Thursday, November 04, 2010
Should I Race My Laser Again Next Year??
That's the title of the latest post on Jay Livingston's Laser Sailing Notes blog. Jay's posts always make me think. He has a way of focusing in on the key issues and questions, especially those relevant to older Laser sailors like him and me.
Should I race my Laser again next year? What's "should" got to do with it? I will if I want to. I probably will. But in trying to answer that first question "Should I Race My Laser Again Next Year?" Jay poses a whole series of other questions that are designed to help any sailor decided what they want to do with their sailing next year.
Good questions. Deep questions. Questions that make you examine your priorities. Questions that will help you get the most out of your sailing next year.
I'm going to ask myself those questions, and ramble on here for a while with the answers. It may take a few posts to work through them all...
Jay says that in his career, coaching executives and other high functioning individuals, he has found it very helpful to use an approach called Appreciative Inquiry (inquire into what you should appreciate, what your strengths are, the positives). The idea is to not just identify all the problems, but to start with a recognition of what you do well, what you enjoy, what you’re good at.
So he asks the questions...
What did you enjoy this year? What was the most fun you had on your Laser this season? The most satisfaction?
I sailed some local regattas, and the Masters Worlds in England, and I did a lot of solo practice. But I think the two kinds of sailing I enjoyed the most were frostbiting in January and February, and practicing with the small group in Bristol on Tuesday evenings in the summer.
That I enjoyed frostbiting in the dead of winter was a total surprise to me. At my old frostbiting fleet in Connecticut, they didn't sail in January and February, but at Newport we sail all winter. Strangely enough I didn't feel all that motivated to go racing in the so-so, blah, cool, cloudy days of October, November, March and April. But in the bitter cold of midwinter, when there was snow on the ground and ice on the buoys some weekends... I wanted to go racing. And I loved it. When I told some fellow Laser sailors in the summer about this they looked at me like I was nuts. Am I Strange?
The other times I had the most fun this year were the Tuesday evenings in Bristol. Small fleets. Rabbit starts. Tough competition with some of the best Laser sailors in the area. Lots of races. And then off to a local pub or restaurant for dinner and a few beers and lively conversation. I don't know why I enjoyed these outings so much. Sometimes I won. More often I didn't. The social aspect was certainly one reason it was so much fun: plenty of banter on the water as well as off. Also there was less "down time" than in the typical regatta because there was hardly any waiting between races, and the area we race is only a short sail from where we launch. I think the fact that nobody keeps score (although we all remember our good races) is part of the reason it was so enjoyable too. Maybe I'm not such a competitive Type-A personality as I was when I was younger.
What does all that say about what should I do next year? Only sail in January and February and on summer Tuesdays? I'll have to think about that one.
A couple of other questions that Jay asked were, "What core skills did you develop or discover? What improved?"
Hmmm. That's tougher to answer. I think that will have to wait until the next post...