OK. Enough of the woolly philosophizing about whether I was sailing faster or got lucky at the Worlds or whether it's all about winning or not. Time to get real and work out what it was that I did differently this year, what went well and what didn't, and what I need to do next.
So why did I do better in 2007 than I did at the 2003 Worlds?
Well, of course, anyone's current sailing performance is a product of everything they've done and so the answer is everywhere in this blog. But if I had to pick out three things that I think made the most difference they would be these...
1. Cabarete. The clinic in the Dominican Republic in January, and especially the experience of racing there in the Caribbean Midwinters after the clinic, gave me experience of sailing in waves that was like nothing else I had done before. I heard several of the other mid-fleet sailors in Roses complaining about how unstable they felt sailing downwind in the waves on the first couple of days of the Masters Worlds. I had to chuckle. Anyone who survived the Fifth Caribbean Midwinters will never fear waves again.
2. Focus on the Laser. For many years I have raced Sunfish and Lasers. Sunfish were the dominant class in inland New Jersey. If you wanted large fleets of top-class competition in a single-handed class they were the game. Of all the days I spent racing, probably almost half were in Sunfish.
At the end of the summer of 2006 I sold my Sunfish, and since then have concentrated purely on Laser sailing. I'm sure it's made a difference. Funnily enough Focus was almost the first thing I wrote about on this blog. Took me a while to take my own medicine.
3. Moving to Rhode Island. When I lived in New Jersey most of my sailing was on inland lakes with the occasional foray to the shore for some bay sailing. Since moving to Rhode Island in May, I have spent the whole summer sailing regattas and practising on the sea. Lake sailing is not the same. I'm sure that the past few months of sailing in waves and chop, instead of the flat water of those lakes, have made me much faster in those conditions.
Geeze Tillerman, that's not exactly brain surgery. You're saying that the way to improve your sailing is to sail a lot in the boat in which you plan to race, in similar conditions to the regatta that you want to do well in? You expect people to read this crap?