Andrew Campbell over at CampbellSailing.com has taken on the task this year of passing on to us his 50 Rules to Sail by in 2012. Andrew was the US Olympic representative in Lasers at the 2008 Olympics, and has been running an Olympic campaign in a Star boat for the 2012 cycle, so I reckon this is going to be 50 rules worth following.
He has just completed the first 10 rules, so here they are for the education of all racing sailors...
1. Have a plan. Very important to have a strategy for every race. If nothing else you need to have an answer to the fundamental question of sailing: is right wrong or left right?
2. Be flexible. He's talking about being flexible in how you use your plan, not about doing yoga.
3. Prior Proper Planning Prevents a Piss Poor Performance. No, this isn't a repeat of rule #1. This one is all about reading the Notice of Race and other documents well before a regatta and making sure you take care of all the administrative and logistical details. For example do you need proof of insurance, or national letters on your sail, or even a passport?
4. History can be dangerous. And its corollaries - "a little local knowledge is a dangerous thing" and "the weather is never like this here."
5. Having the forecast is nice. Knowing how to interpret the forecast is important. Knowing when the forecast is irrelevant and making your own decisions about what will happen based on what you see can be critical. Use the forecast to your advantage, but don’t rely on it too heavily.
6. Have a goal for practice. This is probably why Andrew Campbell is a superstar sailor and I am not. When I go out to "practice" I get all distracted by actually enjoying sailing and taking pleasure in the moment of being out on the sea in the wind and the waves and the sheer joy of making my little boat go fast. If I had a practice goal when I launched, it is soon forgotten.
7. Enjoy Sailing. Damn you Andrew Campbell. You train like a maniac and yet you still remember that the real point of this whole game is to enjoy it? Seriously... good for him. This post is actually about the time when Andrew crewed for his Dad in the Zagarino Masters Regatta.
8. Put the bow down. Andrew writes about how important it is to keep the bow down and the boat going fast in a keelboat like the Star, but "put the bow down" was probably the most repeated instruction from our coach Kurt Taulbee at the Laser seminar in Florida a couple of weeks ago.
9. Wide and Tight, Slow if necessary. He's talking about mark roundings, of course.
10. Andrew doesn't sum up this rule in a single pithy phrase. He talks about a key factor for racing two weeks in Miami, especially for folks coming from the cold north. His advice is "to keep covered up and recover well each day." Specifics include hydration, sunscreen and having the right clothes for both hot and cool days. As Andrew says, "Peeing clear early in the week will prevent sore muscles, headaches, and ease sunburn recovery later in the week."
So what do you think? Which of these rules is the most important? Which one do you really need to work on in 2012?