Embrace your competitive spirit
We're not talking fair weather boating jaunts - we're talking racing.� And that means doing everything to ensure that you are making the best of your skills.� So how do you switch your mind set in order to deliver an outstanding performance?
Sailing coach Mark Rushall comments: "Racing puts both physical and mental sailing skills in the spotlight. You'll need to be more aware of the conditions and able to adapt your sailing style accordingly.� The best sailors treat every race as an opportunity to learn.� Having a plan, an understanding of tactics, the ability to learn from your mistakes and the passion to succeed will take you a long way."
Practice makes perfect according to Ian Walker who will be taking over as RYA Director of Racing later in the year�. He says: �It�s all about getting time on the water, particularly at a young age. It doesn�t matter what you sail; crewing, helming; all different classes of boat � it doesn�t matter. Just get out there as much as you can and that will improve your feel. It�s no surprise that Ben Ainslie is the first one out on the water and the last one in when training.�
Try different crafts
Rio 2016 Olympian Nicola Groves recommends asking around at your local sailing club and offering to help crew and sail as many types of boats as you can. She adds: �For me, this definitely sped up the learning process. It makes you a better all-round sailor.�
Join a club�
Clubs are brilliant environments for nurturing your racing skills. Not only do they give you access to different boats and first-rate training, they also provide regular practise sessions with plenty of support from fellow club members. Most clubs also offer a full racing�calendar as well. To find a club near you visit www.rya.org.uk/getafloat
Preparation will get you in the right head space for racing. Perhaps you are new to boating and want to race? RYA courses will help you improve, laying solid foundations to hit the race course. If you�re racing dinghies RYA Start Racing will help you everything you need to know about how to get off the start line and onto the race course.
Even if you are an experienced racer who has never considered any formal training, you may have areas you�d like to improve like how to keep your speed on through a tack. RYA Advanced Racing covers everything from boat preparation to strategy. Whatever your level, there�s always something new to learn. For more information visit: http://www.rya.org.uk/go/training
Know the rules
The rules change all too often � luckily, you can keep up to date with our brilliant selection of racing books in print and digital formats. From the pocket sized rules books to interactive eBooks and attached case books, you can go deeper into the detail - learning how to refine tactics, make correct boat-on-boat decisions and give yourself the best chance of coming out on top in a protest hearing. With detailed explanations in easily digestible formats it�s one way to become an expert, because let�s face it, you can never be too informed. For the full range of books, including RYA The Racing Rules Explained 2017-2020 eBook, visit www.rya.org/go/racingbooks
Hit the gym
If you are serious about racing, you�ll need a sailing focused fitness regime.
An instructor at your local gym can help you identify areas you need to work on like core strength and cardiovascular training.
Follow the RYA�s top tips on sailing fitness with these handy videos by former RYA British Sports Scientist Tim Jones:
Wear the right kit�
The last thing you want is to �have all the gear but no idea�. But you do want to feel comfortable, warm and dry, not to mention safe. The RYA has some fantastic deals on famous brands to help make your racing dream more affordable. RYA members have access to over 70 reward partners helping to cut the cost of your boating.� Choose from Crewsaver and Spinlock, to SLAM and Gill; Rooster, Hudson Wight, Boll� and many more.� Join today at www.rya.org.uk/go/join
Know your boat
A well-prepared boat has a better chance of winning than those with a dirty bottom and issues with the equipment. Make sure your boat is properly maintained, so if you have to break into sweat to hoist a sail, you may need to check your halyard system. For more tips on big boat racing check out RYA Racing for Yachts and Keelboats and for dinghies try RYA Dinghy Techniques.
It sounds obvious, but don�t be so serious about racing that you miss the basic joys of getting out on the water. Olympic gold medallist and four-time Finn Gold Cup winner Giles Scott has this simple advice: �Enjoy sailing, both the sport itself and your achievements along the way. Enjoyment is your fuel to stay engaged in the sport, to be focused on the water and to be a better sailor.�