When it comes to on the water success – preparation is everything. Proper planning boosts confidence in your equipment and allows you to focus on your performance. We spoke with the Melges Team’s Andy Burdick and Eddie Cox to see what’s on their pre-regatta punch lists. Here are the top five items that they agreed should be at the top of every competitor’s list.:

1. Get your trailer ready for the road.

AB: At the beginning of the season, make sure your trailer bearings are greased and in excellent condition. If you are making several road trips with your boat, I would make a goal of doing this before each event. No sense spending time on the side of the road when you could be out sailing!

EC: I go so far as to check the bearings after every time the trailer goes in the water. You’re checking for water in the bearings, which would indicate that they need to be re-packed. Be aware that there is such a thing as over-greasing as well!

2. A clean boat is a fast boat.

AB: Upon arrival at any event, I make sure to hand polish the hull and deck brightwork on my boat. The cockpit is vacuumed, clean, and in perfect condition. Equally as important is making sure my spars and blades are clean and polished. I’ll wipe down the mast, boom, and boards with Acetone so that there is no dust or dirt on the rig and rigging.

EC: Making sure the bottom of your boat is clear of any water spots and scum lines is key. My secret is to use a mixture of water and vinegar to take off any water spots. If the boat is staying in the water for the regatta, I prep the bottom with McLube Hull Kote.

3. Take the time to tune your rig.

AB: Be sure to do this on flat ground with your boat being level or better yet in the water. Go for a practice sail, then check the rig again. Be sure to tape off your turnbuckles so they cannot move once set.

EC: Getting your boat properly tuned is one of the biggest aspects of regatta preparation. Your settings should be something that you experiment with and fine-tune during your practice sessions and club races – well in advance of any big event.

4. Carry spares.

AB: It’s good to have extra equipment on-hand, so you don’t miss a race or so that you can help a fellow competitor. Your spares kit should include shackles, sail repair tape, extra forestay and wire main halyard, and extra rope halyard.

EC: Start by thoroughly checking over your boat including all hardware on your spars and hull. Check your side stays and main halyard for any broken strands that would indicate they’re in need of replacing. Even with this preparation, it’s good to have spares on hand in case any unforeseen situations occur on the racecourse.

5. Set Goals.

AB: Better tacks, mark roundings, or even something as simple as asking for advice from fellow racers. List your goals and then create a plan for each individual goal. If you do this, you will see improvement for sure.

EC: Set both short and long-term goals for your performance. Think of your short-term goals as stepping stones for your long-term ones. Above all, make sure your goals are clear, concise, and measurable.

All of the above tips are about controlling what you can as sailing is a sport of uncontrollable variables. Knowing when the warning signal is, when you are going to arrive, and where you are keeping your boat are all items that if planned ahead can lower race day stress levels and help you focus on sailing.