Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Sunday was a perfect day for sailing but instead I went for a run.

That's not quite one of the ten things I said I will never write on this blog. But it's close.

What's the matter with me? Sunday was a relatively warm (for New England in February) day, with winds around 10-12 knots, and they were racing just down the road in Newport. Perfect for sailing. So I went running?

I seem to have lost my passion for Laser sailing. Temporarily I hope.

I don't really know why, but I suspect it's a side-effect of my attempt to sail my Laser on 100 days last year. I only got to 94 but it seems to have left me with little ambition to do any more Laser sailing for a while. I'm all Lasered out.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised... but I am.

It's not that I didn't use to enjoy Laser frostbiting. I sailed in the cold. I sailed in the snow on days when I had to chip ice off my boat before I could rig it. I even won the Ironman Trophy at my old frostbiting fleet in 2002 for sailing more races than anyone else in the fleet that season. I was a frostbiting fanatic
, the craziest of the crazy, the hardest corest of the hard core. We even chose the location of our new home in Rhode Island partly because of its proximity to Newport and the Laser frostbiters there.

Maybe I'm not all Lasered out. Maybe I'm just a wuss. My excuses for hardly doing any frostbite racing in the last three seasons are varied and numerous. We were moving house. I hurt my back. I hurt my toe. It's too windy this weekend. It's not windy enough this weekend. My grandson is getting christened today. We are babysitting my granddaughter today. I'm sailing in the Dominican Republic and Australia and Florida this winter so I don't need to sail in the cold. And so on. And so on. Pathetic really.

But last Sunday I had no excuses. Other than I just didn't feel like it.

Will my passion for Laser sailing return with the spring? Is there any cure for this malady? Am I getting old or just turning into a wuss? Am I all Lasered out or just lazy?

To paraphrase another of the ten things I said I will never write on this blog,
I don't find Laser sailing exciting enough any more so I am going to... what? Sell my Laser and buy new running shoes?



Anonymous said...

Are you a SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder) victim? I too find it harder to get motivated to sail in the winter. My excuses have been a knee injury in combination too much wind and snow in combination with longer travel time than in summer. Sunday I ran out of excuses and went. As we rigged the wind was about 15, so I tentatively decided to wimp out with a radial rig. By the middle of the first race the wind started to die down, eventually moving down to about 10 for the rest of the day. The radial was a disaster after that. In spite of the obvious lack of boat speed, I salvaged the day with some good starts and some runs where I lost little or nothing to the full rigs. It’s hard as a competitor to spend two hours behind the fleet as a consequence of one bad (especially cowardly) decision, but it sure was nice to be out on the water again, and it was a great day of sailing. Like every other day of frostbiting, no matter how tentative or “not in the mood” I was at the beginning of the day, I drove home with a big smile, very glad I went.

O Docker said...

You know, we humans can get so smug sometimes. Sure, we're in control, we're calling the shots, we're deciding what we do and when - masters of our own domains that we are.

But, what's going on here? On almost exactly the same day, Bonnie and Lonnie Bruner posted about how they've had just about enough of winter. And you're wondering if Lasering is worth it anymore. And Adam is suddenly raising large questions about what's really important in life. What do you all have in common? You live where it's freakin' cold, that's what.

Old man winter is messing with your heads. I don't know if it's the length of days, the angle of the sun, pheromones, hormones, or whatever it is that makes all the crocuses pop up at the same time, but something much larger than all of you is pulling some strings and probably having a good laugh over it.

Now Edward and Zen and Cap'n John and I just had a great weekend blasting around the Bay in shirtsleeve weather without a care in the world. I have a hunch that if you folks got to someplace warm, you'd be fretting less, too.

Pull yourself together, man. The sun will come out tomorrow. Well, maybe not in Portland.

Pat said...

Now, how long has it been since you went out sailing with a kid?

Or any other sailing buddies?

Solo sailing in unpleasant conditions is a real challenge to motivation... even if Laserists are more used to the solo thing than most.

Anonymous said...

Yarg - good point. I'm sure the season has something to do with it.

O Docker - good points too. I do need to get away to the sun at some point each winter.

Pat - I think the opposite is true. The event I skipped on Sunday was racing with my buddies. Actually I think I did so much solo sailing last year that I've become somewhat addicted to the peace and solitude it entails. By contrast, the prospect of mixing it up with 30 other Laser dudes all competing for the favored spot on the start line and the inside place at the marks is now less appealing than it used to be.

Carol Anne said...

Tillerman, I get that way sometimes too. And as Pat has demonstrated, he doesn't always understand.

Sometimes a break is needed. Rest. Time away. It doesn't mean you're giving up on Lasering. It just means you're regrouping. You're not going to be doing yourself any good if you force yourself to do something when your heart isn't in it. That's more likely to make you hate it, to the point that when you do give up, it's a big crash with no redemption.

So take a break, and don't feel guilty about it. Help Tillerwoman out in the garden. Spend gobs of time with the grandkids. Sail some, but only if and when you feel like it.

At this point, a lot of people would assure you that eventually you will snap out of it. I can't give you that assurance, primarily because I have never snapped out of it myself. I was told that there was help in snapping out of it, but the antidepressant drugs and the psychotherapy did nothing for me except cause unbearable side effects and deplete my bank account.

Just live for what's important to you right now. We, your faithful readers, hope that you will continue to keep up this blog, even if you're not sailing. Who knows, maybe you have a gift for fiction or poetry that you haven't discovered?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Carol Anne. I had to chuckle at your advice (from sunny New Mexico) to help my wife with the gardening! Here in Rhode Island, we haven't even seen our garden for weeks because of the snow. And even if we could see it, the fanatic gardener, my wife, would not be out there today doing a spot of weeding with the Real Feel wind chill below zero F. But I have been helping her out with her other passion, cooking. I am now known around here as The Sous Chef. Hmmm. Maybe I should start a cooking blog.

Anonymous said...

Don't throw away the Laser yet.

With all the sailing you did last year and the end of your goal, your brain just needs time to reboot, reevaluate and find new directions and motivations. Sometimes we just need a breather, even from the activities we love.

It won't take long before you are itching to sail again, even in the cold.

Andrew said...

Maybe it helps to know that there are others struggling with the question 'what is Proper Course?'

Andrew :)

B.J. Porter said...

Don't ditch the laser yet, but there may be some other way to scratch that itch for a while.

Winter is a downer in our part of the world for a sailor - especially if you are like me and unwilling to don a dry suit like you Laser frostbiting nuts. This time of year it seems like forever until we are back to the heaven of midsummer sailing.

I walked away from racing a few years back. At the time all I seemed to think about was racing the boat. Other priorities intruded though, and I saw what that time commitment was doing to them. I still do the occasional race but not on my boat, not all the time. For me it's now cruising with my family that is the "obsession" - still sailing, still on the water every weekend we can. Just not the same intensity.

Do something else for a will pass, or turn into something new, different, and maybe better.

The O'Sheas said...

Hey! The sun did NOT come out today in Portland. How did you know, O'Dock?

I will remember all of this when I'm sailing around in between Capricorn and Cancer, my friend.

Grey isn't even a color. It's a 'scale.'

Carol Anne said...

Alas, my sous-chef has gone off to Arizona. Maybe you could visit here.

Captain John said...

Your obsession with the # of days sailing, the fact that OCSC was closed between Xmas and New Years, and the cold, dreary nature of the weather in December in Northern California, those all combined to put me into a similar funk at the first of the year. Then Anne came down and sailed with someone else that first weekend of the year.

EVK4’s ‘Fiasco Blogger Division’ saved me. The warm, drought like weather, the concept of double handing a J109 with a sailing buddy: I sailed sooo much in January, I couldn’t even think of catching up my writing until now.

Tilly, my advice is to buy some new shoes, and then go run so much that sailing your laser in the snow and ice will seem like a holiday. Find the balance, even if you can’t find the sun.

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