Being part of an expat community, our sailing club has a relatively high turnover of people leaving and arriving. This weekend was typical – a Brit leaving and a Kiwi arriving. The Brit is an excellent sailor and great supporter of the club and always ready to offer advice. He had told me before his 6 essential points for any race and they are as good as any, so I offer them here – as a tribute to him and in the hope I can remember them.
In order of priority, you should
1. Trim the boat – flat and stable
2. Trim the sails
3. Know the course – get it right before hand, think about the next leg, visualize
4. Know what the tide is doing and how it will change
5. Know what the wind is doing and how it will change
6. Know the rules
Hard to argue with any of that. Of course, each point is a big subject in itself, but I think he has it right in putting the priorities as he has.