- took the time to analyze my weaknesses
- really understood how wind makes sailboats move
- learned some tricky tactical moves
- tried to think like a champion sailor
- practiced tactics using an on-line simulator
- brushed up on the Racing Rules
- played mental tricks on my opposition
- did more Laser sailing in a year than I had ever done before
- and so on and so on...
It's time to finally face the truth. The real reason why I am not as good at Lasering as I would like to be: it's the fitness, stupid. Laser sailing demands strength and stamina and flexibility and agility and I don't have enough of any of the above.
Take, for example, my spectacular screw-ups on the last two days of the 2008 Laser Masters Worlds in Australia, as described in gory detail in How Many Times I Have Fallen and Never Failed to Fail. The posts are about two days of racing at the end of a long regatta. It's clear to me now that the reason I made stupid mistakes at mark roundings that ruined both days for me was, very simply, that I was tired. If I had been fitter then
- I would have been hiking harder and sailing faster on the beats and reaches early in the races, and so would not have been (literally) tangling with the tail-enders late in each race.
- I would not have been so worn out near the end of each race that my decision-making became so distinctly dodgy and my boathandling so blunderingly bad. (Not to mention my awfully asinine alliterations.)
So what to do? Well, there were some slightly helpful answers in the comments to my post on 565 Days and Counting, in spite of the somewhat flippant tone of most of the commenters on that post. Anybody would think that I'm not serious about this Laser sailing lark.
So, with a little help from my friends, I think I've worked out the solution. But this post is already too long, so to read the answer you will have to wait for another day. Which gives you a chance to give some more sarcastic and derogatory advice in the comments...