Race Instruction in a Virtual Classroom

Here's how you can get connected--virtually--to top sailors, right from the comfort of your laptop.

Ever wished you could corner an expert and really pick their brain on a certain aspect of sailing, such as starting or maybe downwind sailing? Javier “Rulo” Borojovich, a top-level South American dinghy sailor who now coaches Olympic sailors and is head coach at the Laser Training Center in Cabarete, Dominican Republic, has found a way to allow anyone with computer access to do just that. He has set up a series of 75-minute, virtual-classroom webinars, each with a specific focus. Past sessions have included light and medium wind upwind Laser speed, Laser starting techniques, and a more general webinar on wind strategy.

“The idea came after I did a training camp in 2011 in Thailand,” says Borojovich. “I found a group of talented sailors training every day. They had a great talent but not much proper technical information about how to sail a Laser fast. At the same time I was taking an online course on sport medicine, and I thought that the same concept could help coach sailors around the globe.”

Borojovich moderates each webinar, directing the discussion with PowerPoint slides, still images, and video clips. Each session features a guest expert, and those have included gold medalist Anna Tunnicliffe, who talked about Laser downwind speed. Laser bronze medalist Rasmus Myrgren discussed light- and medium-wind boatspeed, three-time medalist Nick Thompson has discussed starting techniques as well. As Borojovich provides a framework for the discussion, each expert provides their own unique perspective, talking specifically about how they approach situations as well as critiquing what’s being shown in the still shots and video clips.

What really makes this useful is the ability to email questions as the webinar is taking place and getting an immediate, live response. Want to know just how much mainsheet Rasmus Myrgren eases as he crests a wave upwind in his Laser? Email him during the webinar and you’ll see and hear him respond to your question, as well as questions others have submitted. Curious about how Anna Tunnicliffe knows just how far to sail by the lee? All you have to do is ask. Can’t make the live session? You can still access it after it airs.

The webinars are primarily for Laser sailors, but some are geared to Optimists sailors and a few, such as the wind strategy and starting tactics webinars, are applicable to racers of all boats. In the past, programs have drawn between 50 to 80 sailors from Argentina, the United States, Canada, Trinidad, Spain, Holland, Germany, Thailand, and Japan.

For information about upcoming webinars, visit www.rulosailing.com