Colin began coaching for ISA full time in 2015 and has been evolving his Laser coaching methodology on the ISA team ever since. His coaching style has been described as patient, methodical and analytical.
These habits are seen around top sailors and will help you perform better and enjoy the sport more. Check these out to help align your priorities.
A good sailor is prepared and schedules their regattas, trips, and training appropriately. Being prepared also means carrying the appropriate spares, and making sure everything is ready, such as having your numbers installed on a new sail ahead of a regatta (not the day of!) and testing out and breaking-in new gear before racing with it. Developing a training plan will help you plan your events and sailing, from which equipment, regatta entries, and travel can be scheduled.
A good sailor does more than just regattas. Spending time in the boat is an old adage but exists for a reason. Time in the boat will keep you sharp, in better shape for hiking, and will stop that feeling that you’ve finally got things figured out by the last race on the last day of the regatta! Going out sailing and training will make all those race days more enjoyable and your performance better.
A good sailor is as self-sufficient as possible – you’re comfortable rigging and launching your boat, you plan well and can do basic maintenance on your boat. You carry spares and tools with you and know how to use them. Of course, it’s not always possible or safe to sail by yourself, but reducing missing time on the water because you’re looking for someone else can be avoided.
Taking care of yourself will keep you out there longer and more often! This means many things. Keeping up fitness as much as possible is obvious, but also carrying enough hydration and nutrition on the water and wearing adequate sun protection. It means stretching and taking time to recover after sailing to make sure you’re as fresh as possible for the next day.
The RRS can be complicated and situations can develop fast – but always take the time when you’re unsure to review situations with fellow sailors and approach more experienced sailors, coaches or consult the rule book and internet resources to get the best answer.
The beauty of this sport is that there’s many things beyond just the sailing. Learn how to splice line, do minor repairs, spend time doing race committee, etc. All these activities will make you more well rounded, connected to your sport, self-sufficient, and allow you to help others to grow the sport.
Keep things simple. The Laser has been around for decades, and though gear is evolving all the time, get a nice and proven set up and stick with it until you’re fully comfortable with the boat. Your priorities should be reliability and ease of use.