Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Random Thoughts on the Number Ninety Four

It's the last day of the year and as I look out of my office window at another big snow storm with a gale warning in effect this afternoon, it's pretty clear that there will be no more sailing for me in 2008.

So I failed to make my target of 100 days of Laser sailing in the year. I only made it to 94.

Thanks to everyone who encouraged me along the way in my quest for 100. There were many helpful suggestions, most of which I ignored. Sorry about that.

The 100 day thing started because I noticed, when I read in the Laser sailing class magazine about some of the top Laser sailors, that many of them sailed at least that many days in a year. So I wanted to see what it would be like to make that kind of commitment to Lasering and whether it would make me a better sailor in the process. And even though 94 is not 100 I think I sailed enough days to learn something on both counts.

I did get a feel for what I need to do to prioritize sailing to the point where I could come close to 100 days in a year, how to fit it in with other activities in my life, how to choose the days to sail.

In not achieving the target I learned something about how to plan my sailing through the year, realizing now that I should have done more in the "good weather" months.

I'm going to do an analysis in another post about the kind of sailing that made up the 94 days... solo practice, group practice, club sailing, regattas etc. I suspect I will learn that I ought to make some adjustments in that mix in 2009.

I learned that when you set yourself a target it can become an end in its own right, sometimes to the detriment of the underlying reason for setting that target. I have to admit that some of the sails were short sessions simply to tick off another day. Not that I didn't enjoy them but from the perspective of training I ought to focus on quality of each session as well as sheer number of sessions.

I think I did become a (slightly) better Laser sailor by sailing so many days. I fixed some of the faults in my technique. I won a Laser regatta in a bigger fleet than I have ever done before (still not huge and still not against top competition but it's a step in the right direction). I took second place in my age group in one of the toughest regional Laser Masters regattas. A solid year to build on.

I also learned that I am a wuss. I learned that, being retired and able to choose almost any day to sail, I tend to choose to go solo sailing on sunny days with winds between 5 and 15 knots. I don't sail on my own when it's raining, or a drifter, or 20 gusting 30. But race committees run races on days like that so I really ought to bite the bullet and go and practice on days like that too.

I learned that 100 days is not too tough a target and I'm going to have another shot at it in 2009.


Greg and Kris said...

Following your definition, I fall solidly in the wimp category, which is hard for an old inside center to take.

I'm going to try and keep track this year, myself, although I suspect we'll be somewhere around 40-50 days. And if we race it will be a beer can thing with our friend Shannon the Real Sailor.

When I've pursued these sorts of things (similar to your quest) in my life, I found the limiting factor for me was how much time I was willing to trade off from my family and friends for my own goal. I'm curious if that factors into your final analysis of what it would take to achieve the goal.

Or did you just refuse to give up the time on the couch with the Cheetos and Murder She Wrote reruns?

Andrew said...

I'm impressed by your ninety-four. I started counting, I even copied your sail-counter images idea, and was very happy to make it forty days. We did get 46 days barging in too, but I'm not going to give that up to sail more. Not yet, anyway.
I look forward to hearing what you learned by sailing so much and I look forward to all the other stuff too.
I reckon you'll make 110 days in 2009.

so said...

happy new year t-man
don’t worry if you do not make it to 100, still loads of respect from here.
you were one of the factors that got me re-interested in Laser sailing again.
i was on vacation in Denmark looking for a place to rent Lasers for the kids and ran into you.
A fun read for sure.
i had a Laser in the late 70’s or early 80’s so it has been over 25 years away from the magic laser.
but after reading your blog, stalking the local Laser site (Park City Laser Utah ), sailing on borrowed boats i finally bought a boat on ebay---a 1992 for $700, if you are not in a hurry you can get lucky.
the guy used it 10 times and then donated the sale of it to his local church.
anyway happy new year and thanks for all the wacky fun that can be had on proper course.
also a while ago you talked about sailing in all 50 states you could not go wrong sailing with the park city group in a high mountain lake but I say maybe mix it up and sail in lake powell in southern Utah.
the winds are shifty and a bit messy at times but the scenery is surreal and super fun to explore.
It is one of favorite places on earth
Best to you and your family t-man,

PeconicPuffin said...

Congratulations on your most sailed year to date. This wasn't a great year for wind imho...last year I had 130 days on the water, this year a measly 82. (82 isn't measly, of course.) My last session was more punishment than pleasure, but I'm still grateful for it!

Here's to more wind and water time in 2009!

EVK4 said...

94 rocks. Think about what you would have done other than sail on those short days just to turn the counter....I'm sure it was the best choice.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations for all these days of sailing, I admire you for doing it, not so easy ! happy new sailing for 2009;
bernie from France

MachineAge said...

Congratulations on a solid and impressive 94 days, and thanks for your continuing efforts 365+ days a year to bring us the play-by-play. In some ways that may be as or more impressive. After all, you could always have typed less and sailed more but what good would that do us...your demanding readership? I've very much enjoyed your blog since discovering it this year and look forward to an entertaining and irascible 2009.

BTW, not to alarm anyone prematurely, but there is already a new crisis looming on the horizon: 2009 was the last year for the 2-0-0-X double-zero celebratory glasses!

Fred said...

CONGRATS to the 94 days!
That is a great achievement. I was inspired by your idea, also copied the sail-counter idea as Andrew did and will keep it going. Will try to beat my own "odd" number of 64.
Keep up the good things and have a Great Year with the Family and the sailing!

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