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An Introduction to Racing – Part 3 – Mark’s Top Tips.

After the last 2 weeks blogs on the rules and race formats, this week some top tips and hints for racing.

  1. The start is the hardest part. My advice, reach up and down the line about 10 boat lengths down from the line. Get some advice before you go on the water about which end of the line to start from another sailor. You want to aim to start on a starboard tack. Then look for a gap and tack onto port after the faster boats have got ahead of you, remembering to keep clear of any boats still on starboard tack. For some advanced tips, read this article. In the picture below, boat 1 is in the best position. Boat 2 is over the line and will have to go round and start again.sailing-fig-1
  2. The start is most important. Too many novices keep out of the way are at the back of the fleet from the start. Try to go over the line within 30 seconds of the start.
  3. Aim to approach the first mark on a starboard tack. Other boats have no rights to come in from the other direction.
  4. Don’t be put off by all the rules, the most important one is that if a collision is imminent both boats have to keep clear regardless who is in the wrong or right. I’d like to think we are a friendly club that encourages novices to race, so if you feel daunted let me know. Abit of healthy shouting at a mark is normal, don’t be upset!
  5. Get a buddy. The best way to improve is to talk things through with a more experienced sailor. So we can fix you up with a buddy to coach and encourage you and answer all your questions.

Top Tip:  Have a go – your sailing skills will develop far faster by sailing a specific course rather than just cruising around, even if you come last in every race for the first few times. Even not coming last is a major first milestone. We are having regular novice sessions on Jybaz Saturdays with a rescue boat and experienced sailors there to help you. We will also be focusing on encouraging novice sailors during June and July when the both main sections of the club will be sailing together. We can arrange specific practices such as starting and other things.

For more tips, read my next blog – How not to come last!