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Sailboat Racing I was recently reading an article in a sailing magazine that had asked its readers to write in with the number one reason they go sailboat racing The results supplied by a few hundred people were not surprising to me The overwhelming reason people named was the stimulating mental challenge racing provides Other reasons - the physical challenge the team-sport experience the social value and the chance to get away - were all rated about equally and a clear second to the mental side Sailboat racing offers unmatched competitive challenge in this regard Tactically under old rules or new a good-sized fleet race provides more possible moves and counter-moves than a chess match between two world champions But then if you superimpose the tactical game onto air and water - then immediately youre crunching some serious strategy scenarios This can be aided by in-depth observations and a knowledge of hydrodynamics aerodynamics oceanography and meteorology Those same sciences also play into the constant opportunity to improve your boatspeed if you can remember to think about both things at the same time When you add basic sports psychology and the head games sailboat racers play you get an idea of how complex it can be For example your game plan is to go to the left side of the course you get a bad start tack away and then convince yourself that the right side might just be better afterall Psychology also applies to crew interaction How well you communicate how well you work together and how well you treat each other is a critical and ever-changing facet of any race There is one more overriding reason why the mental challenge of sailing blows away anything else in terms of complexity Moment by moment you have to take each different aspect of
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