Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mission Accomplished


I did it!

It took me 26 years of Laser sailing, 16 years of Sunfish sailing, 7 World Championships attended (3 Sunfish and 4 Laser Masters) in 5 different countries on 3 continents, but I finally achieved my goal of finishing in the top half of the fleet at a World Championship.

Phew!

Not such a great achievement you might say. True. But not all of us are naturals at the sport we choose. And I have been banging away for years trying to raise my game to this level so I feel a moderate sense of accomplishment in having actually made it.

I first wrote about The Goal over a year ago. At that time it was anticipated that the 2007 Laser Masters Worlds would be in Portugal but in December it was announced that they would be held in Roses in Spain. No problem. Different place, same goal: finish in the top half of the fleet.

At my first world championship, the Sunfish Worlds in 1996 in the Dominican Republic I actually finished 102 out of 111 boats in one race. That's a pretty depressing sight, to see 101 boats cross the finish line in front of you. Why didn't I realize then that I had no talent for this sport and give up? I dunno.


Then at the three previous Laser Masters Worlds in which I raced (Cancun 2000, Hyannis 2002 and Cadiz 2003) I had never been able to score better than around 75% of the way down the fleet. Finished every race, beat the tailenders, but I was always one of those back-of-the-fleet guys.

To be honest I wasn't all that confident I would do any better in Roses. In spite of writing here about my Commitment to do better in the 2007 Worlds, I didn't feel that I had done as much practice as I should have or worked enough on my fitness. (Hmmm. Maybe it would be more honest to say I didn't really work on my fitness at all?)

But in the end it all came together OK. I made the top half of the fleet. Not by much to be sure but I definitely moved off that 75-percentile plateau and can start to think about clawing my way even further up the fleet in future years.

Thanks to those readers who left comments on various posts encouraging me in this quest and persuading me that my modest goal was still a worthy one.

Tomorrow (if I can find the energy) an excruciatingly boring day-by-day race-by-race account of how Tillerman clung on by his fingertips to the midway mark of the fleet through a six day regatta, slipping back some days, making gains on others.

A post which only his mother would find of interest.

Pity she doesn't ever use the Internet or even know what a blog is.

9 comments:

bonnie said...

Cool.

So, what's next...

Top third?

top quarter?

hmmmm?

PeconicPuffin said...

Congratulations! I know what it is to love something that doesn't come naturally (the love comes naturally, but the skills to do it that others seem to pick up with little problem can take me years to manage, much less master.)

Bravo.

Fred said...

You have done great!
Keep up the good work Tillerman!

JP said...

Congratulations Tillerman - you did great! The key thing is you went for it and achieved your goals.

Go on, tell us about it tack by tack (we can always page down) ;)

bonnie said...

Hey, is that a Laser in the National Maritime Museum Cornwall?

(ok, I'm officially procrastinating from starting on a short but focus-requiring project)

(btw - seriously, congratulations. I was being flippant in the first comment but really, that's great. And even with the move sort of distracting you for a while!

Tillerman said...

Thanks for your support guys. It means a lot to me.

I don't see a Laser in that pic bonnie... just some sailing dinghies that I can't identify. But thanks for the link to South West Sea Kayaking. What a cool blog. The author even has that terribly endearing habit of saying, "Hmmm" from time to time.

Team Gherkin said...

Congratulations, and thank you for your simple refreshing encouragement :)
Cyalayta
Mal :)

Zephyr (Sail) said...

congrats my friend...it's a true joy to see a long sought goal realized...now what's next??

Brian said...

GREAT JOB, Mr. Top-Half! It's definitely due to your hard work and commitment that you've improved. Don't short-change yourself!

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