What's the point?
All this Laser racing. I never seem to improve. It's a delusion that I can ever learn to sail smarter or faster.
I looked at the results of the US Laser Masters Nationals at New Bedford a couple of weekends back. Deja vu all over again.
The first major Masters regatta I sailed in the US was the 1990 Nationals at Lavallette in New Jersey. I was tenth in my age group... a mere Apprentice Master (under 45) back then. Folks like Had Brick and Peter Seidenberg took home the trophies. So where was I in the results this year? Tenth in age group again... now an aging Grandmaster (55-65). And Had Brick and Peter Seidenberg were on the podium again.
Zero progress in eighteen years. Why do I bother?
I looked at the names of the sailors ahead of me in the fleet at New Bedford (not just the Grandmasters). I recognized ten of the eleven names immediately above mine. I've been sailing against these guys for two decades. And they've been beating me for two decades. It would be depressing if it weren't so pathetic.
Why do I bother?
Looking on the bright side...
- I was in the top half of my age group. So that's a good stake in the ground for qualification for future Masters Worlds (through 2013 perhaps) just in case they change the rules. I'm not Unqualified yet.
- I did discover one major flaw in my technique and have an idea on how to improve it. Maybe I still can sail smarter and faster one day?
- I did beat that guy in three races. So I wasn't a total bozo in every race. Maybe I can beat him in a regatta at least once this season?
- And, in spite of everything, it was enormous fun. I don't know why. It just was.
Maybe I won't sell my Laser and buy a rocking chair just yet.