Since moving to Rhode Island in 2007, I've not done a lot of sailing in January, February and March. They have this season called "winter" which tends to induce in me a state of partial hibernation. Might be inherited from my caveman ancestors who would huddle in their caves under animal skins with their women and eat woolly mammoth fat in the winter months. (I made that last bit up.)
The first three months of the year have typically been the time when I've traveled to somewhere a little further south, like Australia, to sail. Three years in March I've been to a Laser clinic in Florida at SailFit with Kurt Taulbee. Some years when the mood has take me I've done a bit of frostbite racing in Newport in these months. The mood hasn't taken me very often.
But I have never, ever just gone sailing in Rhode Island waters on my own for a bit of
But yesterday I went Lasering on my own in Rhode Island in March.
Maybe I was inspired by the SailFit clinic at the beginning of the month. Maybe I was inspired by my own post about the benefits of solo practice. Maybe I was fed up with my attempts during the last few days to get all the members of Tillerman clan to agree on what house we should rent for a summer vacation. (Who would have thought that three guys with my genes could be so difficult?) Or maybe it was just a nice sunny day with unseasonably warm temperatures.
So I toddled off to Fort Adams (site of the America's Cup World Series this June) and rigged up my boat and went for a practice in the natural amphitheater of Newport Harbor and off the iconic Newport waterfront. I tried to apply what I had written in that post about deliberate practice. Focused on a few boat handling skills and worked on them the same way I used to practice learning a new piece of music on the guitar. Definitely got better at one thing. Definitely got worse at another thing by trying to change my style as recommended by a certain coach. But I think that's to be expected; one step back before two steps forwards.
There were a couple of sailing teams out on the water too, a high school team and Salve Regina University's sailing team, I believe. I did my best to keep out of their way. Noodling around the web later yesterday evening I came across this video about Practice Philosophy and other good stuff featuring Salve's coach John Ingalls. You will probably learn more from listening to him than by reading any more of my ramblings.
So, it was a first for me.