Harken Derm

World Class Conditions on Mahone Bay

Published on August 14th, 2015

Chester, NS (August 14, 2015) – Good or bad, weather is always a factor at Chester Race Week, and day three was no exception. Conditions were nearly perfect on all courses. Winds were steady between 12-15 knots, and courses were good and square with nice, tight races.

But, sailing in great conditions comes with its own set of challenges.

“Today we had the kind of world class conditions only Mahone Bay can deliver,” said Principal Race Officer, Liz Shaw. “On great weather days, winning comes down to good sailing technique and keeping your head in the game. Nobody gets lucky on a day like today. Not to mention, being right on the start line is crucial; on a clear-air day, it’s nearly impossible to shoot ahead.”

Good communications also play a key role, especially when weather is good and no one has the clear advantage.

“Good communications need to be efficient, professional, clear and concise. The best performing teams have their own internal language that only they understand,” said Shaw.

As for which boats in which classes will have the winning strategy on day four, that depends on personality says Shaw.

“Sailing is a game of inches. When you see opportunities, you have mere moments to act – you have to catch the wind shift at the right time, sail fast and have the right attitude. We have ultra risk takers and ultra conservatives. I can’t say what will happen or who will choose what strategy, that’s what is going to make day four so exciting to watch.”

According to Colin Guthrie, Ph.D., sailor, mental performance consultant who worked with Canada’s Own the Podium initiative, and long-time Chester Race Week participant, good sailors are not always the ones winning.

“For experienced sailors, it’s never about one single race,” says Guthrie. “It’s about being consistent and playing the law of averages. For experienced sailors, the goal on the last day of racing is to be within striking distance of winning.”

To novice sailors, Guthrie offers this advice. “Don’t get caught up in outcomes. Sailing is about continuous improvement. Take the opportunity to learn and improve as a team.”

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Report by Michael Dunn

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