Tuesday, July 15, 2008


On Saturday my performance in the Newport Regatta was awful. I've never sailed so badly. My starts were pathetic, my boatspeed was off, my mark-roundings were amateur, and I struggled at the back of the fleet. The only people I could beat easily were the kid with the loose traveler and the old guy without a clew tie-down. Terrible.

Steve Manson told us in Sailing Flow that it's not about the trophies. Sure, I agree. But when you comfortably make the top half of the fleet in a regatta one year and then are almost last the next year you can't help feeling down. But then you have to look on the bright side and turn to those sailor's consolations...

  1. A bad day on the water is better than a good day at the office. True. But I'm retired now. So I don't have to go to the office any more. What would I have been doing if I hadn't been sailing on Saturday? Probably going shopping with Tillerwoman at the local farmers' market. I've nothing against farmers' markets (or Tillerwoman for that matter) but a bad day on the water is better than a good day shopping with the wife.

  2. What doesn't kill me makes me stronger. I must be learning something thrashing around at the back of the fleet like this, surely? Even if it's only that I ought to exercise more and lose ten pounds.

  3. At least I'm getting some exercise today. I haven't done any running for a few weeks. These days, sailing and gardening are about the only exercise I get. And even a bad day's sailing is more fun than running or working out at the gym. If it weren't for sailing I would just be some fat old guy sitting on a couch tapping away on a keyboard. Come to think of it, I am.......... you can fill in the blanks.

  4. At my age Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were both dead. I'm sixty years old, I still have my health and enough fitness to chase some of the best Laser sailors in New England around a race course all day. I should be thankful.

  5. It's sunny, the sky is blue, the water is warm and I'm out sailing. What is there to complain about?

  6. I'm sailing in the capital of yachting, Newport. There's a lighthouse over there on Rose Island to the west, historic Newport harbor and waterfront in the east, Fort Adams home of the Museum of Yachting in the south, and the spectacular Clairborne Pell Bridge in the north. There are all kinds of classic yachts and former America's Cup 12-meters sailing around. Where else would a sailor rather be?

  7. The bad days make you appreciate the good days even more. If you won every race you sailed it would become awfully boring after a while... I imagine. (I can only imagine such an improbable scenario.) The one day in three years that I won a regatta was only rewarding because it was the only day in three years that I won a regatta.

  8. Failure is a great motivator. "That guy" may be beating me today. But I'm gonna get him soon. Tomorrow is another day. Next time I'll get it right.

OK. You get the picture. How about you? How do you console yourself after a bad day on the water?


JP said...

If just sailed to win I'd never sail - its the fun of being out on the water and challenge of trying to do better than before.

There are a lot of other sailors out there and good ones at that.

I'd say that results can also be random but the consistency of the likes of Ben Ainsley shows that isn't true. Maybe its just the case there aren't many of him around!

My consolation is that I'm doing this as a hobby and as long as I'm good at my day job it doesn't matter that much if we don't leave everyone else behind in our wake.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Very philosophical. Very true for most of us that if we only sailed to win we'd never sail.

But one thing I've noticed. It's always the guys who come in first place who say that winning isn't everything.

Pat said...

...and the guys who always come in second are therefor emore obsessed with winning? On the other hand, I hope there are five fingers.... and I can console for any bad days on the water by remembering worse days off the water. And, I can try to remember and re-live a sense of play and novelty and joy from childhood, when every path and turn might hold new discoveries about the world or about myself.

David said...

Good day or bad day, I just have a beer.

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