Monday, September 22, 2014
"Don't do stupid stuff" may not be a organizing principle for planning a campaign to be the best Laser sailor on the planet, but it sure is a mantra that can radically improve your results when racing in a small local fleet.
Two Sundays ago I raced with the Duxbury Laser fleet. I only did one really stupid thing (capsizing while tacking - don't ask - I have no idea why it happened) and I won a number of races and was first overall for the day.
Yesterday I raced again with the Duxbury Laser fleet and did lots of stupid stuff. As a result my results were abysmal. But I still had fun.
Somehow I won the first race. I did that last week too. Maybe I warm up and get in the groove faster than the other sailors. But it was all downhill from there.
In the second race I was OCS and had to go back to restart. In a close fleet on a short course it only takes one incident like that to dump you way down the fleet. Actually I don't really count one OCS in nine races as stupid stuff. I almost take pride in it because it shows I am being aggressive on the start line and I did have some very good starts in the other races so that was all good.
In the next race I tried to cross a starboard tacker on the beat and he just clipped my transom. That's really stupid stuff. I should know better.
I did my 720 for that incident. Later in the day I asked the fleet captain whether the local rule was a 360 or a 720 for boat to boat rule violations. Turned out it was a 360 (as it is in some other local fleets.) Not knowing the local rules (or reading the SIs) is more stupid stuff.
In another race I was behind two boats coming into the gybe mark. I figured the outside one would round wide and I would be able to follow the transom of the inside boat and sneak inside the outer boat. I was wrong. He closed the gap on me. I ended up going the wrong side of the gybe mark AND hitting it. Duh! More stupid stuff.
Then there was another race where I was leading and I was heading for the right hand gate mark on starboard tack, but another boat managed to get an overlap to windward of me on what would be the inside well before we entered the zone. So, as leeward boat, I sailed him way to the right of the mark, gybed and entered the zone clear ahead. I was pretty pleased with myself for about a millisecond, until I tried to gybe again and round the mark. I dropped my tiller AND rounded up head to wind AND hit the mark AND snagged the mark's line with my rudder (don't ask - I have no idea why it happened) AND dragged the mark upwind a few boat lengths before I figured out what was happening. Quintuple duh! Lots of stupid stuff. The other guy was so disgusted at my antics that he wisely decided to keep well clear of me so he went round the other gate mark and beat me handily as did most of the rest of the fleet by the time I had disentangled myself.
So yes. I did lots of stupid stuff yesterday. If I hadn't done so much stupid stuff my finishes would have been so much better.
On the other hand, look on the bright side...
Tillerman's stupid mistakes were fodder for much hilarity and teasing over beers at the Milepost Tavern later. I suspect it will take me a few weeks to live it all down. I am pleased that I am able to afford my friends so much amusement.
We do learn from our mistakes, don't we? I figure the memories of yesterday's mistakes are so seared in my mind that I probably won't make the same mistakes again for a while.
And when I do lots of stupid stuff, at least it gives me something to blog about.
PS. Yesterday was my 42nd day of Laser sailing this year. My regular (male) readers know what's coming next…