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Thought for the Day - How long should a set of sails last for

I don't know the answer to this but I do have some facts to share. As an exercise I went back over all my results since June and counted the races. All bar a handful were sailed using the A Rig and the new set of BG sails bought in June for the Nationals. So far this A rig has completed 222 races. If you assume that each race lasts 20 minutes, that's 74 hours of racing and nearly 2 hours of flapping before starts, assuming 30 second to hold position on the line. The sails are still in really good shape are clean, the jib has few creases in it from collisions but nothing serious, maintains a controlled leech. The mainsail is still immaculate but I think the jib may have lost a slight edge at the top end.


The hard piece of the equation is my skill. In light airs the sails are still really fast which tells me the shape is still perfect. In a breeze I feel I lack a slight edge which I suspect is my lack of skill so far with wind shifts, however the boat snaps out of a tack really quick and is still quick which would suggest everything is still good. My guess is there is another season of top competitive sailing in them which for me represents a brilliant investment.


The plan is to work up a new set for the Nationals including a lightweight jib which will only be brought out for major events. Old sails will be used for club racing on my spare A and B rig.


Looking forward to the Nationals, if all goes well I should squeeze in another 144 races (48 hours) racing. All in, including pre 2021 nationals racing I will have amassed over 150 hours of IOM racing over two years since I started sailing. I wonder if I have got to 1% of the top guys racing experience. Fingers crossed my limited experience will get me into good shape for the Nationals. Then it is all down to the skill of the sailor.


I thought about setting a goal for the Nationals but as a top US golf Physchologist said, before you start on a round of golf have no expectation. You never know what might happen and how you might play. There is the potential to be way under par or way over but you have no way of knowing the result so clear your mind an focus on your swing. Simplifying the game even further he says, there is a ball and there is a target. Make the target as small as possible and swing with belief.


Relating that to sailing, simplify your setup, have a plan on the course, avoid trouble and bow down for speed. We never know what might happen.

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