Making the right tactical calls

Published on May 6th, 2021

Andy Rice talks to top coach and ‘weather man’ Hamish Willcox about how to make the right tactical calls to win races.


Although Peter Burling and Blair Tuke had won Olympic sailing silver at the London 2012 Games, the young New Zealanders felt their decision-making skills, particularly the blend of long-term strategy and short-term tactics, needed a lot of work. They turned to coach Hamish Willcox for help.

In 2013 at the 49er World Championships in Marseille, Burling and Tuke would go on to win their first of six (and counting) world titles in the Olympic skiff, closely followed by a younger, less experienced Kiwi team also coached by Willcox, Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski.

Part of the reason for the Kiwi 1-2 was Willcox’s detailed analysis of the venue. Having built up his skills in both weather and strategy roles at almost every America’s Cup since Auckland 2000, Willcox was able to give his 49er teams the confidence to commit and go for the favoured side of the course in Marseille.

Here, Willcox shares five tips for taking clear and decisive action on the racecourse. – Full report

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