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.

Almost.

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

Wind Strategy by David Houghton and Fiona Campbell

I feel it is important to state very early in this review that I consider Wind Strategy to be a Very Important Book for sailors.

The reason I feel the need to state this is because I know what I am about to write, and it may come across that I actually think otherwise. So, in order to be clear on the matter, let me state it again:

Wind Strategy is a Very Important Book.

Wind Strategy by Houghton and Campbell - A Very Important Book

Wind Strategy by Houghton and Campbell - A Very Important Book

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I know this for three reasons. Continue reading

Moana: A Review for Sailors

I went with my children to see Disney's latest movie, Moana, recently. I normally view family cinema visits as an opportunity for a nap - we pay €30 or so, and I get to sleep for an hour and a half whilst everyone else is entertained and fed.

This time, though, was different. For those that don't know, the movie is about the mainly ocean-based adventures of a Polynesian girl (Moana) and a demi-god called Maui. It was an opportunity to see some sailing on the big screen, so I braced myself to stay fully awake for the duration to see what I could learn to improve my sailing. Continue reading

Is Being “Naturally Good” a Bad Thing?

Here in Ireland it is 'Laying Up Supper' time of year - an end-of-season get together involving food and drink. And some more drink. And maybe some dancing. And drink.

I like a good Laying Up Supper - they are always good for having a laugh and often for chatting properly to people that you don't speak to as much as you'd like during the year. They tend to be a lot of fun.

One such evening a few years ago I had won a trophy or two at the prize giving, and my wife ended up chatting to a fellow Laser sailor. He told her that I was incredibly annoying (as if she didn't know that already). But he had a specific reason that I was incredibly annoying (as if she didn't have enough specific reasons already).

He told her that it was particularly frustrating that Continue reading