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.