From the Archives: Take Control on the Short Course

From our October 1985 issue: Mastery of the fine points of strategy and tactics are the keys to leading the pack around the modern dinghy triangle.

take control on the short course article
take control on the short course article
Sailing World Archives

Short course racing is the best possible practice for just about any kind of yacht racing. College sailors and frostbiters alike will agree that the expertise gained from sailing 100 starts or 300 mark roundings during a season pays off time and time again. But don't feel left out if you've graduated or prefer to head for the slopes in the winter. Try suggesting that your club's race committee or local YRA run some short courses at the beginning of the season. Short course racing is a lot more than mere practice, though, because it combines fast-paced action with multiple tactical situations in several races per regatta.

As in any sport, practice and good technique spell success on the short course. Most short course racers surely have wondered from time to time why some people are able to win so consistently. The fact is that the top sailors realize that perfect boat handling, a competitive, well-rigged boat, and a thorough knowledge of the rules and appeals are merely the basics of yacht racing. A winner distinguishes himself by polishing these rough edges f his racing technique with clever strategy and tactics.

"The key to improving strategic thinking is 'mental toughness'; the consistent winner never fails to recognize situations in which gains are waiting to be made. (And there are plenty of them!)"

Check out more articles from the Sailing World archives here.