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

United States
UK & Ireland

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

The Boat Whisperer on Sailing Downwind

I'm a big fan of the Boat Whisperer DVDs, and I'd recommend them to anyone. I did a fair bit of sailing as a kid, and was trained by some very good coaches (and I apologise unreservedly to these coaches for being a terrible pupil), but these DVDs taught me a lot that had never been shown to me before, or explained concepts that I had come across before but hadn't fully understood.

And it's not just me. When a very good sailor I know saw them he decided to buy his own copies because there were some ideas that he had never come across before - and he'd won National and World Championships.

Because of these DVDs, I always keep an eye out for any new stuff that Steve does, and I was pleased to see Continue reading

Jim Saltonstall’s 10 Aspects of Sailing

Modern technology is pretty amazing. My teenaged-self would not have believed that we'd all be walking around with touchscreen computers in our pockets, or that my car would be able to tell me which route would be best to take based on current traffic.

It really is kind of incredible.

And one of the best (and worst) things about the modern world is that there is access to so much information. Before, if you wanted to know what an expert thought about a particular subject you'd have to either

  • be lucky enough to live near them;
  • make a big life decision and go and study under them;
  • hope they wrote a book. And then read it; or
  • write them a letter and hope they replied.

Now, though, we can just look them up on the internet and see what interviews and lectures they've done, we can order their books to be delivered instantly onto our Kindles (or maybe get the audio version), and we can look up any articles they've written.

So when one of the most successful sailing coaches ever has a seminar available on YouTube you can imagine just how widely viewed it must be.

And you'd be right.

It Continue reading

Rig Tuning

Rig tuning has always felt like a bit of a dark art to me, as was probably abundantly clear from my last post. There are so many variables to consider, and then, when you factor in variations in sailor-performance (sometimes you sail like Pete Burling and sometimes...well, sometimes you don't) - I don't know how anyone figures out what is fast and what is slow.

It's probably why I sail a Laser.

The problems kick in, though, when I do step into a boat that requires a bit of tuning. I have two tactics that I normally use in such circumstances:

  1. I try to use a boat that has been put together by someone who really knows what they are doing
  2. I try to have crew that really knows how to set up the boat on the day

Continue reading