Top Three Tips: How to get better at sailing without getting wet!

There are many reasons we can’t get onto the water as often as we like; family responsibilities, poor weather, and injury are often the most common culprits. At times like these we may feel that we don’t have any opportunities to continue to practice and develop in our sport. Thankfully that’s just not the case! 

Here are three things we can do to make the most of our time on the land so we are ready to get straight back on the water:

  1. Boat Prep / Maintenance
  2. Fitness
  3. Virtual regatta Inshore

Hopefully this will give you a few ideas on how to keep yourself engaged and progressing with sailing.

3. Boat Prep / Maintenance

Although this does require you to have access to your boat, using this extra time to make sure your kit is well prepared and ready to rumble is a great use of all this free time.

Ensuring everything on your boat to running as it should and has no sign of wear will ensure that the valuable training time we’ll have when we can get back on the water is as efficient as possible.

Below are a few useful resources to get you started on the slightly addictive world of boat bimbling:

  • Boat Bimbling with Jonny & Sarah McGovern, a detailed walk through of things to check and lookout for.
  • Boat Repair Tutorial by Simon Hiscock (Shock Sailing), a tutorial on gel coat repair.
  • Splicing Secrets by Rooster, a guide on how to continuous splice excel control rope.

We can also use this time to dive into the world of rig setup and tuning. This can be as simple as putting up a sail, playing with the control lines and looking at the effect on the sail shape. Or as detailed as calibrating our mast and spreader positions for different weather conditions.

To help you achieve this, many class associations and sail makers have tuning guides and information sheets free to download. These are a great place to start, but don’t be afraid to ask around on a class forum or Facebook page if you have any more detailed questions.

Boat Preparation at WPNSA
Boat Preparation at WPNSA

2. Fitness

Normally, living a healthy lifestyle and doing regular exercise is enough fitness for most club, junior and youth sailors. However, this is not so easy to do in the middle of winter or when we are only allowed one hour of outside exercise per day.

But there are a few simple bodyweight exercises that target key muscle groups that will improve your stamina when back out on the racecourse. These can be done anywhere in the house, with no weights or matts required.

Wall sit

  1. Set your feet about shoulder width apart and about 2 ft out from a wall.
  2. Bend your legs until they’re in a 90-degree angle and you backs on the wall.
  3. Hold your position for 30-90 seconds depending on ability

Body weight squats

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with your feet turned out slightly.
  2. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  3. Pause, then return to the starting position.

Russian twists

  1. Sit on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Lean back so your upper body is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. (Keep your back straight at this angle throughout the exercise, as it will be tempting to hunch your shoulders forward.)
  3. Link your hands together in front of your chest and rotate your arms over to one side, then in the other direction.
  4. Count that as one rep.


  1. Lay face down on a mat or flat surface, with arms outstretched.
  2. Keep your hands and arms straight throughout the exercise.
  3. Raise your arms and legs 4-5 inches off the ground.
  4. Hold for 5 seconds, then return to starting position.

These can be done as circuit style workout, doing as many repetitions and sets as you can. You can even through in some more cardio based exercises like burpees and jumping jacks to get your heart rate up.

1.  Virtual Regatta Inshore  

Finally, we can use online sailing games to help improve our tactical and strategy-based decision making.

These have been around for a while now and many of you may remember the good old days of Sailx. But there is a new kid on the block, Inshore Virtual Regatta, and it has really taken off.

Virtual Regatta Inshore
Virtual Regatta Inshore

This easily downloadable app takes a little bit of getting used to, but once you’ve nailed the basics you can get a lot out of it. With simulated shifts and pressure patterns, alongside racing against other sailors in real time, fast based tactical and strategical based decision being the key to success.

With all this learning wrapped up in a fun, highly addictive game that can be played from the sofa, its every coach’s dream during this lock-down situation.  

For some more specific information and tips on Virtual Regatta then read my Top Three Tips For Virtual Regatta Inshore blog post.

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