Thursday, March 21, 2013

This Year Will Be Different...

Two weeks ago, three friends and I spent four days at a Laser sailing seminar run by Kurt Taulbee of SailFit in Clearwater Beach, Florida.

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.

Won't it?


O Docker said...

I think past a certain point in life, all we can really count on are our delusions.

The Imperative Voice said...

When do they have seminars? They're on a list of places like ISA in Mexico I want to try but when I check their site it's always Watch this Space for their next seminar and then I come back a few months later and it's the same.

Even big league baseball players who practice a lot feel like they go in and out of their mechanics. Noticing your mechanics are off is the first step. Was watching GoPro of one of my first outings of this year and noticed I'd forgotten many a thing from the previous year, and because I'd GoPro'd that too I could even shame myself with the old tape.

It's never perfect but particularly if you don't work at it, it can't be.

Tillerman said...

SailFit used to run public seminars in March and November. But, as you say, there are no dates on their website any more. So I emailed them and asked about seminars in March and said that I might have a few friends interested, and Kurt laid on a private seminar for us. Even better!

If you are interested I suggest you do the same. Or just arrange one-on-one coaching with him.

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