By Airwaves writer/coach Mike Ingham Sail1Design: The Year’s Plan
It’s January. That is when I get with the team and set the plan for the year. On first glance, it sounds simple, but it ends up taking much longer than we think. For sure though, the better job we do of it now, the smoother the season will go.
Here are our plan’s categories:
Goals: We like to start with the goals because that sets the tone for everything else. The goals should be simple. They should be broad –not too much detail –yet concrete enough that we can use to help create the rest of the plan.
For example, here are the goals we wrote for us this coming season:
• Race J24 and Thistle
o J24 is the priority
• Focus on the big Regattas
o Worlds, Nationals, NA’s, Europeans
o Use smaller regattas to try new things
• Put ourselves in a position to be a contender in whatever we enter
o While making friends
• Train more than last year
o Particularly at home
o Focus on Starts
o Focus on team communication
o Make sure my coaching of other teams does not interfere too much with racing
o Be really fit
o Focus on injury prevention
As we have written about in Sail1Design in more depth recently, I don’t like goals like “top 10 at Nationals”. There are just too many variables in our sport to set that specific a goal. I like goals that have to do with process –doing the right things and that will lead to results.
I then have a few boat specific goals, for example:
• Decide if we want to use the North 3DL or paneled genny
• Sell 2nd boat
• Simplify tuning guide
• Work on starts, particularly the communication from bow
• Tactically, work on when it is appropriate to take risks and when not
• Jib lead experiments
• Try North’s radial sails
• Be able to hike all day
Equipment: The next category of planning is equipment. Things needing repair during the season is inevitable, but this is a good time of year to check things off the list so we can focus on racing when we get to regattas, not trying to patch something up.
For example, our list for the J24 this year is:
1. Get the &#%$ engine working well. It always lets us down just when we need it most (getting to the hoist first…)
2. Fix rail where we had a collision
3. Touch up fairing on keel (repaint?)
4. Replace sheets and halyards with tapered versions (class rules now allow it)
5. Check that rig is centered (something is a little off)
6. Repack winches
7. Replace winch handle holder.
Nothing unusual here, the idea is to get some of this busy work out of the way now.
Team/ Calendar: I like to sort out the team for most of the year starting right about now. We are all busy and there are a few advantages to doing it now. First, I find that most of our calendars are still relatively empty. By spring most every weekend will be spoken for by something, so the more we can schedule now, the less angst we will have with last minute issues.
I have a spreadsheet with the following columns:
Regatta, Date, Location, Each team member (and their weight), transport, housing
That pretty much covers everything we need to plan for each event. Then I set down with the team and start filling it in starting in January.
Budget: Get together budget estimates for:
And then make sure we are all on the same page. Each team is different on the expectations of who pays what. We tend to split up most expenses. But the most important thing is that everyone understands how that will all work –no surprises.
Implement the Plan: Of course, just writing a plan is useless unless we do something with it; it is only as good as its implementation. What I like to do is get things rolling. I am sitting at a coffee shop finishing writing this up, and in a few minutes teammate Scott Ikle will arrive and we will go over the schedule and the rest of the plan. I am sure with his input we will morph the plan some. Most importantly we will all be on the same page as we divide all the tasks that go with implementing the plan.