New Year's Resolutions for ILCA Sailors

New Year's Resolutions for ILCA Sailors

If you made some New Year’s Resolutions this year, the chances are that by the time you’re reading this, you’ve celebrated Quitter’s Day and moved on from those goals for the year. Not to worry, here’s a second chance to rethink your resolutions, give them a second go, and try to improve your sailing in the process.

1. Hiking Bench

Nearly all ILCA sailors have had an encounter with a hiking bench at some point. Most don’t dare to venture on to it after that. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as an ILCA sailor, and one of the things I wish I had done more of during my career (hence why I talk about it so much). 

The simple fact about ILCA sailing is that the harder you can hike, the faster you will go and the better you’ll perform. One of the things that separates sailors who are regularly at the front of the fleet from the rest of the pack is their ability to keep the boat flat when the breeze gets up.

If you are able to consistently use your hiking bench in a structured manner, I guarantee you’ll see an improvement in your results. 

A great place to start is to aim to use the hiking bench 3 times a week, doing 10 x 1 minute intervals. Try to maintain perfect hiking form, pushing as hard as you can. As you grow stronger, you’ll be able to increase the amount of time you spend hiking.

2. Wash the inside of your mast regularly

This may seem like an odd resolution to make for yourself, but hear me out. Nobody wants to break their mast on the water, and the main reason ILCA Lower Sections eventually break is due to corrosion around the mast fittings. When you’re sailing in a saltwater venue, water tends to get inside your lower mast, and begin corroding the mast from the inside. Most people frequently wash the outside of their lower section, but very few take the time to thoroughly flush out any salty water from the inside of the section. 

If you can make a habit out of this, it will extend the life of your masts significantly, and let you save up for other new items, like a new sail

3. Talk with your competition more

Sailing is a sport which relies on competing against others. You can be the fastest on the course but it doesn’t matter if you’re the only person on that course, at that time. Over and over again we see in sailing that the top performers tend to surround themselves with other high achievers. Despite being a single handed boat, this also applies in the ILCA class. 

To get better as quickly as possible, you should make a habit of talking to the best sailors around you, and finding out what they do differently. You’ll find that most sailors are pretty happy to share their wisdom, and you might even be able to offer a different perspective that helps their sailing. 

If these goals don’t fit where you want to take your ILCA sailing, that’s perfectly fine as well! Now is a great time to set some targets for the upcoming year, and if you want some advice on how to create your own goals, I’d strongly suggest checking out this article on SailJuice. If setting goals isn’t a problem for you, but you find sticking to your plan difficult, then you should read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. This book will give you a concrete road map for sticking to your goals. Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy yourself! There’s no point in having New Year’s Resolutions if you’re going to hate doing them, and it will make it way less likely that you stick with it long term. Best of luck and enjoy this new year!

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