Speed Session 5: Reality Check

Don't forget to stop in and take a quick reality check every once in awhile. Remember, sailing is supposed to be fun.
Remember, above all, sailing should be fun. Paul Todd/Outside Images

Okay, so now you’re tearing it up in the new class, learning from your prep, doing your dry runs, and debriefing after race days. What now?

Step 5: Reality check

It should go without saying that, with all this questioning and research, you should keep a notebook.

Having a notebook on hand is a good idea, so you can go back and review your notes. Often, answers to your problems will become crystal clear with a look from fresh eyes. Better yet, the creative juice will lead you to experiment in the other boats you sail. But sometimes your notebook may harbor what seem to be confusing, illogical or contradictory answers to your questions. That’s when it’s time for a little reality check.


Take all the things you’ve learned and compare them to what I call “The ten commandments of boatspeed.” These are universal guidelines that seem to apply to almost any type of boat.

Sometimes you can use these rules of thumb to create respectable speed without a whole lot of research beforehand. But these rules are most useful as a reality check. If your notebook seems to tell you to do something that contradicts one of these rules, you’d better understand why. Oops! I guess that means you have to ask more questions! Isn’t learning fun?

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Greg Fisher has won championships in the Lightning, Flying Scot, Highlander and Thistle. However, he is best known for his dedication to helping others learn to sail their boats faster.