Copyright 2017 - Woods Designs, Foss Quay, Millbrook, Torpoint, Cornwall, PL10 1EN, UK
  • home built Flica 37

  • plywood Romany 34

  • lightweight 14ft Zeta mainhull

  • Strike 15 trimaran at speed

  • 28ft Skoota in British Columbia

  • 10ft 2 sheet ply Duo dinghy

  • 24ft Strider sailing fast

  • 36ft Mirage open deck catamaran

I wrote these for an introduction to racing at the Sail Oklahoma 2012, a small boat event at which I was a speaker/trainer

Here are some racing rules that you should always obey. In order of importance:

Rule 1) Race hard, enjoy yourself and never mind the results

Rule 2) You can always make the boat go faster

Rule 3) There are two ways to finish first in a race. One way is to win, the other way is not to lose. The second way is much easier. Imagine a race as walking up the down elevator. Every time you make a mistake you go backwards. Reduce the mistakes and you'll stay ahead.

Rule 4) You don't need to have the fastest boat or even be the worlds best sailor, to win you just need to beat everyone else. So find your own level. After all, you don't play tennis against Andy Murray or golf against Tiger Woods. Having said that, sailing is one of the few sports where you CAN compete in the same event as Olympic champions.

Rule 5) Get the boat ready before a race. Have no excuse to lose. For example, cleaning the hull bottom before a race is obvious for a keel boat kept in the water, but you probably don't realise how much dirt and grease gets on the hull when trailering it. So a bottom cover is just as important as a top cover

Rule 6) A race is never over until you’ve finished. So keep trying hard and always be the last to retire.

Rule 7) Other sportsmen don't train by running races or playing matches. They concentrate on their serve, or their putting. So practise extreme roll tacking, sailing sideways, even backwards. Try sailing blindfolded. How quickly can you right your boat after a capsize.