Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quote of the Day

From a Scuttlebutt interview with Andrew Campbell, US Olympic Laser sailor in 2008 now campaigning in Stars...

You have noted how Laser racing at the marks can be a cross between tactical turns and mortal combat. How did that fit with your personality and sailing style?

Mark roundings can be lawless in any fleet, but the Laser fleet has an especially wild reputation. I learned through 10 years of Laser sailing how to read sailors as they entered those types of situations. Having an understanding of when to assert yourself so that other sailors respect your position on the course, having a firm and confident grasp that you are, in fact, doing the right things usually is enough to establish yourself even in the most wild-westish situations. Also, knowing when to back off and simply let a team make fools of themselves can be the best play. Tactics are as much or more about anticipating the other boat’s moves as it is about planning your own. I am a firm believer in controlling other boats by your actions, but there are great skills to be learned in the Laser fleet by reading other players as they enter the gladiators’ arena at the three-length zone.

Just another confirmation that this guy was playing the game on a whole different plane from me. I never realized before that there was an alternative at crowded hairy mark roundings to the "just close your eyes and shout a lot" approach.

Anticipation? Reading other players? This opens up a whole new world for me.


yarg said...

As you and I stare each other down, size each other up, and instantaneously process the entire rule book at our next leeward mark rounding, some young punk who doesn't care about the rules is likely to pass both of us.

Tillerman said...

Exactly. Campbell clearly has a huge brain that can, in 10 microseconds, read the minds of all his competitors, work out what each of them is going to do as they round the mark, and calculate his own optimum strategy to outwit them...

The only way to defeat that kind of talent is to use my "close your eyes and go for it" tactics. If I don't think how can he read my mind?

Of course this is all hypothetical because Campbell is going to be rounding each mark several minutes ahead of you and me anyway.

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