Now that the summer is winding down in North America, perhaps this is a good
time to start planning next years racing. Taking a systematic approach to your
campaign will improve your standings and increase your enjoyment.
What do you want to do? What is racing to you? Are you a budding young rock
star with aspirations of a career in racing? Are you a regional champion hoping
to take the next step or are you a club beer can racer just trying to do a little better? Every campaign should have a vision statement, a short phrase that
sums up your attitude and aspirations. What do you want from racing?
Mad Max has had a wonderful
six years racing with the vision, "First is Fun!" We are just local bear can
racers, but we have given our best every time we went out. Our Vision
Statement says that we intend to try to win this race (yea, like everyone
else), but we are not rock stars, we don't get paid for this, we don't have
careers to further, we are here to have fun.
Your Vision Statement will likely be different, maybe "The Next
Generation" for a new boat campaign or "Boot-camp" for a learning experience.
Try to make your vision short and snappy, something you might print on your
t-shirts and something other than the name of your boat.
If your vision represents your goals and aspirations then your Strategy is a road map to your destiny. It is your plan and should include general direction to help you focus your efforts. Make a list of improvements you would like to see in the upcoming season. Things like:
Improve boat speed!
Better crew work
Compete in more races
Notice that at this level of planning your not saying how you will improve boat speed or crew work, just that these are your goals. Knowing what you would like to improve will help you focus your resources.
Now you know what you want to accomplish so it's time to refine your strategies into projects. Let's say your strategy is to improve boat speed. That might
translate into a project to sand your bottom and apply a racing formula bottom
paint and another project to buy new sails and another project to adjust your
rigging better and so on. Keep your projects small enough that you can and will finish them. Keep you projects reasonable. Putting a $10,000 bottom on a $12,000 boat might be considered extravagant.
The last process is to divide your projects into tasks. Say your buying new sails this year. Your task list might include searching the Internet for sailmakers in your area, taking a trip to the next boat show or meeting with your regular sailmaker about the last generation of sails and how to improve on what you've learned. Your task list can be prioritized and scheduled. Checking off completed tasks tracks your progress and provides a sense of accomplishment for you and your crew, even if you're not winning races.
Completing this exercise should present you with a detailed picture of this year's campaign. Now review your projects. Add up the costs and time allocated to each task. Can you really afford to spend that much? Do you really have that much time? Having an overall plan will help you focus your resources and concentrate on the important projects, making the most of your limited resources. Clearly stating your goals and turning them into reasonable projects gives you the opportunity to measure your progress and understand what is and is not working. Knowing where your were, where your are and where you are going makes the whole trip more enjoyable.
What does a Campaign look like when you put it all together? Here is our plan for next year.