Friday, August 06, 2010


Laser sailors work harder.

Tuesday night racing this week delivered the best winds this summer so far. A solid 15-20 knots out of the SW that held up all evening. Sadly, only five of us were there to enjoy it.

The first couple of races I found myself off the pace upwind and I was fourth in both races. Before the third race the wind picked up a tad more and I told myself, "You're tall, you're heavy, just hike your socks off and blow them all away." (OK, you're the oldest sailor here too (by far) but just forget that.)

So I reached down to the rabbit, hardened up around his transom and started hiking and working the boat like a demon. I channeled all those videos of "real" Laser sailors torquing the boat through chop, throwing my upper body out and back on every significant wave. Coach Rulo at Cabarete told me that one of my faults was that I was "too quiet" in the boat upwind. Well, I wasn't "quiet" in this race. It certainly felt fast. Surely all this work must be worth it? After a minute or two I was huffing and puffing with all the effort. I glanced over my shoulder and saw that I was sailing faster and higher than all the other boats and that I could easily cross them. Another minute or so of a-hiking and a-torquing and a-huffing and a-puffing and I tacked, crossing the fleet easily. I arrived at the windward mark in first place. Woo hoo.

It must have been windier than the first two races because halfway down the run I heard a splash and looked back to see that my closest competitor had death-rolled. Woo hoo again. I surfed down to the finish winning the race by the largest margin that evening.

One sailor went home after the second race (broken tiller) and another packed it in after the third race (tired.) And then there were three.

I lost count of how many more races we sailed after that. The wind strength held up and in every race we were close at the windward mark and close at the finish. Perfect winds. Hard close racing. Race after race after race. Great training.

And so I confirmed what all the books say and all the coaches say. If you want to go fast upwind in moderate to heavy winds and chop, then you have to hike hard and work the boat. The harder you work the faster you go. Simple really.

Laser sailors, "Work harder!"


JP said...

Congrats - sounds like great racing and you've got over that cold :)

Antolin said...

you the on the other hand...I am getting there but not as fast (pun intended). last night we had about 10 knots, variable directions and a confused chop due to the summer squall that blew from the South 2 hours before the race...South is the longest fetch up the bay and it sure churns the waters up. I managed to beat a flying scot boat for boat (he is a newbie) and corrected over another flying scot by 21 secs.!! talk about sustained efforts. Buzzy the other laser sailor is very good and he beat me by almost 4 need to try harder and sail smarter!! have a great weekend Timonel

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Yo de man, Tillerhombre!

Unknown said...

Go Tillerman! Reminds of one time I was playing hockey. I was new to that rink. I stepped on the ice and thought to myself "oh look somebodies grandfather decided to.....whoa there he goes right by me and everyone else" The guy was in his late 60s, but looked like he was in his 80s. I learned after the game that he was an ex pro and easily the best hockey player around, probably the best I ever skated with.

Baydog said...

You're not getting older, you're getting faster.

Congrats on the extreme sports award, BTW!

O Docker said...

Congrats on the win.

By the way, I've noticed you've ended your past three posts about Laser sailing with exhortations to Laser sailors:

Laser sailors, "Work harder!"

Laser sailors, "Have feelings!"

Laser sailors, "Eat bananas."

You would make life easier for scholars, post-grad researchers, arhchivists, and perhaps even tomorrow's American lit students were you to tag this series of exhortative posts accordingly.

Just saying.

Tillerman said...

O Docker, well spotted. There is a kind of a plan where all this is heading. All will be revealed in due course (or proper course.)

Tillerman said...

Baydog, thanks for the congrats. I'm not sure they are deserved. I have a sneaking suspicion that the extreme sports blogger award thing is all a scam to get me (and others) to put up a link to some website about commercial online schools. But I am so vain that I will ignore that possibility and proudly wear the badge.

Baydog said...

Badge? You don't need no stinkin badge! You're an extremely sporty dude, Tillerman, and as long as you're locked in for a minimum of 3 years at $12,495 per year, payable
at the onset, what's the fuss?

Pat said...

Will there be a "Work Smarter!"?

Or a "Party Harder!"?

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