Friday, October 08, 2010


This blog has always been about a delusion. It says so over there >>>> in the sidebar. The delusion that it is not too late to discover how to sail smarter and faster. The delusion that if if I read all the right books and watch all the right videos and practice hard and pick the brains of good sailors and work with good coaches and race a lot... that I will become a better Laser sailor.

I realize now that I was deluded about my delusion.

My experience at the Laser Masters Worlds last month brought it home to me. It's not only a delusion that I can become a better Laser sailor; it's also a delusion that I can even maintain my own (already mediocre) level of sailing ability as I get older.

I thought my delusion was that I was on an uphill slope. Now it turns out that my real delusion was that I even on level ground. In reality I'm on a slippery downhill slope trying harder and harder not to slide down too fast.

Or am I?

You, my wonderfully supportive readers, gave me all kinds of advice on how to deal with my disappointing performance at the Worlds, especially my failure to sail in half the races.

There's the "results don't really matter, you're only doing it for fun anyway" advice. There's a lot of truth in that. But if you spend all that money and travel 3,000 miles and only sail half the races, it doesn't feel like a hell of a lot of fun either.

There's the "switch to a Laser Radial at the next Worlds" suggestion. Some of my contemporaries have already gone down that path. It's worth considering.

There's the "face your failure and learn from it" argument. It's a good point. Every competitor goes through bad patches. The real measure of the athlete is how he deals with disappointing results and what he learns from them. I've been thinking a lot about that in the last couple of weeks.

The good news is that my random thoughts about where I go next with my Laser sailing, what my ambitions should be, how I should train, what kind of races I should enter etc. etc. will provide fodder for a few more blog posts over the next couple of weeks...

Watch this space (if you can bear it.)


Sam Chapin said...

Tillerguy, I will give you the outline I have for a blog coming upone after next if I live that long. It is about how to have FUN maybe not win. What is all that stuff about winning anyway. Who cares??
1) Smile-- big.
2) Laugh
3) Sing
4) say "Hello" to everyone.
5) Get plenty of sleep.
6) Have a good breakfast.
7) Bring the lunch.
8) Enjoy sailing the boat... High wind and light wind. Stand up--dance a little.
9) Oh Yes, if you are sick you will feel lousy-- and then better or you die and all problems are solved.

kiwiyates said...

To take a leaf out of the 80+ Sam Chapins book, he just bails out when the wind gets too high or he's had enough races, or he's won enough races for the day! His parting comment is usually "I don't need this Sh*t" and when the youngun's are back at the beach, he's still there always smiling, always encouraging and offering great words of advise. He really is the driving force of our Laser group and it seems as though his focus is all about mentoring us and teaching us to have fun sailing, whether we are at the back or the front! Maybe all you need is a change of focus. Come to Eustis where its windy if its 15mph, its warm and its fun. We are hosting the District 13 Championship on Dec 11/12 - I'm sure we could let a northerner sail!

Andrew said...

It's your random thoughts that we keep coming back for.

Zen said...

Practice nonattachment, to winning , to losing, to delusions , all are illusions...

O Docker said...

We are all delusional throughout most of our lives.

When we are young, we call our delusions 'dreams'.

As we mature, we call them 'goals'.

Then we get serious, we take life by the horns, and we call our delusions 'plans'.

Eventually, when it's too late, we recognize our delusions for what they are.

Without my delusions, I'd have nothing at all.

Frankie said...

So let's call them dreams then LOL

Tillerman said...

Right on Frankie. I certainly don't plan to "mature" or "get serious". That would be just as bad as growing up. I'll stay young and keep my dreams.

Dr J said...

You got sick and didn't train as hard as you could have. These are fixable things! Nothing to worry about. Just suck it up and move on. Your best laser racing days are ahead of you.

You've inspired me to start blogging again. What a lovely thinker/writer you are!

Dr J said...

You say you've read all the books... How about Stuart Walker's latest "The Code of Competition"? The premise is that most of us are "wired" to seek our "proper" place in the hierarcy of our "tribe" (fleet) and that we find ways to maintain what we feel is our place in the hierarcy.

I think some of our (yours and my) problems improving our performances are of our own making.

Your thoughts?

Tillerman said...

I haven't read Walker's new book Dr. J. but I think he has written of that tendency to stick to our place in the pecking order in some of his earlier books too. And I am sure it is true that all my problems are of my own making! Thanks for your encouragement and keep on blogging.

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