“Winning doesn’t always mean being first. Winning means you’re doing better than you’ve ever done before.” — Bonnie Blair
What you need to know
The goal is not to win but to execute your plan
You don't have to win a race to win the series
The start is 80% of the race
Sail your own race and avoid large groups of boats
Stay out of trouble
Penalty turn immediately for every infringement
Have fun and enjoy the racing
I love the quote at the top of this page. Only one person can be the winner so what a goal to have, "To do better than you have ever done before".
What are the key takeaways for racing from this web site. We talked about not focussing on the win but executing your plan. I discovered how to win in my youth by focussing not on the joy of being the winner but on all the details that are needed to win. I was sailing in a race with the right mindset and focus, when suddenly for the first time in my life, I found myself at the front of the fleet. What did I do? In shock at the situation, I thought about not losing my place and stopped thinking about the details. You can guess what happened? I fell back into the fleet. However, once I established the mindset of focussing on the detail, my place at the front of the fleet was established and I never looked back.
In a series, you don't have to win every race. Consistency and sticking to your plan will get you a string of top results. You never know what is going to happen before the day begins but you can control what you are able to control, i.e. preparation, checklists, study the water, practice before the event and so on. Get the detail right and you will get the results.
I cannot emphasize enough that the race is pretty much over after the first minute of sailing. Yes there will be shifts and place changes but the hierarchy is established. So if you are going to practice and focus on anything, focus on the start. You will not be disappointed.
If you watch races, you will see that there are always groups of boats interfering with each other, dog fighting, luffing etc. If you get involved in a group, at worst you risk an incident and a penalty turn, at best they will slow you down as you fight to escape the pack. You want to avoid all of this. Keep out of trouble and stay clear. Do this and you will find you will pick up places as other sailors focus on the little battles and lose track of the overall plan.
If you do make an infringement, you have to make your turn immediately, not halfway down the next leg.
Something I have not covered and probably the most important item on this site is to have fun. When sailing you should be grinning from ear from the joy of being outside in a wonderful environment, with good friendly banter and a fast well sailed boat. What a pleasure it will be to do better than you have ever down before.