Monday, October 01, 2012


The last two times I have spent a couple of weeks at Minorca Sailing, I have spent one week taking Laser classes and doing Laser racing, and the other week learning to sail asymmetric spinnaker boats like the RS Vareo and the RS 100. It was fun learning to sail a totally different style of boat.

But a couple of weeks ago, while chatting with my son about this year's Minorca Sailing trip, I found myself pondering whether I should do Laser sailing and nothing but Laser sailing for all two weeks in Menorca. "I wonder how much I would improve my Laser skills if I took Laser classes every morning for two weeks and spent every afternoon racing Lasers and practicing Laser sailing."

I think my son thought I was going crazy.

Maybe I am.

It's probably a symptom of my recent change in attitude to Laser sailing that I wrote about in Swinging Back...

For the last couple of years I seem to have had the attitude of, "I only do Laser sailing for fun. I am a crap Laser sailor and will always be a crap Laser sailor. I don't even have the stamina to sail all day at most regattas and it's OK to quit before I get really tired. I only do Laser sailing for fun."

Now I seem to be swinging back to thinking, "It may be a delusion that I can become a better Laser sailor but it will be fun trying to improve my sailing and racing skills. If I can really focus on Laser sailing I might actually not be quite such a crap Laser sailor."

In any case, I'm not going be sailing the RS series boats in New England. There's no sign that their sales are taking off there. So why bother to learn to sail boats that I can't sail back home?

So that's the plan this year in Menorca. Sail Lasers all day every day for two weeks and see what difference that makes.

Well, that was the plan until Sunday, the second day of our vacation when a heavy rain storm hit the area on Sunday morning and sailing was cancelled for the morning.

In the afternoon we sailed two races, in Lasers of course.

I learned two things (or maybe it was really one thing) about starting on a pin favored line.

In race 1, I learned that it is a really good strategy to start a little way up the line from the pin, with a good gap to leeward to accelerate into, so that you don't get tangled up with the boats desperately trying to luff around the pin, and so that you can power right over the top of aforementioned luffing boats and look back at the sad little faces of the sailors in aforementioned boats. Children can be so cruel at my age.

In race 2, I learned that it is a really bad strategy to start so close to the pin that you can't lay it and have to try and luff round it, and then you hit it and have to do a 360 before you even start racing and then you have to look at the transoms of the whole fleet disappearing towards the horizon. Children can be so cruel to people of my age.

But it was all good experience.

After a hot drink with something alcoholic in it and a hot shower and a bit of stretching and a bit of a nap, it was off to Ca Na Marga for some tomato soup and steak kebabs all washed down with a bottle of red Spanish plonk.

Life is good.

I think I'll take a nap now.


O Docker said...

I think the key to improving performance in any endeavor is identifying your core strengths and building on them.

In your sailing lately, you seem to be very solid at consuming hot drinks with something alcoholic in them, eating at Ca Na Marga, and drinking Spanish plonk.

Focus on these strengths and everything else will come around.

Keep Reaching said...

You say you are a crap Laser sailor - presumably you say that because you win less than you would like to. Is that a decent measure of crap or not crap? Get a perspective and get over the notion that anything less than top of the fleet is crap. You are experiencing sailing via a Laser and that alone is certainly not crap. You are a true sailor - and being a Laser sailor is the cerise sur le gateau. Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Would love to be in your (sailing) shoes right now. Minorca Sailing has so much to offer, as you well know. All these different types of boats. As an example, getting better at sailing an RS-100 will help your brain at multi-tasking on your Laser, I imagine...
But stay away from that SB3; it's a bit of a dog, IMHO.


Tillerman said...

It's all relative KR. I have to keep reminding myself that, living in Rhode Island as I do, I am always racing against and practicing with,some incredibly good sailors, both dedicated Laser sailors, and professionals and champions from other types of boats who sail Lasers in our winter frostbite fleet.

Against them I am rubbish. At Minorca Sailing I get to sail with (mainly) normal people. it's a refreshing change!

Tillerman said...

Thanks Wavedancer. I did sail the SB3 last year and found it a lot of fun.

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