22 Ways to Improve Your Performance

After watching their fleet for a number of years the author finds 22 ways that the “good guys” always seem to finish in the top of their fleet. From the September, 20001 issue of Sailing World.

There were always other guys, a few years older and a bit more serious, who consistently finished at the top of the fleet. I realized that their edge wasn’t talent or luck. It was experience..
by Luther Carpenter

Paul White (foreground, at helm) has sailed 200 consecutive regattas in the Y-flyer class' Mid-Atlantic Cup series. Photo by Jeff Becker

Years ago I was a young, hungry, youth sailor. I had great starts, flashy roll tacks, the ability to steer perfectly, and my parent’s Visa card. I could do anything.

But as I started competing around the world, I learned that desire and raw talent were not enough to win major regattas. There were always other guys, a few years older and a bit more serious, who consistently finished at the top of the fleet. I realized that their edge wasn’t talent or luck. It was experience.

In 1992, I coached at the Barcelona Olympics and witnessed a near perfect blend of youth and experience. Coaches Jonathan and Charlie McKee and team members Randy Smyth, Keith Notary, Mark Reynolds, Paul Foerster, Mike Gebhardt, Brian Ledbetter, and Hal Haenel had all been to the Olympics before-some had won medals-and they shared what they’d learned from their past experiences at the Games with our energetic and talented Olympic rookies. It was a powerful combination that resulted in medals in nine of 10 classes.

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