It was a long sail out to the Laser circle at the Hyannis Regatta last weekend.
By the way, Brian Raney mentioned this issue in his brilliant write-up of the Hyannis-based Laser North Americans in the current issue of the class magazine, The Laser Sailor. What a gifted writer. He made the regatta sound so superb that I hardly recognized it. And I was there.
Where was I? Where am I? Oh yes. Long sails out to the race course.
It's a dirty little secret of dinghy racing that you can spend many hours on the water for a relatively short amount of time actually spent racing. This is not meant to be another anti-race-committee rant. A lot of this time not spent racing is inevitable. If the racing area is a long way from the launch site then you can easily spend two hours of the day sailing to the racing circle and back.
I'm not sure how I feel about this so I interviewed some of my closest friends. Here's what they had to say...
Testy Ted complained: What a waste of time. I come here to race. All this time getting to the course is just a pain. I'm going to be tired out before I even start racing. I need a mommy boat to tow me out.
Indifferent Ian responded: Hey, it's just part of the game. Chill out. Relax. We'll be racing soon enough.
Logical Len mused: You came here to sail didn't you? Well, you're sailing aren't you? Just shut up complaining and enjoy it.
Learner Larry explained: I can use all this extra time on the water. On the upwind sail to the course I can tune my beating technique. Then on the run back to the club at the end of the day I can try different methods for catching rides on waves. One hour of upwind and one hour of downwind? That would be a good practice session on a non-racing day.
Earnest Eddie enthused: This is a great workout. Much more fun than running or biking or working out at the gym. And much more specific to sailing. Every hour I spend on the water I'm just getting fitter and fitter.
Restless Ron asked: Are we nearly there yet?
Mad Mike ranted: This is a terrible place to sail. I'm never coming back here. Over two miles to the course and having to dodge all these ferries and don't even mention the fog. What a drag.
Anal Alan suggested: We should calculate the ratio of time spent racing to total time on the water. For example, today we were on the water six hours for three thirty minute races. That's about a 25% productive racing percentage. They should publish the percentages for every major regatta so we could see which ones give us the best value for the time spent.
Neighborly Ned asked: Hey Tillerman. Let's tune up together on they way out to the course. We can check out the shifts and the tides and work out the best way to work the waves. Isn't it great to have an hour to do this before we have to race?
Of course Ted, Ian, Len, Larry, Eddie, Ron, Mike, Alan and Ned are all just voices in Tillerman's head.
Is that a problem, doctor? Yes, I hear nine different guys arguing in my head. I shouldn't worry about it? It's completely normal to hold mutually inconsistent opinions? Lawyers and politicians do it all the time? OK. Thanks doc. That's a relief.
Oh, and I talk about myself in the third person. Is that normal? No, I thought not.
Hmmm. I think I must have been in the sun too long last weekend.