Friday, March 16, 2012

How to Beat Winter Hibernation

It was a first for me.

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 fun sailing deliberate practice in the first three months of the year. The earliest I have done that has been April... and even then the water has been frigging cold and I haven't usually seen any other sailboats out on the water.

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.

What next?

7 comments:

Berto Garcia said...

Blog muy interesante de visitar les envio un saludo desde Canarias

Pandabonium said...

My method is to get into the hot furo tub with my toy yacht while K provides wind with a paper fan.

Tillerman said...

While you are both drinking a glass of wine too, I hope, Panda?

Pandabonium said...

I knew I was forgetting something.

Frankie said...

Blog très intéressant que je salue depuis la France... well well Tillerman, still at it, hey! I mean trying to 'improve' your techniques. I guess it is a good attitude to have, but like that other woman you mentioned, I'm asking: what's your goal???? What are you trying to prove? to yourself? to others?... sorry, I know, I'm a pain :-(

Tillerman said...

Welcome back Frankie. Haven't heard from you in a while. I thought I had answered your question in that other post. Why is it so hard to understand? I have no goal other than to please myself by sailing my Laser as well as I can. As I said before, it's like an amateur musician playing a piece of music. There is more pleasure in playing it well than playing it badly. Wrong notes are annoying. Practice in itself is a joy if you approach it with the right attitude.

BlueVark said...

I visited Australia last summer (my UK summer, their winter). The weather in Adelaide and Brisbane was glorious (better than the Uk summer!)i was in t-shirt shorts and shades most of the time. But all the sailing clubs were closed for the 'winter'. I talked to some of the sailing guys who thought we poms were mad when i explained we started sailing early February - as soon as the ice has melted on our lake!

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