Before you start on your dinghy sailing training plan, read our guide from Olympic silver-medalist Joe Glanfield as to how you can improve your sailing. Dinghy sailing can be a great way to improve your body’s levels of health and fitness, through regular training, and offers a fun, active way to get fit.
As with most sports, the longer you spend training, the more you will improve your dinghy racing skills. A good start is by trying to find the time to do a weekly training session on top of any racing you do. This training time can be used to work on weaknesses highlighted in your racing.
There is a tendency in the sport of sailing to be very quick to blame equipment for poor performance and spend a lot of time and money buying and testing new equipment. In reality, most people’s equipment is fine and they would be better to spend their money on coaching to learn how to use their equipment more effectively.
Sailing can very basically be divided into three sections although there are a lot of subheadings within these. Each section can be trained in different ways.
Dinghy boat handling
This is usually best practiced by sailing around a short course. The course can be made progressively shorter as you get better so you are continually pushed.
Dinghy boat speed
There is quite a lot of theory behind boat speed that is worth reading up on. If you find someone else to sail against you can line up close to one another (without affecting each other's wind) and sail in a straight line working on technique and settings. For this to work well it is important for the boats to regularly speak to each other and say what they are trying.
Dinghy sailing tactics and strategy
All sailors will get better at their tactics through experience, so the best way to practice is simply to race. Organising a group of you to do lots of small practice races is a really good idea. The races being small means you can do a lot of them and so get a lot of starting practice. Also, the boats are likely to be closer so there will be more tactical interaction.