from Sailing World
My mentor, world champion Bruce Goldsmith, taught me many subtle techniques that help win championships. I wrote about how he taught me the importance of getting on the first shift immediately after the start (“Bruce Knew When to Bail,” Sept. ’07). Another thing he taught me was the importance of getting around the course as quickly as possible. This might seem blatantly obvious; you wouldn’t intentionally go around as slowly as possible would you? But it happens more often than you think, because as soon as you interact with other boats you’re taking your mind off going as fast as you can.
I have engaged in pre-race tune-ups against hundreds of boats during my career, and I’ve always been amazed how fast many of the boats have been. Most had more than enough speed to win a race, but few ever did. A large part of the reason is that during tune-up sessions most people can sail their boats at maximum efficiency. During a race, however, sailors get distracted and caught up with other boats on the course, resulting in them sailing at maximum efficiency for less time. The key, Goldsmith, taught me, is to deal with other boats in a way that won’t slow you down.