Getting a good start can really set you up for a great race, and planning is key. Start the day before and follow our steps below.
The day before
Before you travel to your event, you should start to think about what you will need to pack. I recommend packing your bag the day before so there's less to think about on the day of the event. Check the weather before the event so you know which bits of clothing you might need. Nutrition wise, make sure you're eating a carbohydrate filled dinner, to fuel you up for the next day. You might want to also check out the event venue to see how long it takes to get there, where to park, and have a look at the sailing area.
3-6 hours before
The morning of your event you'll want to have a fuel filled breakfast and hydrate to get you ready for the big day. Check the weather forecast again before you head off, to see if there have been any changes.
When you arrive at the venue, make sure you register, check out the course, go to the briefing, and start rigging your boat. The earlier you get your boat prepared and kit on, the more time you'll have to get your head in the game.
1 hour before
Before you launch, make sure that you have everything you need such as layers, food, drinks, and your watch. A good watch to use to make sure you are on time for your start is an Optimum Time watch, which is used by Olympians. Once you’ve launched, this will be your chance to practice, and fine tune your boat. Practice a few tacks and gybes whilst sailing upwind and downwind to get a feel for the conditions.
If it's going to be a long race, we recommend hydrating and fuelling up one more time. 20 minutes before, you’ll want to head over to the start area to have a little breather before the race starts.
10 minutes before
Practise your start and trigger routine before the 5 min gun goes. Trigger routine refers to the time it takes to accelerate to full speed, which usually changes depending on the wind speed and conditions. It's a good idea to time your trigger routine so you know when you have to start accelerating on the start. Make sure you get a transit and check which end of the line is bias.
Make sure you have your watch ready for when the five minute gun goes off. If you have an Optimum Time watch, don't worry too much about missing the gun as you can always use the sync feature.
At 5 minutes, make sure that you have your watch set and you are in the starting area. It's a good idea to check the bias again in case the wind has shifted. Then, depending on your starting strategy, get prepared but remember not to start too early.
In the last minute before the start, you want to be close to the line and not too close to other boats so that you have enough space for your trigger routine. Keep an eye on the time and the line and start your acceleration when it's time to go.
Hopefully you will have nailed your start routine and be set up for the race ahead…
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