Mike Marshall: Attributes For Success

Published on May 23rd, 2016


Mike Marshall

Mike Marshall, who won the 2016 J/22 Midwinter Championship in Fort Walton Beach, FL, shares the following comments in the J/22 Class newsletter

I really like venues like Fort Walton Yacht Club where the boat dockage is very close to the evening activities. It makes it easy for everyone to get together after the racing. This is especially beneficial for a one design Class like the J/22 in which people are so friendly and willing to share what they’ve learned each day

Because we had never sailed together in big breeze, we got out to the course early for the extra practice. We were able to do an entire upwind and downwind leg, getting comfortable with the breeze, before the next boat arrived. It was also very important to our final day strategy to know that we were closing on points, keeping us in the fight.

Ideally, I’d sail right at the Class weight limit for every event. I don’t think that being under the limit gave us much of an advantage in the light air of day one. On the second day, once the boats were fully powered up, the heavier teams didn’t have to depower as much, making things a bit easier for them (than us). Finally, in the last day’s big breeze, when everyone was very overpowered, technique tended to be more important than weight. Because even the heaviest teams were way overpowered, it came down to who could work the boat better.

It’s a tightknit group of people that, no matter what happens on the race course, can always come back ashore and share stories. If you ask a successful team what they were doing to go fast, they’ll willingly tell you exactly what they believe they did right. I think that attitude is incredibly important to the success of the Class. New people joining feel they can ask anyone for advice and therefore get up to speed quickly. In my view, it’s that kind of friendly, helpful attitude that makes the Class so appealing and keeps it going so strong.

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