Personally I hate waiting for anything. But it's an inevitability at many large regattas. We wait for wind. We wait for the RC to adjust the course. We wait for other fleets using the same course to get their starts off. We wait while other fleets using the same course have a gazillion general recalls.
etc. etc. etc.
So what to do.
1. Hydrate. Very important on a long day of racing, especially if the weather is warm. Sometimes the RC will hand out water and sometimes you have to bring your own drink. Whatever. Drink something between every race. Dehydration will degrade your racing performance and make you feel weird too.
2. Pee. You did read #1 I hope. After drinking gallons of water, eventually the time will come when you have to get rid of it. We all do it. But if you are a man and are going to stand on the transom of your Laser and unzip and wave it around, then sail a distance away from your fellow sailors. We all have one. Well most of us do. But we don't want to see yours.
3. Eat something. Whole screeds have been written on what to eat during exercise that lasts several hours. Sometimes we race more hours in a day than it would take us to run a marathon. Nutrition experts will lecture you on what to eat and what not to eat. My own personal advice would be to find something that works for you and stick with it. Personally I like Clif Bars and those energy gels that long distance runners use - especially the ones with caffeine. What do you like to eat on the water?
4. Stretch. Some people are quite skilled at doing all those fancy yoga stretches on a Laser but I never seem to manage them without falling off the boat. I should practice this more.
5. Watch the other fleets starting. As Yogi Berra said, "You can observe a lot by watching." What's the bias on the start line? Which side of the beat seems to be paying? Stuff like that.
6. Plan your strategy for the next race. What are you going to differently?
7. Chat to your friends. Talk about baseball or where you're going for dinner. Tell some jokes. Sail over to that weird looking dude and ask him if he's Tillerman. Talk some trash about other sailors. You could even ask some of the good sailors what they did in the last race. You might learn something.
8. Relax. This is my favorite. Get your bum in the cockpit and stretch out. Sometimes other sailors even think I am asleep. Maybe I am sometimes.
9. Watch out you don't get run over by a mommy boat. Especially if you are asleep. Enough said.
10. Pull up your hiking pants. They always slip down when racing. At least mine do.
11. Check out your boat. Is anything working loose? Coming untied? Falling off? Ready to break? Maybe you can do some emergency maintenance before the next race. You do carry an emergency kit don't you? Seriously, I was in a race this season where another Laser sailor had his mainsheet break! You think there might have been a few warning signs first?
12. If there's no wind and it's a hot sunny day and it looks like there is going to be a long wait, then strip off, hang your sailing clothes on the boom to dry, and work on your suntan.
13. Put some more sunscreen on. Preferably before #12.
14. Play. You did bring a frisbee and a water gun didn't you?
15. Have a beer. I have raced at places where the RC hands out beer to Laser sailors between races. Personally I have never indulged until all the races were over. My sailing performance is bad enough without being under the influence too. But whatever rocks your boat.
16. Pose for the photographer boat.
17. Work out exactly what you are going to write on the protest form about that fooking idiot who fouled you in the last race.
18. Get yourself fired up for the next race. Talk to yourself. Mutter your mantra.
Update Sep 19: This post was first published on Sep 17 as Waiting - 18 Things. An anonymous commenter suggested another 9 things to do (some with photos to illustrate them) that are so good that I have added her contributions to the list and changed the title of the post.
19. Check all the GoPro cameras and other gizmos on your boat and body.
20. Use one camera to make better photos then the photoboat (and charge nothing.)
21. In case you misinterpreted the wind for the race you just finished, change the 'boat mode' eg the mast rake or goose-neck (Sunfish!)
22. Clean your sunglasses.
23. Cool your feet.
24. Read a newspaper (or SI or ..)
25. Do Yoga exercise.
26. Discuss your sailing with your coach.
27. Do some swimming
Thanks to Hertogenbosch for her contributions to this post. (Note the new policy on this blog: anonymous commenters will be assigned genders and names at random by the blog owner.)