Thursday, May 26, 2005


I'm a perfectionist. It's a curse not a virtue. It can make you into a demanding parent, an over-critical boss and an annoying spouse. I only hope that with age I am realizing the risks and reining back the perfectionist tendencies when they are in danger of causing damage. Perfectionism is a disease. Is there a Perfectionists Anonymous?

My perfectionism rears its ugly head whenever I am on race committee. I hate to see sloppy RC work by others. And I also want to manage perfect races when it's my turn to run the show. Of course perfection is unattainable but it doesn't stop me from making myself miserable trying to get there.

I was on race committee duty for Wednesday night racing. It was cold and windy and rainy. Awful weather. Only 5 guys showed up to race. The hard core. My assistant was late. That's another problem with begin a perfectionist; it makes you place an excessive value on punctuality. Then when she arrived she announced she had to go and change. I paced up and down making male chauvinist comments about waiting for women. How could we be perfect if we were going to be late getting the races started?

We motored out the course, checked the wind and dropped the buoys. The wind was shifty so a course that was perfect one minute would be wrong a couple of minutes later. Aaagh. Even the wind is conspiring against me.

My aim on Wednesdays is to keep the races rolling as quickly as possible. Minimum waits between races. If the RC hustles we can sometimes complete the maximum of five races before the wind dies or the light fails. Ahhh - a number to aim for - I won't be perfect unless I achieve five.

So the routine is to compromise in favor of keeping things moving rather than having things perfect. There's no time to futz around moving marks to respond to small windshifts. My course remained pretty good for the first four races but my first three start lines were less than square. No time to fix them - keep the ball rolling.

It was bitterly cold. And wet. I was wearing thermal underwear, two layers of warm clothing, waterproofs, lifejacket - and I was still cold. Somehow the rain was getting inside and soaking my clothes. Even more reason not to prolong the agony.

Our start procedures were spot on. Signals right on time. Early starters spotted and called back. At least we got one thing right.

We got the hang of laying a nice square start line for races 4 and 5. But in the middle of race 5 the wind shifted a long way. I contemplated moving the finish to a better upwind location but was too slow to react so the final leg was a fetch. Aaagh - beaten by the wind again.

Overall I gave us about 6 out of 10 for our performance. But I did overhear one of the sailors talking to another and praising our RC work. Overheard praise is the best kind. You never know whether to trust the sincerity of someone praising you to your face.

God it was cold. Changed into dry clothes. Then off to the Sunset for hot onion soup and mushroom pizza. Perfect!

No comments:

Post a Comment