Thursday, July 30, 2009

What Are Sailing Coaches For?

Ideal World

Bender, in a comment to my earlier post I Love Sweden, gave an excellent definition of what the role of on-the-water coaches should be doing during regattas...

It is about observing the skills of the sailor so as to provide a future training direction. This is the true role of the coach.

Real World

The thread at the Scuttlebutt Forum about the US Optimist Nationals has several comments by observers at the regatta about some sailors apparently bailing repeatedly with an empty bailer.

Jagarth explained why and where they got the idea...

What I observed wasn't an occasional action, it was repeated 40, 50, 60 times in a row with an empty bailer, and it induced noticeable leech popping in around 8 - 10 knots of air - conditions where bailing wasn't necessary, and conditions where such actions clearly had an effect on boat speed and pointing. Those doing it were pointing higher and moving steadily to windward of those who weren't. What do you think? Is that cheating or not? I asked a couple of coaches about it afterwards and they acknowledged that they were teaching their kids to flaunt the rules whenever the judges weren't looking at them.

There are times when I despair for the future of the sport I love.

4 comments:

Mark said...

One word, "Helicopters".

Tim said...

I wonder what satisfaction there is in competing when you are cheating in this way?
Do they realy get away with it? Or do they just teach themselves bad habits for life?
I'm sure there are a bunch of politicians in the UK that wish they had not 'bent the rules' in the way they did when claiming thier expenses!
Cheats realy only ever cheat themselves of quality of character.

Tillerman said...

Well said Tim.

What was I thinking when, in my former life as a sailing instructor, I actually taught the kids in my classes how not to cheat, and specifically how to sail without breaking Rule 42? I was clearly not preparing them properly for life in the fast lane of the "real world".

jbushkey said...

The really sad thing is this is indicative of society at large. One need look no further than Goldman Sachs or most any other corporations to see that lieing, cheating, and stealing has become the accepted, if unspoken, norm. Our society promotes getting ahead no matter the cost. Playing by the rules is out. Not getting caught is the objective these days. Almost makes you want to cheer on the collapse so we can start over no?

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