When you’re trying to teach sportsmanship in competitive sailing, there are no proven methods to follow. You need to try different approaches because every group you teach will react differently to the request to “act sportsmanlike.” Practice sessions can fall apart if your team isn’t getting along and all you can is, “Will you please
by: Chip Johns, Commodore of the Beverly Yacht Club and former owner of Vanguard Sailboats The process of recruiting and hiring staff for your junior sailing programs can be quite challenging. There are many factors to consider when trying to build an effective staff who are responsible for teaching fundamental skills to impressionable youth sailors. Chip

Pre-Sailing Exercises

Before any exercising, including sailing, you should warm up and loosen up by stretching. Keep yourself in reasonably good condition, and before heading out, stretch out. These flexibility exercises should be done for about 30 seconds. Do not stretch to the point of pain, only to increase flexibility. Sailing requires movements in many unusual positions.

Basic Cruising: The bilge system

Never let the bilge be “out of sight, out of mind.” A regular visual inspection of the bilge should become a habit. You will quickly learn what is normal water in the bilge – rainwater coming down the mast, ice box drainage, and the drip from the stuffing box – and recognize water that indicates
By: Jessica M. Mohler, Psy.D., CC-AASPClinical and Sport PsychologistUnited States Naval AcademyI am sure you have experienced this before: two sailors de-rigging at the end of the day, one has a smile on his face and seems excited about how he did on the water, the other appears upset as you hear him saying to
By: David Dellenbaugh  This sounds simple, but it’s not always so easy to do. A strategy is your game plan for how to sail fast up the first beat, a guideline to keep you going the right way. It’s not so difficult to develop a strategic plan – you just have to get out to the
 By: David Dellenbaugh  This is a sure-fire rule of thumb that works in any wind condition. Of course, you must be able to predict which way the wind will shift next. But if you can do this, all you have to do is sail in that direction and you will come out ahead (assuming you
 By: Dave Perry, Chairman of US Sailing Appeals Committee Dave Perry presented the dos and don’ts of filing an appeal at the Sailing Leadership Forum last February in San Diego. Perry is the author of Understanding the Racing Rules of Sailing and Dave Perry’s 100 Best Racing Rules Quizzes. He is also a US Sailing Senior Certified Judge. When filing
By: David Dellenbaugh  When you want to go fast upwind, bad air is your enemy. So watch out for other boats, and look ahead for lanes of clear air. Wind shadows extend farther and slow you more in light air than they do in heavy air. So when there’s not much wind, don’t stay in

Outboard Motor Maintenance

By: Lynn Lynch, St. Francis Yacht Club Manager, San Francisco, CA Learn about outboard motor maintenance that every sailor should know, from spark plugs, to oil and filters, to gaskets, to batteries, along with the suggested tools you’ll need as well. Outboard Maintenance
By: David Dellenbaugh  When you’re not sure where the next shift will come from, get onto the longer tack to the windward mark (the tack on which your bow is pointing closer to the mark). This is one of my most reliable strategies. Sailing the longer tack works because of probability. Your chances of success

Sail Trim & Shape

by: Nick Turney of North Sails Learn the ins and outs of sail trim and how rigging and tuning affect the shape of your sails. The Mainsail Trim includes: Main Sheet, Traveler; Cunningham; Outhaul and; Vang. The Headsail & Spin Trim includes: Jib Lead; Jib Halyard and; Jib Sheet.  Mainsail Trim  Headsail & Spin Trim

Racing Tactics & Strategy

By: Nick Turney of North Sails Gaining information about the race course and your competition will help you gain an advantage. Then, learn the tactics to position your boat to implement your strategy. Racing Tactics & Strategy

When to Split Tacks

By: Bill Gladstone, Director of North U and author of the North U Racing Trim, North U Racing Tactics, and North U Cruising and Seamanship books and discs.  When to Split Tacks: You know the old adage: “Can’t catch ‘em if we follow ‘em.” So, when you are behind you’ve got to split tacks to catch

Trim for Waves

By: Bill Gladstone, Director of North U and author of the North U Racing Trim, North U Racing Tactics, and North U Cruising and Seamanship books and discs.  Each sail has three sources of power: angle of attack, depth, and twist. Proper trim means sailing at full power and with the proper mix of power. For a

Tacking Tips Part I – The Turn

As mundane as they may seem, good tacks are essential to good racing. Make each tack a little better and you’ll save a few boat lengths every race. Tacks can be divided into two parts: The Turn and The Acceleration. Surprisingly, after The Turn you are ahead in VMG of where you would have been
The Acceleration A proper turn is just the first part of a tack. Part II – The Acceleration will complete the tack. As noted before, all the losses from tacking accrue during this critical second phase. Typically, (on keelboats) losses are between one and two boat lengths. Our goal is to minimize losses. Coming out

Distance Racing Fundamentals

By: Bill Gladstone, Director of North U and author of the North U Racing Trim, North U Racing Tactics, and North U Cruising and Seamanship books and discs. When racing distances, there are several tactics to keep in mind: aim toward the finish line; sail fast and hard; keep your eye on the weather and; practice at

Lake Sailing Tips

By Richard Feeny, US Sailing Junior National Coach, Finger Lakes Junior Laser Champion Introduction The shape of the land to windward of the race course will affect the wind. The first thing to look for is any low area that will let the wind onto the race course. In a flat country with no valleys
by David Dellenbaugh When you’re racing in light air, a three-knot increase in wind velocity might improve your boat speed by 30% or 40% (and you will point higher, too). But in heavy air, the same wind increase might improve your speed only 5% to 10% (and it probably won’t help your pointing). What this