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Thought for the day - Evaluating your performance

How do you evaluate your performance after a days racing?

  1. Finish the days racing and go to the pub with your mates (I like that one)

  2. Sit down and think about the days racing and note down the highs and lows

  3. Work through a list of questions, thoroughly examining how you performed on the race course.

If the answer to the question is option 3 you may be interested in the following list of questions to ask yourself. If you followed my notes on what you can do before an event and what to do on the day you will have already answered most of these before you started racing. If you haven't, the questionnaire will give you an indication of what you missed. It is not comprehensive but covers most of the key things you should be thinking about.

The secret of great performance lies in the detail. Get a few things wrong and you will be punished. Eliminate all the variables and the only thing left to blame is your sailing technique and that you can develop. If you identify gaps in your knowledge as a result of below, go back and look at the racing an IOM section on the web site.

After the race review:

1. Technology (Is mine good enough?)





Systems & Fittings

Radio System

2. Boat Preparation

Did anything break?

Does everything work?

Is anything worn that needs replacing?

3. Self Preparation

Am I fit physically? (Physical fitness leads to mental fitness which gives confidence) Sometimes you are walking up to 7 miles a day.

Am I fit mentally?

Are my glasses prescription up to date so I can see the boat and marks 100 yards away?

4. Geographical, Tidal, and Meteorological Preparation

Did I check for any permanent wind bends over the race area due to the land mass?

Did I know the strength and direction of any surface current throughout the race period over the whole course?

Did I have the latest weather information and know what the wind was expected to do?

5. Goals

Did I achieve my Goals? What were they

6. Strategy

Was my Strategy correct?

What was the winners strategy?

7. Boat Handling Ability

Is my tacking good enough?

Am I over using the rudder and slowing the boat? Eg trying to bear away without easing the sails when the boat is under pressure?

Is my gybing good enough?

Do I use the winch to pull the boom over so I do not have to alter course too much?

Am I balancing the boat correctly on all points of sailing?

Did I check the set up before racing?

Am I trimming the boat correctly on all points of sailing? i.e. Do I use tell tales and a burgee?

Am I in full contrlol of the boat in all conditions? What do I need to practice?

Do I fully understand the radio and all of its features?

Am I in full control of the radio systems?

8. Were the Rig and Sails setup correctly for the conditions of the day?

Was the rig tension correct? I.e. do I have the correct prebend?

Was the mast rake correct? I assume you use a measuring stick as this measurement is critical to the balance of the boat?

Were the sail setting, foot depth, angle of booms from centreline set according to your predetermined numbers

Were the Radio Transmitter sheeting end-points setup correctly?

Are all sheeting line lengths correct?

Is the helm balance correct for the conditions? Will the boat sail to windward without touching the controls.

9. Starting

a) Fixed Line

Did I select the correct end to start?

Was I up near the line at start time going at speed and in clear air?

Was I on the correct tack off the line?

c) All Starts

Was my final approach tactically correct? (no boat close to leeward of me).

Did I infringe the racing rules? (Especially Part 2 [rules 10 to 24])

10. Tactics

Did I stick to my pre race plan?

Did I take the tack which took me closest to the mark?

Did I take the tack which took me to a nearby shoreline (if applicable) first?

Did I stay with the main bunch of the fleet?

Did I use the wind shifts/gusts/bends to advantage?

Was my final approach to the windward mark correct?

Did I get to the layline too early?

Was I always between the main bunch of the fleet and the next mark?

On the reaching legs did I get above, on, or below the rhumb line for a backing or veering wind or to gain the advantage defending my wind?

On the running legs, did I get left or right of the rhumb line for the above reasons?

Did I use my wind indicator to ensure I was on the correct gybe?

Was I on the correct gybe on my final approach to the leeward mark?

Did I go for the correct end of the finish line?

11. Racing Rules

Did I use the Racing Rules to advantage both as an attacking and defending weapon?

Do I know the Racing Rules? (Especially Part 2 [rules 10 to 24])

Am I fully conversant with the Protest Procedures?

12. Sailing Instructions

Did I read the Sailing Instructions thoroughly?

Did I have a copy of the Racing Rules at hand?

Did I understand them fully?

My thanks to one of our Australasian members for suggesting this and providing the basic questionnaire which is based on a list from Jim Saltonstall's Race training book available from the RYA.

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