Don't get discouraged. The others probably have many more races under their belts. Racing a Laser is a step up (several steps up?) from sailing one.
Most importantly, there's nothing like time on the water.
You'll get better. Try hard to copy the best guys and to research why they are doing what they do (as you seem to be doing).
When I got into Lasers, I'd go out and watch the bronze medallist training. At first I'd just watch him go by as I struggled, then cut a corner and catch up and analyse what he was doing.
You pick a couple of things; break them right down; visualise what it would feel like to do them; then go out and train. This may be something like working the mainsheet hard enough. You can actually go out, and just concentrate on doing that (or rather, over-doing it then under-doing it to get a good feel for the right amount).
Once you have an idea about one technique, look for the next thing the top sailors do that you don't, and practise that.
Buy Eric Twiname's "Sail Race and Win"....best book ever on sailing. It's all about how to learn.
kind of what most everyone else says...
do not be discouraged. i have had my ass handed to me so many times, but as time goes on you will notice that the distance between you & the leaders will decrease.
like someone mentioned before, many of your competitors have been doing this since before they could walk. it becomes innate with those folks & you may never or rarely beat them, just take notes on what they do.
as the saying goes, even a blind squirrel gets a nut every now & then
I started bad very bad...I got better...now I'm bad again..don't worry about it have fun. I have been doing this for about 34 years if you worry about it you won't have fun then you won't sail much and never improve.
Just sail your best and enjoy yourself...then you will improve for sure.
All good advice, but in all cases they are talking about investing a lot of time and energy. A simpler solution would be to encourage a friend or someone else that knows even less than you to take up sailing and racing with you. Then at least you won’t be coming in dead last all the time. Think how much better you’ll feel about yourself and your sailing abilities when you look back and see someone behind you.
Instead of just lamenting your back-of-the-pack status, set believable goals for yourself knock them off one by one: "Next regatta, I'm gonna beat at least 2 other sailors" -- "I'm gonna get a front-row start" -- "I'm gonna round the leeward mark without capsizing" -- "I'm gonna sail the boat FLAT all the way up the first beat..... and so forth.
Also don't worry so much about how you stack up against the other people racing. Some of them have been sailing and racing for 30, 40, 50 years, others are kids with Olympic dreams and all they do is train and practice. Follow the advice everybody here has given and measure your progress against how you did last race/month/season/year/ whatever. A good learning curve can be immensely satisfying, and only you know what the top of that curve is going to be.
Agree with the others, remember everyone has to start somewhere, I'm in the same boat (well, not literally!) and currently come in last most of the time, but the margins are definately shrinking with each race. I'm using this time to watch the other guys, follow their laylines, look at their settings etc. and creeping up there. I'm no threat right now, they know it, and so are more than happy to help me with hints and tips etc. And because I don't expect to win, some of the pressure is taken off.
yeah i've been there, but "tristanaus" was right, water time is every thing, try going to your local sailing club/school and see if thay have a weekly racing night. thare are also many books that can help you learn techniques. so go out and practice practice practice
yah the only way i canimagine somone winning their first regatta is if you and a group of other kids are sailing in your first ever opti gren fleet reggatta and you are all from the same club and team and you just happen to be better than everyone else cause someone has to win.