Monday, August 03, 2009

Ari Barshi Wins Hyannis Regatta

Almost three years ago I wrote a post Commitment Questions contrasting the differences between training to run a marathon and training to achieve a certain goal in a major sailing regatta. There was some very interesting feedback in the comments, including one long comment from a guy named Ari who talked about his approach...

At the age of 38 I decided to start racing the Lasers. I used to race 'Windsurfing' when One design classes were still around, until I was 23 years old. My goal was clear, practice enough to be a contender at the age of 45 for the Masters worlds.

Like many others I was searching for the way. Couldn't find it.

With the support of my wife we hired an elite coach, bought 15 Lasers, a coach boat and opened the Laser Training Center. Actually as owners of a windsurfing club in Cabarete, Dominican Republic since 1988, the "jump" was not too deep.

Some of the best Laser Open competitors trained here with us in the past 3 years, and more have booked for 2007. Our coach is able to build the right program for every sailor, after a few days of sailing coaching in Cabarete.

Masters have to be fully committed, and be able to match Open sailors in some conditions for a good part of the course. I will be 45 for the next Masters worlds. Will I be ready? Only if I race regularly in big fleets and traveling is quite an obstacle for me at the moment.

I had the pleasure of attending Ari Barshi's Laser Training Center in the Dominican Republic in 2007 and 2008 and wrote about it extensively here. See Cabarete. I've also raced against Ari in various regattas in the US as he pursued his plan to gain big fleet racing experience as well as training in his own home waters. He was going well in last year's Buzzard's Bay Regatta until his mast broke...

Photo stolen shamelessly from Judith Krimski's Facebook Page
(I'm sure Judith is not laughing at Ari hauling his disabled Laser up the beach behind her.)

So I was delighted to see that, this weekend, all of Ari's hard work paid off as he topped the Laser fleet at the Hyannis Regatta, ahead of some other very distinguished Laser Masters sailors.

Well done sir! And good luck in the Masters Worlds later this month.


Anonymous said...

Last year in a prize giving ceremony, a Canadian Master sailor congratulated the organizers, and said that this was the best regatta he attended since his Opti days.

Ignorance was a bliss, when I began training. Not knowing the history of the other sailors was an advantage. ( i did know one guy's name was bear, which seemed quite frightening).

I am lucky to have coach Rulo as an inspiration, and a supporting wife named MJ.

Thank you for the kind words, but I am now 47 and the pressure is still on Al Clark, Scott Fergusson, Peter Vessela, Steve Cockrell, Terry Nielsen, Andrew Pimental, and Mark Jacobi. (not to mention that an AUS or NED up-front never surprised anyone).

see you on the water.

Tillerman said...

Ari, the dirty little secret of of the Laser Masters Class is that it doesn't get any easier as you get older.

If you were 10 years older you would be up against Mark Bethwaite, and if you were 20 years older you would be chasing Peter Seidenberg in a Radial.

Of course when you are actually 20 years older you will still be battling with Bear and Follansbee and Ferguson and Cockrell and the like, not to mention Andy Roy and Jan Scholten who will also give you a run for your money in Halifax.

Good luck!

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