By King Dasher
Most of us would like to improve our racing, but don't know how to go bout it. There is no magic to racing, it is just like sailing, or for hat matter any other activity in which we may participate. Improvement s not something that you do, but a journey you take.
Whether your journey is to finish one place higher, or win the fleet championship, it is determined by your desire. Your first step is to determine what you want and your willingness to do the things necessary to make the trip. If you are willing you must define your journey. You must know what you are trying to do. If you can state your objective in one sentence it will be easier to stay on track as time goes on.
Keep a log of each race, it will help you determine your weakness and point to the area that will benefit you the most. After each race write down as much of the race as you can remember and where you made advances or fell behind. Try to classify where you fell behind by point of sail. Did you loose places upwind, reach or downwind. Where were you on the course, start, near marks, or at the finish? After classifying you weakness, determine which will yield you the greatest benefit. Picking up 10 seconds in boat speed will be more than offset by being 25 seconds late at the start.
After identifying the weakness, you must determine how to correct it. Collect as much information on this area from as many different sources as you can. Keep in mind how this information applies to your situation. If you are reading about planing downwind and you sail a non-planing boat then this will not apply to you.
Knowing what to do is only the first step in being able to do it. You must practice to improve your skill. Often in your study of a subject you will find exercises to do. Do them. Find someone of similar skill to race against. This will not only be more enjoyable but will also give you a gauge to measure your progress.
Review your progress often. As you improve in one area you will find that you have a new weakest area and it will be to your benefit to put you effort in that area. The continual review of need, gaining knowledge, and practice is the journey of improvement.
As you take this journey be sure to pause and review how far you have come. Be sure to enjoy each success and make each disappointment strengthen your resolve to continue toward your goal.