Resources to improve your yacht racing
With better weather and calmer waters on the horizon, we’ll soon be in the full swing of racing season. Whether you’re a complete beginner, or if you’re looking forward to getting back into racing mode but would like to improve your skills, we’ve put together some great resources to help you build your knowledge and enhance your experience on the water.
Make sure you’re part of a sailing club
If your initial sailing experience was not in a club environment, joining a club is a really important step in moving your sailing skills forward. The network of experience you’ll find in a club will make sure you improve your skills and your specific sailing talents will be spotted and helped to be developed. Especially if you’re a young sailor keen on improving your racing skills, sailing club associations always identify potential and then find additional opportunities to help develop and train.
Many run classes and coaching sessions, which are really effective in boosting skills and highlighting what you need to focus on. Sailing different boats in different places with people of varying experience helps you to learn at a better pace than on your own – improving your sailing skills in a club can be really fun and is a great way to increase your confidence.
Find your nearest sailing club on the Royal Yacht Association website
Always aim for a better yacht racing performance
There is always something more to learn when it comes to racing sailboats, even those at the top of the sport can still push boundaries and refine their skillset – the key is to not allow yourself to stagnate at one particular level. Challenge yourself to take part in new races, with different levels of competition, and after each race, review your performance and try to understand what you could have done differently.
Giving yourself a post-race brief after every day on the water is a great idea! The sailingtowinblog has some great tips on how to improve and beat your opponent when competing in races – blogs like this are a great personal account to learn from.
Build on your sailboat racing knowledge
A breadth of knowledge is important when it comes to racing yachts – spending as much time as you can on the water will make a big difference to your skills. Concentrating on the core elements of boatspeed and basic boat manoeuvering will give you the biggest initial rewards and get you started on the right foot.
Understanding all the sail controls, the steering effects of the sails and the way in which this contributes to the balance of the rig is fundamental knowledge you can then build on. The Royal Yachting Association Youtube channel has a useful selection of videos on racing sailing boats, check out their Racing Rules Series 2 video.
Take the time to fully understand the ‘racing rules of sailing’ – you will never encounter every possible scenario in a racing season but to consistently improve you should be constantly looking to expand your knowledge.
Even a seasoned racer can sometimes not have a basic understanding of rules. On the water practice isn’t enough, it’s important to also focus on theoretical knowledge – reading is the best way to learn about the rules, tactics and sail trim. Stuart.H.Walker has a series of books on ‘The logic of sailboat racing’ to ‘Advanced racing tactics’ – these make great reads if you’re ready to take your racing to the next level.
Ready to get out there and get involved with racing this year? Take a look at this full list of UK Sailing Events in 2022 and start planning your season.