Most embarrassing situations on the water happen because
someone hasn’t bothered to think out the maneuver ahead of time. Athletes in all sports train themselves to imagine the steps they need to take to achieve success. A downhill racer, for example, will run a course in her imagination as many times as it takes train the muscles involved in each turn to react subconsciously and produce the correct reflex when she is on the course.
While competitive sailing skills are honed exactly the same way, noncompeting sailors can benefit from the technique. When approaching a dock, for example, imagine what is going to happen as the boat comes alongside. Do the same in an anchoring situation or approaching a downwind gybe. Thinking a maneuver through completely, with all possible particulars, will always produce a better and more polished final result no matter whether it is doing a dial-up on an America’s Cup starting line or putting a harbor furl on a cruising mainsail at sunset. Charles Mason