Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Incredibly Below Average Day of Sailing

"Sorry for an incredibly below average day of sailing today," wrote our race officer in a message publishing a link to the results of frostbiting on Sunday.

I know what he means. The winds were extremely light and patchy and shifty. It was a real challenge to set courses and run fair races in those conditions, but all things considered he did a damn fine job, as he always does.

But let's look on the bright side. Just as half of Americans are of below average intelligence, so are half the days of sailing in Newport, yes even Newport, below average.

And I learned a lot...

In the first race I learned that if I am on a run in incredibly light air and the wind dies altogether and my light wind cassette tape wind indicator hangs straight down, it doesn't help at all to do a couple of random gybes just to see if it makes any difference, especially if I am totally crap at doing roll gybes like the kids do that can actually accelerate the boat (leaving aside the issue that that would be totally illegal anyway.)

In that same race I also learned that if the 20 boats in front of me are going around the left hand leeward gate and I can't work out why they are all doing that, then there probably is a very good reason why they are going that way but it can't be all that significant a reason or I would have spotted it, so I might as well go round the right hand gate and sail in clear air instead of sailing in dirty air from 20 boats, and if I do so I can easily pass 10 boats on the final short beat.

In the second race I learned that in very light winds the boat does actually go faster upwind if I sit on the daggerboard in front of the mainsheet.

In that same race I also learned that if the wind goes hard left just before the start and I go off the right hand end of the line, then I may be going relatively fast doing my scrunched up yoga imitation squat on the daggerboard but that doesn't help much when there are 35 boats inside me on that shift so I was toast anyway.

In the third race I learned that if I can make a decent start and then tack away in a clear lane to a little more pressure on the right I might just get lucky and round the first mark with the leaders.

In that same race I also learned that if the final beat is longer than normal there are people in this fleet who are seriously fast and will be able to pass me, and I will end up 15th but, hey, that's not too shabby in a 45 boat fleet and it will be my best finish of the day, so look on the bright side.

And I learned that the progress I had made in the summer in learning to do not at all bad almost decent roll tacks was totally irrelevant because doing roll tacks in a T-shirt and shorts is totally different from trying to do roll tacks in a clunky big drysuit and clunky oversized hiking boots - (oversized in order to fit over my drysuit bootees and thick socks.)

So it was all (well mainly) good.

And I see my overall score for the day was 22nd out of 45 boats.

Which by my calculations is above average and incredible.


O Docker said...

I'm encouraged to hear that children can still be mean at your age.

Tillerman said...

Some children are mean. I'm below average in meanness.

But I would probably be more above average in sailing if I were more above average in meanness. Isn't that incredible?

O Docker said...

It's simple math.

At 22nd, you're above being mean. At 23rd, you'd be worse than mean.

Tillerman said...

In a 45 boat fleet it's mathematically impossible for any sailor to be mean.

Anonymous said...

Now I feel really bad, having come in 14th out of 24 this past Sunday...

I guess I need to move to Lake Wobegon where all the sailors finish above the mean.


Post a Comment