Me sailing in a Laser Masters Worlds with my
serious Laser Master sailor game face on
When I was leaving the sailing club on Wednesday night, one of the other members wished me well in Kingston. Obviously he assumed I was sailing in the Worlds next week because all of my friends are.
"Thanks," I said, "but I'm not going to the Worlds this year. I've done six Masters Worlds and I seem to have got it out of my system. Crossed it off the bucket list. I've retired from Masters Worlds sailing."
And that's about the truth of it. I have sailed Laser Masters Worlds in the USA, Mexico, England, Spain (twice) and Australia. I've had some great times at those events. Had many experiences that were worth blogging about. But I do seem to have lost the desire to go to any more of them.
Not that I've lost the desire to sail. That seems to be as strong as ever. This year I am sailing the RS Aero as well as the Laser and also enjoying the experience of belonging to a sailing club again and racing regularly in the club pursuit series.
And I haven't lost the desire to travel to sail. At the end of this month I'm off to complete another item on my bucket list - sailing in the Columbia River Gorge. And I've been thinking a lot the last week or so about sailing travel plans for this fall and winter.
I place my six Laser Masters Worlds in the same category as the three marathons I have run. I was excited to challenge myself by doing both. I had some amazing experiences doing both. I am still sailing. I am still running. Just done with Masters Worlds and marathons. I think.
Tillerwoman and I were chatting the other night about which Masters Worlds we each had enjoyed the most. We both chose the 2008 Masters Worlds in Terrigal, Australia.
There were many reasons, not least of which is that we both are very fond of Australia and we took the opportunity on that trip to travel to a lot of other places in the country too. And even though I didn't do particularly well at the regatta, on the last day I had some kind of out-of-body experience that reminded me of all that is good about Masters Worlds sailing. I wrote about in Never Failed to Fail.
I wasn't having a great race but halfway up the second beat I had one of those zen-like moments. For a while I forgot I was in a race and just reflected on my blessings...
1. I'm in Australia in the middle of the northern hemisphere winter.
2. The sun is shining and the sky is blue without a cloud in sight.
3. I'm sailing on the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific! (For a kid who grew up in a grimy working class town in middle England, the idea that one day I would sail on the Pacific Ocean was about as likely as that I would land on the moon.)
Typical view in grimy working class town
in middle England where I came from
4. The wind is perfect, the waves are challenging but manageable. Champagne sailing conditions.
5. I have my health and fitness and can still play this game even at my age.
6. I'm surrounded by the best bunch of guys on the planet, the other globe-trotting Laser grandmaster zealots.
I just enjoyed being in the moment and to hell with my position in the race.
Hmmm. Maybe I am not totally done with Master Worlds sailing after all...