RS Sailing
Premier Way, Abbey Park
Romsey Hampshire SO51 9DQ
01794 526760
RS Sailing
Premier Way, Abbey Park
Romsey Hampshire SO51 9DQ
01794 526760

By Lynn Billowes – Incessant Goal Setter and Race Coach


It’s the start of 2021 and you’re itching to get back into your RS and hit the water.

You’re ready to take your sailing to the next level, whether that’s finally nailing your roll tacks or getting those mid line starts slick in a breeze. January is the cliché time to set new goals, why not include your passion of sailing in that? Goal setting is really rewarding but we need to be SMART about it.

What is SMART? Smart is an acronym which breaks down the 5 basic steps for setting tangible goals. It’s a great way to get you started if goal setting is new to you!


S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Relevant

T – Time bound



Make sure your goal is specific enough to mean you’re really working on one element of a skill. If your goal is to get better at roll tacks, consider which part of the tack regularly catches you out, is it the beginning, middle or exit?



How are you going to measure if you’ve been successful or not at achieving your goal? Whether that’s working towards 8 times out of 10 you will get a nice pump out of a tack or whether the end of your boom kisses the water every time you roll the boat. Make sure there’s something visual or quantifiable that allows you to know if you’re nailed it or not.



There’s nothing more demotivating than a goal you just can’t achieve. Consider your current racing or boat handling abilities, then set a goal that challenges you but isn’t impossible. You can always set a new one when you smash your goal!



Beautiful downwind kite work is an art but it’s not all that relevant to an RS Aero. Consider the class you’re racing and the types of sailing/racing you want to tackle this summer. Also consider the conditions you’re sailing in, there’s no point working on strap-to-strap tacks in 3knots of breeze. Ultimately keep thinking – how is this going to develop my sailing?


Time bound

Goals need to be time bound. When will you achieve this by? How many sessions on the water are you going to work on this specific goal? If you’re not challenged by meeting a goal by a certain time, you’ll lose motivation.


So you’ve worked hard at your goal and you’ve either hit it or missed it, you’ll know that because you made it measurable – right?


Here are your takeaway questions…


  • How did I hit my goal? How can I develop this skill further or what can I work on next?
  • What stopped me from hitting my goal? How can I adjust my goal using SMART to make it more attainable next time?


Answer those and repeat the SMART process. Happy Goal Setting!

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