Putting It All Together
After looking at many of the scenarios presented in these paragraphs it should become apparent that there are a great deal of similarities. If you look at the combinations, there are many situations on the race course in which a team could utilize the ‘Hi Lo Move’, the Chase Play, or the Mark Trap. Passing any mark, you can execute a passback. It is important to realize the similarity of making the crucial passback when in a 1/3, 2/4, or 4/6. If you don’t take advantage of the passback opportunity, the other team will do so and convert to a combination which is more difficult to combat. Taking the initiative is critical.
All the tactics and discussion are directed to the strategy goal of obtaining one of the three solid combinations, 1/2/X, 1/4/5, and the 2/3/4. All other combinations contain one of the 1/3, 2/4, or 4/6 combos which can be easily converted and changed to a winning or a more solid winning combination by whichever team seizes the initiative. The team who takes the initiative has the best chance of converting to a winning combination. It is much safer to have two teammates together instead of two separated by an opponent, who may choose to drop on the teammate left behind. Any time you have two teammates together, they have the opportunity to execute the ‘Hi Lo Move’ or the Chase Play.
If your team has someone in first place, you must work toward accomplishing the 1/2/X or the 1/4/5. If none of your team is in first, but you do have second place, you must work for the 2/3/4. When your team does not have anyone in first or second, you must do something to try to move into first or second and try to obtain one of the solid combinations. Moving into first or second may be accomplished by sailing faster than the competition, running a ‘Hi Lo Move’ or fooling them into slowing too much with a tacking duel. The goal is easy; achieve one of the three solid combinations. The tools to perform this task are the tactics and strategy. A good way to learn and challenge yourself with team race tactics is to get a set of six magnetic boats, place them on your refrigerator, and set up tactical team race situations. Challenge yourself by setting up various combinations on the legs of the race course and determine which moves you would perform to achieve a solid combination. Get your teammates and friends involved. The ‘Magnetic Chalkboard’ is a great tool to demonstrate team racing tactics and strategy.
It’s a lot of information. The key to its implementation and success is devoted learning and practice. Devoted learning involves studying this manual and completely understanding courses of action for any situation with any combination. Devoted learning and understanding must be shared by all teammates. The team is only as strong as it’s weakest link. All team members must share a common confidence and understanding of Team Racing tactics and Team Racing strategy.
Once all your team is confident with the concepts and feel adequately Team Racing ‘book smart’, it is time to put the knowledge to work on the water. This is practicing concepts learned from reading or chalkboard discussion. Knowledge gained off the water must be transformed into practical experience in the boat. It is fairly easy to decide the proper course of action from looking at a tactical sailing situation on paper. It becomes a little more difficult when these boats are moving and their exact positions are difficult to determine because of separation. This is precisely why on the water practice and communication are the critical components to enhancing your team’s performance.
Once you can see situations develop on the water, you can better anticipate when they will occur and what to do to counter them on the race course. Timing is everything. The team that takes the initiative has the best opportunity to achieve a winning combination or consolidate a safer victory. Know your current combination, what combination you are working towards, and equally important, what combination the opponent ahead of you is working towards. Know your next move and anticipate hers.
Early on in this manual, the “Concept” behind Team Racing was discussed. After reading through the many sections of this manual, it should be obvious that Team Racing incorporates many tactics in the composition of its strategy. This manual emphasizes the concept of having a game plan. With many tactics and a great potential for confusion as to what combination the team should work for, a solid game plan with good communication among teammates leaves little question in each of the team members’ minds as to what the proper course of action should be. With a game plan, each member knows what tactics he/she must perform to achieve the strategy, a particular winning combination. Understanding what to do in the various scenarios is what this manual is all about. If all teammates see the current situation and understand the correct course of action, two thirds of the battle is won. The final third is achieved through practicing boat handling and executing Team Racing tactics.