5 skilled tips_ The way to enhance your offshore racing expertise

Why do French Figaro racers accomplish that effectively in different offshore racing disciplines? British sailor Alan Roberts talks by some transferable expertise with Andy Rice

French Figaro sailors, whether or not they’re at the moment on the circuit or former Figaro skippers who lower their tooth within the class years in the past, appear to do very effectively within the fully-crewed offshore world. So what makes them so good? British sailor Alan Roberts has spent the previous decade immersing himself in French offshore racing tradition, studying by competing in opposition to the most effective of the most effective within the Figaro scene as he works his method in the direction of a Vendée Globe marketing campaign.

Roberts is in demand as a really efficient marketing consultant on fully-crewed offshore racing tasks the place he tends to function within the tactician or navigator position. The short-handed nature of the Figaro forces a sailor to set strict priorities about what’s crucial focus at any given second of a race. It additionally teaches a stage of depth and focus that he feels is commonly lacking from the mentality of many offshore sailors.

In keeping with Roberts, each second and each metre of benefit counts, and figuring out methods to up the depth and preserve that stage of focus are key expertise that he goals to impart to each staff that he works with. Listed here are his 5 suggestions for resetting your offshore racing priorities for better success on the race course.


As a Figaro sailor you’re pressured to withstand your priorities on a regular basis. Over time you turn out to be excellent at rapidly filtering by the job checklist to give attention to the issues which are going to make the largest distinction.

Planning forward is essentially the most important talent. There’s by no means sufficient time, so the extra you suppose by the eventualities upfront, the higher you’ll be within the warmth of the second. It’s additionally about bringing the next stage of depth and urgency to your crusing.

In lengthy, offshore races there’s an inclination to fall right into a extra relaxed sample, which implies you can begin to overlook necessary particulars. Over time this could compound into a big lack of time and distance. Each second, each wave issues.

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Share the plan

Once I come aboard a ship as a navigator, I carry alongside particulars of the climate forecast, our possible routing on the course, and an total sport plan for the race. It’s necessary to contain the entire staff so that everybody will get an opportunity to contribute and speak by how and when issues are completed.

It’s additionally important to run each day briefings within the lead as much as the race and ensure everybody has the most recent model of the paperwork. A easy PDF highlighting the important thing factors is a very great way of sharing the plan with everybody on the boat. It means each crewmember can anticipate the possible subsequent transfer fairly than ready to be advised what to do.

Swap roles

Figaro sailors can do any job on the boat. That’s a part of what makes a staff of Figaro sailors so sturdy in a race just like the Fastnet. They’ll float out and in of various roles as a result of they’re nice multitaskers.

Most keelboat sailors are usually far more specialised of their talent set, however an effective way to beat that is to dedicate a part of your coaching periods to swapping roles on the boat. How usually does a driver go as much as the bow? Or a bowman step into the mainsail trimmer’s position?

Communication and expectation are two actually necessary elements a complete staff wants to know. Swapping roles throughout a coaching session can actually enhance communication and expectation and ensure everyone seems to be working extra cohesively as a unit.

Visualise eventualities

There’s no substitute for centered time on the water, however one thing that’s nearly pretty much as good and which you are able to do just about anytime, anyplace – even within the automotive or on the practice – is visualisation. Operating by a psychological simulation of various eventualities is a very efficient method of practising even whenever you’re nowhere close to the boat. It’s one thing you are able to do as a person, maybe considering by the element of the way you put together the Code 0 for a hoist, for instance. Or it may be a visualisation course of between the entire staff, whether or not it’s face-to-face and even on a midweek Zoom name to speak by numerous manoeuvres and the crew choreography.

Threat: reward ratio

Simply because someone else gained a race with a sure technique or manoeuvre doesn’t imply you might have completed precisely the identical. With a chilly entrance about to hit the fleet, perhaps they waited till simply 10 minutes beforehand to reef the mainsail and alter to a heavy-weather jib. A effectively drilled staff can afford to depart it that late. However for those who fumble the reef and get caught out with full mainsail in 35 knots of wind, it might finish your race. So focus on and agree in your threat:reward ratio so you’ve gotten a shared response to a altering state of affairs. The extra coaching, the extra expertise, the higher you understand your boat, the extra chilly fronts you’ve been by, the extra you’ll be able to flip the dial on this threat:reward ratio. Set your expectations to affordable limits on your talents andskill ranges. Sail as much as, however not past, your limits.

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