Started Sailing

I have a sailing regatta in a week and I am utterly terrified! What can I do?

by Olivia Lorenson
(Dover, Kent)

I only started sailing about 10 weeks ago, with some friends from school. There is this sailing regatta near where I live that my friends pressured me to sign up for, but I am so scared! I know I am sort of ready, but whenever I get into the dinghy boat (I am the boat crew), I get all freaked out and jumpy, even when the boat moves a little.

What can I do to calm my nerves? I can't back out, because my friend (who is helming) is counting on me, but I have been worrying about this for a few days.

Hi Olivia and thank you for submitting your question on our free Ask The Expert page!

When I started racing i always had a bout of pre-race stomach butterflies and I still do now. The idea of racing brings out the butterflies of nervousness, because you are always thinking that you have to do well. Its like on sports days where you feel really nervous in your belly before you run, because you want to do well. All you need to do is take a few calming breathes before you set off.

Make sure you also trust your helm. Tell him/her that you feel uncomfortable when the boat heels and if he/she could be more careful when heeling the boat not to alarm you.

Finally, reassure yourself that you will do well. Read some more of this website that lists techniques that you can use in your regatta to build up your confidence a little bit. In your first race, you are always going to be a bit scared of not doing your best. So instead, over perform! You have a week in which you can train hard with your helm and your friends should give you loads of assurance that you will be fine and do well.

I really hope that you do very well in your regatta and that you will get over your pre-race jitters and perform to the best of your ability.

If you have any more qualms, why not check out the Sailing Dinghy page to get some more ideas on how to do well in your race and also my experiences of racing, if you haven't already done so.

Good Luck!


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Feb 20, 2009
Thank you so much!
by: Olivia

Hi Alex

Thank you soo much for the encouraging comments! I really like your idea of telling my friends about whats going on inside me. I text them now. I will keep you updated with my regatta and if we do well. My helm and I have been practicing all day and I am getting better at standing the heeling movements of the boat.

Thank you for your support!


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