A Data-Driven Race Winning Formula

Published on September 2nd, 2023

What if someone could tell you exactly how to win your next race without ever having to watch you sail? According to B. Lindsay, it is possible and easier than you think. Story for Sailing World:

Over six months of thesis research and statistical analyses with professors at Yale and Harvard and the head of sports analytics at ESPN, I derived a mathematical model that predicts sailing race performance. This formula reveals which skills, such as turn rate in tacks or a boat’s VMG upwind, actually matter and to what degree they matter toward winning a sailing race.

We know this formula can tell us how to win because the numbers don’t lie. To understand the model, we first need to define the most fundamental component to winning a sailing race: crossing the finish line before your competitors. To do so, we need to have the shortest elapsed race time. With this in mind, we can produce a model to reveal which skills are the strongest predictors of a shorter race time. In other words, we can use this model to tell us which sailing skills help win races. – Full report

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