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6: What next?

Another important challenge is to extend the range of wind strengths in which you’re comfortable to sail. This can’t be done in one jump — if you try going out in 25 knots when you’ve previously not sailed in more that 12-15 you’ll simply fall over. But if you become accustomed to planing under full control in 16-18 knots, you can then tackle progressively more and more, remembering to source heavy weather tips from books, this magazine or other sailors.

Allied to this is improving your technique at righting from capsize — in particular to dodge the slow RYA method by climbing over the side of the boat and sliding onto the centreplate. It’s crucial to be quick, otherwise you’ll pull the boat right over until it’s totally inverted (hence the RYA method minimises the risk of this).

To progress your skills at the maximum rate, you’ll need to do a mix of racing and training in which you repeatedly practice manoeuvres, with the aim of improving and perfecting them. For some of this you can set your own goals, but further coaching throughout your sailing career will help you head towards the top of the field, so look out for events run by your class, club or elsewhere. A breadth of knowledge is also important, so look out for opportunities to sail different boats, with different people and in different places.

Equally, the other RYA National Sailing Scheme courses, Seamanship Skills and Day Cruising, will add to your pool of knowledge and experience.


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