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Strategic sailing

Strategy is your game plan

Strategic sailingThe grand strategy to be “the best sailor at my club/world/universe” is psychology. Here, strategic sailing means what are the rules going to be for this race.

Your strategy includes goals like;

  • Win the race – duh!
  • Beat some particular boat regardless of your overall place
  • Minimize time – balance performance vs. distance
  • Don’t break things

Input to your strategical decision includes;

  • Weather forecast – wind direction and speed, frontal passage and sea breeze onset
  • Course layout
  • Estimation of wind speed,  shifts and trend, shear and gradient
  • Current
  • Local knowledge
  • Knowing your competition
  • Knowing yourself – tacking skill, aggressiveness, performance, consistency

In the ‘golden hour’, you should gather information to confirm your previous assumptions, and refine your knowledge of wind and water.

  • Amount and duration of shifts, and wind trend
  • Sea state
  • Favored end and length of the line

Strategic components

  • Where to go to maximize performance and minimize distance
  • Sail conservatively or ‘bang the corners’ (each leg may be different)
  • Favor the left or right (also legs might be different)


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