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Practice Racing - The good and the bad approach


return to the home pageby Wally Cross

In all sports, practice is essential for success. While practicing we work on boat handling problems, speed issues and starting techniques. I am convinced poor practice is more harmful than not practicing at all.

Once the gun goes off many of us act much differently than we did during our last practice. The excitement of the start and other boats so close tends to make us more anxious than when we sail by ourselves. Usually the heart rate increases with all the excitement and based on the performance our minds play games.

Practice is important to control our emotions and clearly outline the responsibilities of each crew. In buoy racing there are three types of practices;

  • Boat Handling (one boat)
    • Tacking every 30 sec (roll and rock)
    • Gibing every 20 sec (roll and rock)
    • Sailing backwards
    • Staying stationary
    • Top and Bottom mark rounding
    • Hoisting and dousing spinnaker
    • Dropping and hoisting genoa/jib

It is important while practicing the boat handling drills the team is focused for an agreed period of time. Relax and discuss the practice before and after, yet when it is time to practice the focus should be like it was a real race.


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Wally, your drill is simple and very effective use of time to result in a series victories. 4/20/2005 10:46:47 PM
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