How to Win an America’s Cup…

I'll be honest, I haven't been following the Youth America's Cup. In fact, I haven't really been watching the actual America's Cup, so I suppose it's not that surprising that the youth version has mostly passed me by.

But, in one of those chance moments, where the universe aligns, I ended up watching the end of the last race on YouTube.

The New Zealand team were just completing their third win out of the three races that day, and were set to win the trophy. Landrover BAR were down in fifth, needing to finish at least third to win overall, but all was pretty much lost as they were nearly 2 minutes behind third place at the last windward gate. With only the leeward gate and the reach to the finish, they needed something dramatic to happen to turn things around.

And drama was what they got Continue reading

Spinnaker Watches

Update: Spinnaker Watches have been in touch, and have generously offered a 30% discount on their entire range to readers of The Final Beat. Use the promo code TFB30 on their website to avail of the offer.

I've been updating my pages on starting, and I came across a new entry into the sailing watches category. Apparently Spinnaker Watches have agreed to sponsor the 49er class for the 2017 season, and have commissioned a new watch for the occasion.

I have a habit of losing sailing watches (I think it is an endearing character trait, but everyone else thinks it is an annoying character flaw) so I take an interest in new sailing watches.

But I have to admit, I didn't really know anything about Spinnaker watches. When I had a look at their website, I realised why. They don't make watches to use while you're sailing, they make watches to wear in normal life with a sailing theme.

Until now. Continue reading

The 8 Best Sailing Books to Read at the Start of the Season

It's the start of the season and I think that all of us that race dinghies would like to think that we'll do better than we did last year. There are lots of ways to improve, and one good way is to read and learn.

But in the midst of the sailing season, and with real life going on at the same time, it can be hard to sit down and read big, heavy, almost academic style books, useful though they might be. Personally, I think books like that are better for the winter months, when you can't be out on the water.

So with that in mind, I've picked what I consider to be the eight best sailing books to read as you get into the new season - helpful, practical, easy-to-read books that provide you with things to work on as you move through the season.

And, because I'm super-generous, I've thrown in a bonus, non-sailing book that will help you improve your sailing. It is undoubtedly one of the best sailing books you can read that isn't actually about sailing.

So here, in reverse order, are my 8 best sailing books to read at the start of the season. Continue reading

Heading Out to the Race Course

Very, very few club sailors head out to the race course early. Most of us mingle on the shore, chatting, and then, when go time is getting close-ish we all head out together.

In fact, during my time at the sailing club on the Malahide Estuary, I can only think of two sailors that hit the water early with any kind of regularity (and neither was me, I'm sorry to say). Both these sailors were among the top five at the club, and I've often reflected that it is probably no coincidence.

Anyway, I can hardly lecture about getting onto the race course early, but you can draw your own conclusions about what you should be doing.

That said, there are certain things that I would do, almost no matter how little time I had before the start gun. The first was Continue reading

Setting Up The Boat for Racing

Everyone knows that setting up the boat for racing is important. I'm not going to go into the nitty-gritty of boat set-up today, that deserves several posts on each specific subject. I just want to talk about the routine side of setting up the boat, and how having good habits can be very important for club sailors.

For me, setting up the boat before racing is 100% routine. I always do pretty much the same things, in the same order, every time. It makes sense to have a solid routine because, with all the distractions around, it can be easy to forget something. But if you always do the same stuff the same way then you almost never forget anything.


My best example Continue reading

Taking Time Before Sailing

Another little habit of mine that I did before racing on the Estuary was that, almost no matter how late I was running, I would stop the car on the estuary road, get out, and have a look at the race area.

I did this every single time I went to the club unless I was so late that I was in danger of missing the start.

I didn't Continue reading

Understanding the Tide for Sailing

The Estuary that I've been discussing in these posts so far had very little current or tide, so it was rarely a consideration when planning a strategy. That said, I still always checked what was likely to be happening. The reason for this is that, all other things being equal, a little favourable current might make the difference between a place or two in a race, which might make a difference in the overall standings.

But a better example of understanding the current would definitely be from sea sailing. Some places I have raced Continue reading