The four of us were quite varied in previous Laser sailing experience, but Kurt did an excellent job of giving each of us personal feedback and advice based on our individual needs. In fact in every drill it seemed like he was able to give me some specific advice to improve my performance, and the other sailors seemed to be getting just as much attention as I was.
It is amazing in a way that after over 30 years of Laser sailing I still haven't got it right. But, on the other hand, you don't go to a seminar like this to be told, "You're doing fine. Carry on as you are." Speaking for myself, I was very grateful that Kurt pointed out so many ways that I could improve.
Kurt gave me very specific advice on how I can...
- make better starts
- improve my upwind speed
- do better tacks
- do better windward mark roundings
- improve my speed on reaches
- do better gybes
- improve my speed on runs
- and do better leeward mark roundings.
Hmmm. I guess that pretty much covers everything.
Some of the things he told me I already "knew" but I wasn't doing them consistently or correctly.
Some of the things he told me were aspects of my boat-handling that I felt weren't optimal but I wasn't sure exactly what I was doing wrong.
Some of the things he told me I hadn't heard about before.
As Donald Rumsfeld said, there are known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns.
The truth of the matter is that all this advice isn't going to improve my racing performance unless I go out and practice all the things that Kurt told me to do. Just being told how to do something isn't enough.
Some of the things I can do if I think about them consciously, but they have to be practiced until they are automatic.
Some of the things he told me I can't even do at all, or at least not very well, yet. They need even more practice.
And so we are almost at the start of another summer sailing season.
And I still have the delusion that "this year" I will learn to sail smarter and faster.
This year will be different.