Build Racing Skills with these 5 Books
To build racing skills, it’s always good to refresh your understanding of key concepts and skills, so you can take them up a notch, or least not slip backwards. Here are five books that have enough solid content to keep me coming back for more.
Sailboat Racing with Greg Fisher. This not a long book, but it has lots of important concepts from a winning sailor and college coach. I especially like his discussions of 1) masts and tuning, 2) the importance of balancing the boat, 3) the need to get and use a compass (although the technology discussed is out of date), and 4) making gains downwind.
A Manual of Sail Trim. We all need to learn more about how to tweak our sail trim in the wide variety of conditions we face. The best sailors know what to try and keep trying until they are faster than the other boats. Like all of Stuart Walker’s books, this is not for light reading, but is a thorough study of the subject. The book covers the nuances of each sail control, and then gives ideas for adjustment in a variety of conditions (wind, wave, race situations).
Positioning, the Logic of Sailboat Racing. Another Stuart Walker classic. Although not simple in content, this book has the clearest breakdown of the elements of strategy based on three wind categories – oscillating, one side favored, or “neither.” If you can determine which category you’re sailing in and follow the relatively straightforward guidance for each, you’ll certainly improve your results.
Fast Handling Technique. I was recently introduced to this book, and it has convinced me that I have a lot to learn about reacting to the constant changes in wind. Frank Bethwaite makes a science of the best techniques for “ease-hike-trim” in puffs and the often-overlooked opposite response in lulls. He applies similar rigor applied to tacking and gybing. There are also boat-specific sections for several one-design classes.
Winning in One Designs. Dave Perry doesn’t address any topic deeply in this book, but it is full of tips in all areas. Dave shares plenty of stories from races that we can all relate to. Maybe one of these stories will stick with you and help you during a race this season.
Sailboat Racing with Greg Fisher
A Manual of Sail Trim
Positioning: The Logic of Sailboat Racing
Fast Handling Technique by Frank Bethwaite (2013-02-01)
Winning in One-Designs
Sailors Helping Sailors
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