Planning for 2017
So the 2016 season is now coming to a close and thoughts are already turning to next year. Yes there may still be some events left this autumn but we’re already thinking ahead and the first step is to make a goal for 2017. For us this was a fairly easy process, having missed out on the national title by 1 point we really want to go 1 place better next year. Once that was decided there are various things we can do to start breaking down how we’re actually going to have a chance of doing that.
We know the boat is in pretty good shape but there are things we can do to make it better. Last weekend we did the battle of the classes and our main aim was to make a list of things we can improve and identify some other things that we may need to try. On the list of things to improve are things like ropes that need replacing, control systems that can be improved and the little bits of tlc that the boat needs.
Then there’s the rig set up, the winter provides a great opportunity to try new things, handicap racing is fun but some boats will always have an advantage so rather than worrying too much about overall performance we can try playing around with different rig settings, styles of sailing and different boat on boat tactics (assuming there is at least 1 other in your fleet there for comparison). In the Scorpion fleet we are pretty lucky in that there are usually 3 or 4 from the top 10 at the nationals at the major winter events so it’s easy to get an idea of what is and isn’t working so well. It also means that we’re not getting to the first event and remember what the boat feels like when it is going quick and when we need to change the settings.
Now is also a good time to think about what sailing kit we may need rather than waiting for spring and getting a musty bag out at the first event. Not only are we looking at some warmer kit ready for the winter events but xmas is a great chance to scout out some easy present ideas for loved ones! Also on the personal front we can think about fitness safe in the knowledge that we don’t actually need to do anything about it just yet. But having an idea of the goal certainly does make the commitment to lay off the pies over the winter a little easier rather than trying to catch it all up when the sun re-appears in Spring.
Our final stage of planning will be to wait for the events calendar to come out and work out what we need to do. As I’ve said, the winter events are set aside for a bit of experimentation. Early season we’ll be looking at some inland events to work on the boat handling and getting lots of close quarters racing. As May and June approach the the focus will switch to a combination of sea events and, if there aren’t any on, we may look at finding some weekends when we can do some two boat tuning.
Obviously plans change, other things come up that disrupt what events we can actually do but having this outline in mind now means we can try and make sure we cover most of the main bases. Also it means there is an aim for each sail and, even if we have a bad result, if we have picked something up that might help at the nationals next summer then it has been a successful day. Whether or not this will all pay off next year is another matter but hopefully we’ll be giving ourselves as few excuses as possible if it doesn’t.