Saturday, August 27, 2005

Repeat After Me

The old adage "practice makes perfect" could not say it better. Every operation on the boat, whether it is a tack, gybe, hoist or douse follows a specific tempo and order. Repeating these steps and developing a personal system and order that works for you is vitally important. What is even more important is forcing yourself to stick to that system each and every time a task is done.

For example: The trimmer, as soon as hearing the call to "prepare to tack" takes the lazy genoa sheet and puts one wrap around the lazy winch, next moves the winch handle into position and then adjusts his grip on the sheets, always with the same hand on the same sheets. Once the system becomes intuitive after repetition the trimmer no longer needs to think about what to do. The order of operation is second nature, allowing him/her to concentrate on the trim of the sail or other important factors to increase boat speed or pointing.

Once each crew position has mastered individual tasks the boat as a whole must master a the tempo of who executes which task in which order each and every time. This will ensure that every tack and gybe, hoist and douse will be smooth and on tempo with the helm and race.

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