Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Grinder

If Friday at the Buzzards Bay Regatta was just one of those days when you had to give a whistle while chewing on life's gristle, Saturday made up for it with the kind of winds that people come to Buzzards Bay for. Fifteen to twenty knots out of the south-west. Decent waves. Hiking hard upwind all day. Catching rides on the wave downwind (although perhaps not quite as good for Laser surfing as the windiest day at Hyannis the previous weekend.)

We completed four two-lap windward-leeward races with beats about 0.7 miles long... and that was enough for most of us. Even one of the fit young kids said to me before the last race that he wanted one more race and then to go home to bed!

I must admit I am enjoying sailing in this kind of weather much more than I did a few years ago. There was a time when I was getting mentally tired (as well as physically tired) with all that slogging upwind again and again, and I have even been known to pack it in after three races as I did on the second day of BBR last year. But now I am really enjoying hiking hard and working the boat through the waves upwind and grinding down the opposition, and I certainly didn't want to go in early and miss any of the fun.

Am I fitter than I used to be? Maybe. I've been sailing a lot lately and running in the hot weather more than I did last year.

Is my technique any different? Perhaps. I think I've finally taken to heart the advice I got from Rulo at Cabarete a few years ago that I need to work my upper body more in waves upwind.

Whatever the reason I am having a lot more fun sailing upwind in 15-20 knots than I ever used to. And I am able to hang in there all day with the kids.

My results weren't all that fantastic, with finishes varying from 11th to 15th in a 25 boat fleet. But, hey, I think I was the oldest sailor out there so that means I was beating a bunch of sailors who were more than 40 years younger than me. Not too shabby.

During the regatta, I met a couple of readers of my blog that I hadn't met before, Steve from New Jersey and Penn who mainly sails on Cape Cod. It's always very gratifying to meet readers in real life.

After the racing on Saturday, Steve complained that I had been grinding past him in every race. I said that I hadn't realized that I had been doing that and that it was nothing personal.

"How old are you?" he asked.

"Sixty three," I said (after a moment or two while I struggled to remember my age.)

"That pisses me off even more," he laughed.

Thanks Steve. You made my day!


Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Awesome, Tillerman!

Pandabonium said...

Wow. That's sugoi (great).

As for me and any kind of upwind grinding battle, I can only echo the words of Chauncy Gardner, "I like to watch".

Fred said...

Great to read. Seems you are back as a role model instead of being the old fart... which you sometimes claimed to be...

tillerman said...

No, still an old fart Fred. Just an old fart having even more fun than he used to.

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