’re sailing because a lot of your fitness can actually be done on the water as well.

Hiking is a good example, you could do interval training or interval max efforts or 70% efforts. You hike for a minute, or hike for 30 seconds max and then have 15 seconds off, and repeat that to improve your hiking technique.

The same with trapezing, setting your shoulders back, and pushing through your toes rather than slumping into the harness for long training sessions can be detrimental to your overall speed if you want to work on technique and improve your sailing.

Back to your question about how many times a week should you sail, it depends. I recommend if you’re not sailing full-time, that doing other sports, its fun and social.

I play hockey for example as another sport, or you go cycling is another nice way. People like to do standup paddle boarding or surf or something like that just to cross-train.

The younger you are the more I encourage that because there are basic skills that adolescents need to be able to lunge properly, to jump, to land, and to squat.

There’s a whole lot of these basic motor skills that they need to develop.

Sailing is a sport where you can start young but it doesn’t need to be specific early.

Sailing is a sport where I think multiple sports at a young age is a good idea.

I recommend at least two times a week in the gym and then three times a week cardio and then your sailing.