It's very strange. The secret has been kept hidden from the average racing sailor ever since Uurrgh invented the sail and Harold Vanderbilt invented the Racing Rules.
I have an extensive library of books about racing and the secret is not even hinted at in any of them. Even Stuart Walker didn't touch the subject.
I have subscribed to various sailing magazines for decades and they have never revealed a hint of this secret. Not even the crème de la crème of sailing magazines, Sailing World, has covered this topic.
I have attended seminars with such uber-coaches as Brett Davis, Brad Funk, Rick White, Kurt Taulbee and John Kolius and they all kept this secret to themselves.
But at last, the secret has been revealed by a sailing blogger, Judith Krimski, who writes Center of Effort. Judith, according to her profile, is a highly qualified coach and instructor who coaches adults and kids at various muckety-muckety sounding sailing locales in Massachusetts. I don't know why she has chosen at last to share the strange mystery of how the top racing sailors go so fast; but she has.
Hidden down towards the bottom of her latest post cunningly titled The Devil's in the details...or NOT! she lets slip the secret...
Wear Clean Underwear
Wow! All these years I never knew. So that's what the top Laser sailors are wearing under their hiking pants... clean underwear! I never guessed.
Seriously. I don't wear underwear when I'm sailing. I didn't know you were supposed to. I never imagined it could make a difference.
For many years I wore one of those skimpy little Speedo bathing suits. As I often change into my sailing gear in semi-public locations such as beaches and parking lots, I felt it more appropriate to wear a Speedo than Y-fronts. That way, I can slip off my jeans or shorts, slip on my wetsuit or hiking pants, and no passing female will ever suffer the shock of seeing me in my underwear. But then I discovered that Speedos are seen as vaguely indecent in polite American society... even somewhat French. So, more recently I have taken to wearing some black spandex shorts that look a little like cycling shorts (without the all-important padding.) I once saw a very famous Laser Great Grandmaster walking down the street wearing similar shorts so I assume they are far more culturally acceptable than the tiny Speedos.
But now I find that I am supposed to wear underwear. And it must be clean too according to Coach Krimiski. Or should I call her Captain Krimski because I see in her profile that she does have a license to captain?
If Captain Krimski weren't a lady I suppose I could ask him (really her) some more intimate details as to what kind of clean underwear is best for Laser sailing. But I could hardly ask a lady, what I really need to know...
... the question that is really bugging me...
... what do top dinghy sailors wear under their hiking pants...
Boxers or Briefs?
Surely some of my expert readers can shed more light on this strange dark secret?