Jay Livingston of Laser Sailing Notes recently wrote a post titled Getting Warmed Up, which is all about the routine he follows on the water to prepare himself for the first race of a day or for some boat handling drills.
It's quite an impressive program. He begins with a whole series of roll tacks starting off with a relaxed style and then getting more physical. Then he heads downwind and executes various kinds of gybe. After some reaching practice he launches straight in to some mark rounding drills and then practices his starting skills: holding position and accelerations. He then warms up his hiking muscles with some upwind work while simultaneously working on his awareness of shifts and puffs.
After all that, he says he's ready to race.
Wow. I'm impressed. I thought he was describing the whole of a day's practice session at first, but this routine is what he does before boat-handling drills or racing. I should be more like Jay. My typical pre-race routine is to to sail out to the course, grab a drink and an energy bar, and then to relax and conserve energy before the real action begins. If there are any Mommy Boats in the start area I either scowl at their drivers, or hang out close to them so I can overhear the secret tips they are giving to their little darlings.
Jay doesn't mention anything about checking the favored end of the start line or developing a strategy for the first beat, but he seems such a well-organized guy that I'm sure that he has another whole routine for all that race prep stuff.
"Two thumbs up" for Jay's warm-up routine. (By the way I have no idea what "two thumbs up" means but I know movie reviewers write it all the time and I think it's a good thing. I hope it's not rude?)