Top Tips for Regatta Preparation
As we are approaching the main regatta time of year I thought I would put pen to paper with some top tips I use when preparing either myself or any of my sailors for regattas.
Tip No 1 - Venue Prep
A big thing about going away to a regatta is that you aren’t likely to be as familiar with the area as you are with your home waters. One thing that shouldn’t be over looked is where you are staying in relation to the sailing club. It is particularly important to judge how long it will take you to travel to the dinghy park. This might sound simple but if you can get yourself to the venue nice and early you can have more time to prepare for the racing, whereas if you arrive a little too close for comfort then it can be difficult to get in the right head space for the racing. You can never arrive to early, especially on the first few days of the event. On to the racing side of things. Tide is always a critical factor, it’s very important to have a tide table with you. I would always try to memorise the tide table for a particular day so that when you are out on the water you know exactly what effect the tide will have on your race and strategy. It’s also important to work out where the strongest ebb and flow will take place - again this will have an impact on your race strategy as you want the tide to be your friend not your enemy. Finally, the topography of the local area. It’s important to have an understanding of how this will have an impact on the wind. Things like wind bend and lull spots can all be caused by the land around the sailing area. I like to create little drawings of the surrounding area and draw on wind arrows to help me gain an understanding of the effects.
Tip No 2 - Clothing
It’s very important to ensure that your sailing kit will help you get through the event. The last thing you want is to be too cold or too hot. Your basic kit bag should include a base layer such as a Rooster PolyPro™ Top for the cooler days or a Rooster Rash Top for the warmer days. Next is your mid layer, generally we use neoprene in sailing and I would recommend the Rooster SuperTherm™ Long John & Rooster ThermaFlex™ Top. Finally, a good top layer for wind protection, I would recommend the Rooster ProLite Aquafleece® for all year-round comfort. Complete this with a good buoyancy aid, a trusty pair of gloves and some snug fitting boots and you’ll be good to go. The beauty of the products mentioned above is they can all be used with each other depending on the conditions. For a more in depth look at this have a read of a previous blog… https://www.roostersailing.com/blog/too-hot-too-cold-too-wet-roosters-tips-to-layering/
Tip No 3 - Hydration & Nutrition
Again another area that possibly gets over looked slightly. Sailing is a sport with many un-controllables but your own body is something you can control. Start the day with a good breakfast, one piece of toast is not good enough, you should consider something like a bowl of porridge or some cereal with some fruit thrown in and a glass of fruit juice. Next is your hydration, something like Science in Sport’s electrolyte powders are great, just mix with water and your drinks for the day are sorted (until you’re in the bar later for the adults reading this). You may have seen the tennis players having them at Wimbledon over the past few weeks, the Science is Sport isotonic gels are great to have on the water to help keep your energy levels up, along with some pasta in between races. When you come off the water consider your muscle recovery, something like a protein shake or just a good stretch and a few pints of water will help flush out the lactates and help your muscles rebuild for the next day.
Tip No 4 - Event Documents
A nice simple one – just ensure you read and understand any event documents such as the Sailing Instructions (SI’s) and the Notice of Race (NoR). These documents will contain everything you need to know about the event, from race times and course types to social events and kitchen/bar opening times. If you have any questions about these then always seek the answers from a member of the race committee.
Tip No 5 - Boat Prep
Lastly, your weapon. I operate a check, replace, wash, dry, polish policy. CHECK that every part of your boat is in good condition ahead of the event, this includes the condition of ropes, blocks, spars, foils and of course your sail/s. It’s always advisable to take some spares so you are covered. REPLACE if you do find anything that looks a little dodgy, don’t leave it until you turn up on the day of the event, get it sorted before you leave home. WASH the boat thoroughly, I recommend using the Farecla boat wash, it’s a great product that really gets down and dirty removing any bits of crusty seaweed or stains. DRY the boat using a microfiber drying towel, much more absorbent than a kitchen tea towel. POLISH, in my opinion there is nothing better than the McLube Hullkote for polishing. It provides a great finish which leaves you boat looking shiny but more importantly looking fast. Finally, it’s always a good idea to squirt a little McLube Spray in any blocks or cleat springs to help reduce the friction in your control systems.
Well that’s is folks, I hope you’ve found this blog useful, I know some of it sounds a bit obvious but you would be amazed how many people I see forget about some of these things. May I wish you all the best of luck for any events you are heading off to. I leave you with a great saying: “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”.Good Sailing, James Dowrick (Team Rooster - Laser Radial Sailor & RS Feva Coach)