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3: The next stage

Having gained the initial skills required for multihull sailing, the next stage is to consolidate them, initially with the aim of improving your boat handling techniques and building wind awareness.

At the same time youíll also want to extend your appreciation and understanding of rules and tactics, gradually implementing your additional knowledge as you build your skill level. This can be done through a combination of on the water practical experience, background reading and further training or coaching.

Once you start taking part in long-distance events, some appreciation of navigation, tides and weather forecasting, as well as seamanship and self-reliance at sea, also become important.

Being able to identify the most efficient route up the windward leg is just as important as with a monohull class, but youíll interpret it differently ó in particular youíll want to minimise the number of tacks, as so much ground is lost each time. Again, this is a skill that takes time to build, so donít worry if it appears to be black magic at first. Start by observing which side of the beat the leaders choose; if you canít identify why theyíve made a certain decision, ask a few of them after the race.

In most fleets people are very happy to share their knowledge and this tends to be particularly true of multihull sailors. Asking questions about all elements of racing, whether tactics, rules, boat handling or tuning, is one of the best ways to improve your skills and a constant feed of constructive input can make a huge difference over the course of a single season.

Having made progress with mastering the basics after maybe a seasonís experience, itís worth attending courses such as the RYA Performance Sailing. After that, look for coaching offered by your club or class, which can be very valuable. In any case, you can mix racing with your own training sessions in which you repeatedly practice manouevres, with the aim of perfecting them. If your club doesnít offer coaching, itís well worth considering getting a number of like-minded members together to organise a coach to visit you ó this can be enormously beneficial, yet the cost spread between a few people is really quite modest.

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