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4: The next stage

One of the challenges of learning a new skill is to keep moving up the learning curve — many people get stuck at a particular level from which they don’t progress. Once you’ve consolidated your initial experience — perhaps after a dozen days’ racing — it’s worth doing some more training to give you the next jump ahead.

If your class sails with a spinnaker, the RYA Sailing with Spinnakers two-day course will prove very beneficial. There are two versions of this course, one for asymmetric spinnakers, the other for conventional symmetric sails — make sure you book the appropriate one for your boat! Another course that’s worthwhile is Performance Sailing, which will help you improve boat handing and sail trim.

This is also time to pay more attention to starting. It’s also no accident that those who are good at starting tend to get excellent results — if they’re clear of the fleet on the first beat they’ll be sailing in clean air when everyone else is in the disturbed flow off other boats’ sails, so if you’re always playing catch-up you’ll never get to the front.

Mark rounding becomes more complex as you move up the fleet and find that there are more occasions on which you reach the mark simultaneously with other boats. However, if you develop a clear understanding of the appropriate rules, and the boat-handling skills to match, a good mark rounding can gain you several places.

Previous page:3 Building on the basics

It won’t be long before you’re catching up with those at the back of the leading group

Next page:5 A winning mindset

Review each race to identify what you did well and what went wrong

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