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Terry’s Tips: Keep it Real, Keep it Simple

When the team hasn't sailed together in a while, there's an easy way to get everyone on the same page and going fast.

November 4, 2013
Sailing World

Terry Hutchinson

Keith Brash/Quantum Racing

**Knowing your limitations is a tough one in any racing environment. **You want to push, try to make something “special” happen, and win. As a competitor I certainly do it often, but in the past couple of months I‘ve done three events that, for whatever reason, lack of time in the boat was a big factor in our preparation. Managing expectations and understanding the limitations of the team was critical if we expected to have any success. If you’re short on time, or even if you have enough time, the following tips can be beneficial on the course, especially for those winter regattas like Quantum Key West Race Week, where the team hasn’t sailed together in a while.

Understanding your limitations

As a team it’s critical to know what you can and cannot do. By having clear communications about strengths and weaknesses as a team you can avoid a lot of mistakes in pressure situations. Trying to force a maneuver or make something happen that the team is not capable of executing will only set you backward. Play to your strengths and avoid the weaknesses.

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Identify weaknesses and turn them into strengths

These are simple items: communication, understanding your job, doing your job properly, and then supporting your teammates where necessary. How many times have you sailed with people who will tell you how to do your job, and then when it comes to theirs, they don’t do it properly because they are so involved with yours? I can’t emphasize that point enough. There is always a domino effect in the boathandling if a piece of the machine fails. Knowing your individual job and executing it perfectly allows for consistent maneuvers, aka gains.

Simple communication

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Every day you race or train, work toward simple communication that means a lot. In the heat of the moment it will be difficult to get the point across of what is necessary. Having very simple and clear communication will allow for the team to be on the same page. These “buzzwords” won’t be developed on the fly, so debriefing and defining the terminology and the actual coms will go a long way with everybody being on the same page.

Remember, racing well is a process. It doesn’t “just happen,” so continue to identify the team’s strengths, talk openly about it, and move it forward.

Click here to read more tips from Terry Hutchinson.

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