Scuttleblog raises an interesting issue in a post about Paige Railey entitled Bad Habits. For those of you who have been living under a stone for the last few months, Paige has recently won honors as ISAF Female World Sailor of the Year and US Sailing Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, and is one of the two leading contenders for the US spot in the Laser Radial class at the next Olympics. On the other hand she has been disqualified from two recent major Laser Radial championships for illegal use of kinetics. In each case she was flagged three times by the umpires for violating Rule 42.
Read what Scuttleblog has to say, but also go to Jobson Sailing and click on Rolex Laser Radial Moment under Online Video Reports. There are some aerial shots of Paige sailing and an interview about this issue with her. Sounding remarkably composed for someone just bounced from a major regatta she calmly explains that she was trying some new things that were "not good" for the judges.
What do you make of this? Everyone accepts that to perform at the highest level in the Laser and Radial classes you have to push the limits of what is acceptable in using kinetics to propel the boat. Does Paige not know the limits? Does she not know how to adjust her game after the first two flags in a regatta? Is this, as Scuttleblog implies, a "bad habit" of hers?
Or is she actually playing an ultra-smart game by trying out different techniques prior to the Olympic Trials and the Olympic Games in order to assess what the limits of acceptable kinetics are and what the judges will call? As in many aspects of sailing -- and life -- do we need to cross the line before we know exactly where the line is?