Life lessons from boat racing – be on time

One of the keys to having a great race is to hit the ground running at the start right on time. This is as important in life as in boat racing, as in life, you really have difficulty changing a first impression. In boat racing, if you are mired in the pack, then you are starting at a huge disadvantage, and will probably have to make some changes to your plan that are driven more by necessity than desire.

For a fairly heavy boat like mine, you can’t hang about stationary near the line and then power up as the clock runs down with any degree of accuracy, and simply getting a heavy boat up to speed means you have to take a run at it. It is the same with people, most have trouble getting started and inertia is as true in life as it is on a boat.

To that end, all of our starts are timed efforts where we run a test to see how long it will take us from a particular point to the starting line at full speed. We then run back and forth around that area as the clock runs down with the aim of hitting that point at full speed a good 30 seconds before we need to. You can always scrub off a little speed, but you can’t add much, so being a little early is good.

We then keep a weather eye out for boats that can cause us starting issues and off we go. If all works to plan – then your start will be good with you  crossing the start line at full speed as the starting gun goes off. In boat racing as in life, you will have the odd curve thrown in, such as a boat heading you up, but if you are aware of your surroundings then you can usually work around that and still have a great start.

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