Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Laser sailors plan.
Well, if you're a racing sailor and you want to do well in a race then you sure as hell ought to develop some kind of plan before each race. Where do you want to be on the start line? What's your strategy for the first beat? Are you going to go right or left or play the shifts up the middle? Tide, current, wind pressure, wind shifts are all stuff that will help you to create your game plan.
As for me, I'm pretty bad at this part of the game. The first race at BBR on Friday was a case in point.
The fleet launched in an extremely light northerly zephyr for a long, long, drift down Sippican Harbor to the racing circle almost three miles away. It was frigging hot. I was already sweating like a pig at 9 o'clock in the morning. After what seemed like a couple of hours we arrived at the race course and hung around waiting for the breeze to build and maybe settle into some sort of consistent direction. It felt like it was going to be a long day. Did I tell you it was hot?
Eventually the race committee laid a course and a start line in a light north-westerly breeze coming off the shore. I was feeling lazy in the heat. I looked up the course. What's the wind doing? I had no idea. Looked pretty much the same all over the course to me.
Some sailors were sailing up the course before the race, checking out the wind pressure and the shifts and all that good stuff it says you're supposed to do in the books. I was feeling lazy. Did I tell you it was hot? I thought it made more sense to conserve my energy for a long day of racing than go hacking all over the course before the first race. So I lolled in the boat and drank some Gatorade.
My friend Captain Judy came sailing by. She was one of those keen types that had been sailing the beat, doing their research.
"So, what's your game plan?" she asked. (She is a high school sailing coach so she's probably asking her students stuff like this all the time.)
"Ummm. Plan? I don't have one," I replied.
Now I was feeling inadequate as well as unprepared. Then I thought to myself, "Hey, even if I'm too lazy to work out my own plan, I can always steal hers."
So I asked her, "What's your game plan?"
"Go left," she said. "It feels like there's more pressure over there."
Woo hoo. Aren't friends wonderful? Now I had a plan and I hadn't had to expend any physical or mental effort to create it.
I can't really recall what happened after that. Maybe I was dehydrated. Maybe I should have drunk more Gatorade. I had a terrible race and only beat a handful of other boats. It was ugly.
After the race I asked all my friends how they had done. They had all had good results. And when I asked them how they did it they all said, "I got a good start and went left."
Me, I got a bad start and went right. What was I thinking?
What we have here is a failure to plan. And a failure to execute a plan even after I had stolen one.
Oh well, things can only get better in the next race. Surely. Can't they?
Laser sailors, "Plan!"