Meka Taulbee at sailfit.com has a whole series of articles on her website about various aspects of fitness for sailing. At the 2006 Laser Midwinters East she collected information about the sailors' height and weight and reported the results at Wit vs Weight. From the data she collected she was able to find the average weight for ten sailors who finished in the top 25% of the fleet.
For the full rig sailors...
The average height was 6’1/2” and the average weight was 180.4 pounds. One thing that I noticed was that the sailors who weren’t 6 foot or taller were generally the ones who weighed more, while the ones who were 6 foot and over generally weighed less. Most of the heights were pretty close, but the range in weight was actually 35 lbs. Interestingly both the lightest and the heaviest sailor in this group finished near the bottom of the top 25% and the closer you got to the top of the group the closer the sailors came to the average.
Hmmm. Well there's an incentive to get my weight down to something in a more competitive range.
While I didn't sail much with the Newport Laser frostbite fleet last winter, I was on their email list and avidly scanned the occasional 'Words of Wisdom' from the daily winners. Here are some thoughts on fitness from Steve Kirkpatrick...
While I have always been a bit of a workout junkie, bike riding is really good for sailing. My brother forced me to go out for a couple of long rides last week around the Thanksgiving holiday when we were in Long Island. It is amazing how much bike riding increases your ability to concentrate for extended periods of time (cars, potholes, etc. really focus your attention) and also improves your general sense of well being. If you are afraid of road biking (which I was for a long time) swimming, running and rowing are all good alternatives, though less muscle specific for hiking in a Laser. It is important to add exercises that will strengthen your core like sit-ups, as this will reduce the risk of back injury. Remember to stretch out afterwards and drink plenty of water. Working out hard a couple of days a week will pay big dividends in your mental game and will help your stamina when the breeze comes up.
And finally here are more words of wisdom on fitness from Blake Marriner in his Winner's Chalk Talk after winning the day in the Cedar Point Laser frostbite fleet last winter...
I’ve found that working on avoiding getting tired during that last hour in hiking breeze pays big dividends for those last 2 or 3 races. It’s not just the effect of tired legs that don’t hike as hard, it’s also the effect on the mind and your ability to think clearly and make the right decisions. To that end, I try to get in 3-4 sessions a week of aerobic work usually on a bike, riding for at least 50% longer then the normal race (if the race is 30 mins long, I’ll ride for 45 mins). Along with 5-10 minutes of core work, I’ve found that helps keep my results somewhat consistent from the first race to the last.It's pretty clear what I need to do. As I wrote a few weeks ago, It's the Fitness Stupid.
So why am I sitting at a computer writing my blog when I should be working out?
Good question. Bye.