Monday, December 02, 2013


Any of my readers who have followed my accounts on this blog of racing at Laser Masters regattas are probably aware that at these regattas the sailors are broken down by age and sex.

As far as age goes, we are usually competing against people in our own age group. The age groups are...

Apprentice Master (age 35-44)
Master (45-54)
Grand Master (55-64)
Great Grandmaster (65+)

There has been some discussion about adding another category for sailors over 75. There aren't many guys who are still sailing Lasers competitively at that age but it seems like it is more common than it used to be. I wasn't aware that anything official had been done for the over 75s until I looked at the results and sailing instructions for the Laser Masters Worlds currently being sailed in Oman. It seems there is going to be an award for the top sailor in the over 75 age group and they are calling it the Amazing Great Grandmaster prize.

After the first two days of racing, currently in line for this award and, what is more amazing, also leading the 38 sailors in the Laser Radial Great Grandmaster fleet which is open to kids as young as 65, is my sailing buddy Peter Seidenberg.


Update #1: Fran and Peter Seidenberg sporting local Arabian attire in Oman.

Update #2: Check out this story at XS Sailing about another amazing great grandmaster at the Masters Worlds in Oman, 81-year-old Haruyoshi Kumera from Japan.

Update #3: Peter did win the Laser Radial Great Grandmaster World Championship (by 19 points over his nearest rival) as well as the Laser Radial Amazing Great Grandmaster award. Truly amazing!


Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Amazing? I'd call it awesome!

torrid said...

I was once at one of those large regattas where you just take the first dolly the shore staff hands you. I received one that had "Seidenberg" written on the strap. I swear that dolly had a certain aura or glow to it. I hoped some of it would rub off on my boat, but it didn't.

George A said...

Classic Moth guys tend to be old farts. We have a fair number in the 65+ age group (and that group keeps growing). We have had guys still racing in their 80s but that seems to be the point where one's balance and flexibility fail to keep up with tippy dinghies, particularly as the breeze pipes up. I'll be 67 in three weeks and I'm hoping to have another 20 years of good racing left. We shall see.

Tillerman said...

Interesting George. Does the Classic Moth class do age group awards, like the Laser Masters?

George A said...

My reply disappeared into the vapour. I'll try once more...

We have awards at our Nationals, down in Elizabeth City, NC for "Masters" and a "Founder's" award. The Master's awards acknowledge the two top 65+ sailors and the Founder's award is given to the oldest competitor regardless of how he finishes. I've not won either of the Masters awards--no news here--I rarely beat most of those guys before we turned 65! I might yet live long enough to "win" the Founders award--sort of like an old man in the village near where I grew up--one day I asked him if he had any enemies and he said "no". When I pressed him as to how he'd lived so long without crossing anyone he replied "Oh, I've made my share over the years, but I've out lived them all!"

Tillerman said...

LOL. I'm having the same experience in Lasers. I have this delusion that I should do better as I move up to older and older age groups in the masters hierarchy. But, guess what? All my competitors are moving up too. For example, if I had gone to the Masters Worlds in Oman this week I would be in the same fleet as multiple world champion Mark Bethwaite, just as I was in my first World Masters 13 years ago in Mexico. And I am never going to beat him, even if we are both competing as Amazing Great Grandmasters in 10 years time.

I guess my only hope is to outlive everybody.

/ Pam said...

Tillerman you might be fairly screw being your age. I've been observing that at open regattas, the older Masters tend to win more than the younger Masters and non-Masters. I've asked Doug what he makes of that and he says there has been a bubble of talent that has been making its way through the class for years. When he was younger, it was the younger Masters that were winning more often and as he's gotten older, its the older Masters that are now winning. I think if you go back for years and years, you'll find that the same group of sailors (GMs and GGMs now) have had more success over the years than other age groups. You just happen to be the same age as alot of very talented sailors that just don't know how to act their age.

MYCSunfish Fleet said...

Don't discount the old guys. I regularly get my butt kicked in the Sunfish class by guys in their 70's and 80's. Pete Beckwith, Gordon Geick and Paul Odegard blow me away all the time.

There is an old adage in the Martial Arts world that says that as the distance between the competitors increases, the age when one achieves mastery gets higher. It is said that Judo and Karate people reach their peak in their 20s-30s, Aikido in their 40's, Kendo in their 60's-70's and Kyudo in their 80's. I attended an international Kendo camp when I was in my 30's. The 70+ year old lead sensei had suffered a major stroke the year before. He could barely walk, needed help getting his equipment on and could only hold the two handed shinai with one hand. People were lining up to face him, and he proceeded to clobber all comers. He made quick work of me, and as I was walking away, my own instructor, who was about 10 years younger and a bunch of grades higher than me, came up and said "Don't feel bad, he beat the crap out of me too."

Tillerman said...

Oh, I don't discount the old guys. I think Doug/ Pam are right. There is a group of LASER sailors of a certain age who started sailing Lasers as much younger men, became very good sailors then, and have been able to maintain their fitness and skill levels as they got older. The group of Sunfish sailors who MYCSF mentions are a little older but it's much the same phenomenon.

The irony of this AGGM category is that Peter doesn't really need it. He stands every chance of winning the GGM fleet. One of my twitter followers said that he found this whole concept of Amazing GGM to be "condescending." I hadn't thought of that but I see what he means. Having an AGGM prize sort of implies that someone over 75 couldn't possibly beat all the sailors 10 years younger, which clearly isn't true.

Does anyone else find it "condescending"?

torrid said...

If the AGGM is "condescending", then so is the entire Master's age bracket structure.

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