In an oscillating breeze, use the median wind to position your boat against competitors if possible. Being to leeward and ahead of a competitor positions your boat for a gain in an upcoming header. Being on the weather hip of a competitor positions your boat to gain in an upcoming lift. Look to be sure there is enough runway for the shift to occur and the gain to be made without reaching a layline first.
Many of us have been out sailing at times and see a storm off on the horizon, look at the radar and think that we are okay because the worst of it is going to skirt past. How many times does a catch us off guard and come in a little closer and we think, or have a little more punch than we expected it to? If you're caught off guard by the spring squalls or a simple summer storm; are we really prepared for it and have we prepared our crew for it? We've all played out scenarios in our head of what we would do if we get into a bad situation, but are we really ready for it? If you're out sailing or racing and a 50-60 mph squall rolls through, what would you do? If you're in the bay or offshore you can run with it and may have enough room, but if you're in the lake we run out of room really quickly. Can you get your anchor quick enough? Can you drop your sails fast enough? Will your engine start? Can you get it from down below? What do you do if you or your crew gets separated from the boat? What if you're able to keep your boat in control and you notice someone else, possibly a friend, is out of control or in a dangerous situation? How would you respond? Do you have faith in your crew? Do you trust your captain to make the right decision?
Many of these questions some of us will never need to answer, but some of us have had to. Even the best prepared and most experienced can be caught off guard and be the victim of turmoil. In many of these situations, a calm decision maker is crucial for getting everyone through the situation safely. One should know how they handle high stress situations and have an idea of how their crew will handle them also.