Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends
four ways to become a sail racer
Sail racing is an unusual sport to follow, being deemed less popular than football or rugby. However, sail racing is an exciting sport to follow and an interesting watch. Many races require sailboats or yachts to race across courses make up of buoys, through open waters in a point-to-point, or even across the world, such as the Vendée Globe championship.
Sailing is one of the United Kingdom’s biggest successes at the Olympic Games, with the GB sailing team usually winning gold and silver medals. In the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the United Kingdom sailing team did exceptionally well.
Maybe the Olympics has inspired you, or becoming a sail racer has always been your ambition. Either way, here are a few tips for beginners and future sailors.
Exercise – Sailboat racing is an enduring sport, requiring the sailor to be both mentally and physically fit. Whether you are sailing a lake or an ocean, make sure your stamina is strong, and you have little chance of becoming absent-minded. Hit the gym and practise both cardio and strength training, and enquire a personal trainer who will be able to provide you personalised exercise routines.
Practice with a sailor – A sail boat is a large investment, costing a large sum of money. A great alternative is finding a racing sailor willing to teach you the ins and outs of the sport in both your free time. With a professional by your side, they will be able to teach you the fastest way of becoming a racer, while helping you stay cost efficient.
Take sailing lessons – If finding a racing sailor is proving difficult, try taking sailing lessons. The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is the national body for all forms of boating, from dinghy and wind sailing, to racing and sail cruising. They offer Try Sailing sessions, which prove to be widely popular. Their next session is May 2017, and although sessions are seasonal, this could be a great starting opportunity for you to see whether sail racing is the sport for you.
Join a crew – Joining a crew will allow you to witness first-hand how a professional sailor and sailing teams operate. Many professional racers and crew member’s careers started by joining the crew of previous racers, such as Ado Stead and James Stag. Although there are not many qualifications needed outside of the RIB Driving License and first aid courses, becoming part of a crew is ideal when wanting to pursue your sail racing career, and is one of the best ways to learn.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you train and practice, a sport can turn out to be the opposite of what you expected. If sailing ended up not being the sport for you, but you still enjoy watching the races, there are many sailing events and communities you can join, made for spectators as much as for racers. You can also enjoy betting on these activities and hopefully watch your number one sailor come in first place, winning the gold!