Staying quick throughout the course

Published on December 4th, 2018

Sailing, like life, is controlling what you can control. The shiftiness of the wind makes us more reactive, but maximizing our boat speed is within our command.

However, when we think of boat speed, we tend to think how we compare to our nearest competitor, and not about our quickness elsewhere on the course.

Canadian Laser Radial sailor Sarah Douglas, who was 6th at the 2018 World Championships, explains how she is focusing on her speed where comparisons are harder:

Now that it’s practically winter in Canada, it was time for me to head south. To start off the winter training, of course I went to my favourite spot: The International Sailing Academy just outside of Puerto Vallarta. I love Mexico for the great training and weather and of course working with my coach Vaughn Harrison.

The “off-season” is the perfect time to really practice your skills and make the biggest gains before the 2019 season starts. In Mexico we focused on boat handling, but more specifically the acceleration factor in every aspect of sailing.

When thinking of acceleration, most people think of just the start line, 3 – 2 -1 – Accelerate. We did work on our start line acceleration but also all areas that you can accelerate in the Laser. You can accelerate rounding a mark, shooting a mark, gybing, after hitting a wave upwind… you see what I’m talking about?

We were looking at maximizing our speed and accelerating at every opportunity we can throughout the course. Six days of 3-hour on water sessions and a workout every day. It was a great week of training with fellow Canadians and athletes from USA, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

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