How to Tackle a Speed Problem

Published on October 3rd, 2012

By David Dellenbaugh, Speed & Smarts

When you are trying to cure a case of the ‘slows,’ ask a lot of questions.  Find out what other people think, especially those sailors who are always faster than you. Most racers are willing to share their knowledge!

In sailboat racing, speed is almost everything. It’s important to be smart at tactics and strategy, of course, but if you’re not pretty fast you will never be consistently at the top of your fleet. Therefore, good speed is worth a large investment of time and effort.

Every racing sailor has issues with speed from time to time, but these won’t normally turn into big problems unless you don’t make any concerted effort to fix them. The key for curing a case of ‘the slows’ is to be logical, organized and persistent in your search for an answer. Attack the problem before it destroys your confidence.

Speed issues often cannot be solved in just an hour or a day. If you really want to be faster and win more races, you need to be ready for a long-term “speed improvement campaign,” not just a quick fix.

Once you realize you are going slow, the key is to figure out why. Approach this as you would look for a solution to any other major problem – explore the situation from many different angles so you can understand everything possible about your boat, yourself, your class, the conditions in which you sail and your teammates.

Here are a bunch of ideas for tackling a speed problem …



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