Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Can I Make It To 100?

Back in 2008, I set myself a goal to go Laser sailing on 100 days in the year. I think I had read somewhere that the top young guns in the class sailed their Lasers at least 100 days every year. And I was retired and had recently moved to live by the sea, so I thought I would have a shot at making it to 100.

I failed.

I only made it to 94. The list of my sailing days that year can be found at the over-optimistically titled 100 Days at Sea.

In 2009 I almost gave up sailing. Maybe I was burnt out from that ridiculous attempt to sail 100 days in 2008. I did have other excuses too. I wrote about them at 10 Reasons Why I (Almost) Gave Up Sailing This Year

In the subsequent years I never took a serious shot at making it to 100 again. But I did keep a running tally of my Laser sailing days each year...

Days of Laser Sailing in 2010 - 46 days

Days Laser Sailing 2011 - 43 days

Days Laser Sailing 2012 - 64 days

(For some strange reason I always seem to make it to 43. Can't think why.)

From time to time, I find myself wondering if I will ever make it to 100. Do I really want to? Is it possible? How would I manage it?

So just as an intellectual exercise - not because it's a real goal or anything serious like that you understand - I thought I would look back over those four years in which I kept records and see if they told me anything about how I could make it to 100. What would be the keys to success?

This is what I discovered, There are two main keys to making it to 100....

1. Travel
Living as I do in a part of the world where you can theoretically sail Lasers all year round, but in which it's frigging cold for Lasering for at least six months of the year, not to mention that I am a wimp about sailing in the cold, it's clear that if I am ever going to make it to 100 one year, then I am going to have to travel to warmer climes for some of those 100 days.

Luckily I am retired and able to afford to do a bit of travel so this is not a major problem. CabareteBitter End Yacht ClubMinorca SailingSailFit. Even the Laser Masters Worlds some years (if it's somewhere warm and not in a war zone.)

Here are the details on how many days of Lasering each year were out of my home waters and where...

2008 - 18 out of 94 - Cabarete, Masters Worlds and SailFit
2010 - 10 out of 46 - Masters Worlds and BEYC
2011 - 10 out of 43 - Minorca Sailing
2012 - 27 out of 64 - Cabarete, SailFit, Minorca Sailing and BEYC

I am in a bit of a rut though. Keep going back to the same old places. Where else can I go in the winter and get some Laser training?

2. Consistency
It's clear from the historical record that if I am ever going to make it to 100, I am going to have to keep sailing consistently throughout the year. In many years, for one reason or another, I seem to lose the motivation and give up sailing for a month or two. And that's no way to make it to 100.

In 2008 (the year I almost made it to 100) I was doing pretty well all year long. It just needed an extra sail or two in each of the summer months to make it to 100.

But 2010 was pathetic by comparison. Started pretty strong with six days of frostbiting in January and February. But no sailing in March, only two days in April and three days in May. What the hell was I doing? I sailed a lot in August in preparation for the Laser Masters Worlds in Hayling Island in September. But that regatta was such a disaster for me that it pretty well killed my motivation for sailing for the rest of the year. Ugh!

2011 was even worse! Didn't do any frostbiting or travel anywhere in January, February and March, and then only sailed three days total in April and May. I must have been hibernating, I guess. Picked up the pace a bit in the summer and went to Minorca Sailing in September, but then didn't do much of anything in the last three months of the year. Ugh! Ugh!

2012 started well with trips to Cabarete and SailFit. But then only two days of sailing in April and May? Then I hurt my back and that was all she wrote. Never had a chance to make it to 100 last year in spite of trips to Minorca Sailing and BEYC later in the year.

So if I wanted to devise a plan it to make it to 100 in 2013 - just as an intellectual exercise, not because it's a real goal or anything serious like that you understand - what would it look like? How can I build on the best experiences of the last few years? How many days would I need to sail each month?

January - 3
February - 3

I don't have any travel planned in January or February this year, but I think it's a reasonable goal to sail six days of frostbiting racing in those two months. I did it in 2012. Alternatively I could make it up with a day or two of practice on milder days.)

March - 6

I'm currently working on putting together a group of friends to go sailing somewhere warm in March. If I can make this happen, six days should be easily achievable.

April - 6

It can still be pretty cool around here in April, but in 2010 I did four days of solo practice and one day of frostbiting. A bit more frostbiting and six days should be in the bag.

May - 10

May is a make or break month for the chance to make it to 100. In 2008 I did ten days of solo practice in local waters. But in 2011 and 2012 I only sailed once (each year) in May. Our district Laser championship is at Wickford on the third weekend of May. I should really get out and train hard for that. May is the key.

June - 13
July - 13
August - 13

The heart of the sailing season. There will be regattas every weekend if I want to do them. There will be warm weather for mid-week practice. Surely I can sail three days a week in these months? Hey, I did thirteen days in August 2010 and July 2011.

September -13

The New England Masters early in the month. Then probably a trip to Minorca Sailing later in the month. Hey, I clocked up fourteen days there last year so thirteen should be a breeze.

October - 10

We have the North American Masters at New York YC in Newport at the end of the month. I really should get out and train hard for that. And I sailed twelve days in October 2010.

November - 4

Hey, I need a break

December - 6

I've signed up for the Laser Masters Worlds in Oman. If I qualify for a place then six days sailing in December should be easy. If I don't qualify then we will go to the BVI again and six should still be doable.

So what does that add up to? 100? Wow! That's a coincidence,

Maybe I could do it?

Maybe I should try for 100 days of Laser sailing this year. (This is just an intellectual exercise, not because it's a real goal or anything serious like that you understand?)


What did Yoda say?

 "Do, or do not. There is no try."


Max said...

Been enjoying your blog!

If you're looking for a new place to sail in the winter, we'd like to invite you to add 7 days to your tally. We're hosting a 4 day clinic/3day regatta in late feb - the Mexican Masters Clinic/Regatta. Would love to have you!

O Docker said...

Why not try some of the more creative accounting techniques used in the corporate world to 'polish' your numbers?

You could include most of December of 2012 in your tally and call your year 'the 2013 Sailing Year'. If you invent the right jargon to hide what you're really doing, no one should be the wiser. And, in any case, it's not like you have a lot of angry stockholders to worry about.

Or how about a system of 'sailing offsets' like the carbon offsets that large companies negotiate with regulating authorities? If you jogged for 10 miles or wrote, say, three blog posts about sailing, that could count as a day sailed.

In these days of dwindling resources and generally reduced performance, creative accounting could be your best shot at hitting those target metrics.

JP said...

Use a different base: I have great confidence you can get to 100 binary days sailing. One hundred is just an arbitrary number that depends upon how many fingers and thumbs we've evolved to have - 43 is every bit as good a number.

Or take inflation into account: 100 days sailing today is probably the equivalent of 50 a couple of decades ago.

Noodle said...

Regarding a different base: If there are 101101101 days in a year, then it won't be much having just 100 sailing days.

Anonymous said...

I think you should stop woosing about and go for it. And consider your definition of sailing. Does sitting on a gin palace count? What about getting the ferry? Virtual sailing? 100 days sailing? DONE!

Tillerman said...

Thanks for your support Mrs KnittingSailor. I am very strict with the accounting rules for this task. Sitting on gin palaces and ferries doesn't count. I don't even count sailing any other kind of small sailing dinghy. It has to be a Laser.

To O Docker's point, I am not going to stretch the year to 13 months, but if I discovered that I had made it to 100 in say the 12 months from June to May, I would declare victory and break out the champagne.

Pandabonium said...

If you had 100 days of sailing or 100 yen or 100 dollars or 100 ounces of gold or 100 years of life, which would be most valuable? Without quantifying what 100 represents it is impossible to judge the value of 100.

I could imagine 100 days of lousy sailing conditions being not worth very much vs a few days of wonderful experiences on the water.

Rather, I chose to embrace each and every experience as it is and not even consider the frequency. Be grateful for all of it, for all of it is a gift.

Tillerman said...

Well said Panda. I'm sure our sailing blogging friend Zen would express a similar sentiment.

Certainly quality of sailing experience is more important than quantity. But I am such a woos (to use Mrs KnittingSailor's term) about not sailing when it is too windy or too cold or too rainy or not windy enough, that most of my days of sailing are in good conditions and so are wonderful experiences - except when I break something or injure myself or get pissed off at other racers. But then even those days give me something to blog about.

I do think you are right that we should choose "to embrace each and every experience as it is." That is part of my personality and philosophy. But then there is the other side of me that likes to achieve specific goals and targets, whether in sailing or running or even blogging. I like to think it's the yin and the yang, both parts of the indivisible whole approach to sailing, not opposing but interdependent.

/Pam said...

Consider Florida Masters Week in February. Oh and don't forget Fred's Easter Regatta in Austin, TX in March. Home of Lance Armstrong and Governail ... it's THE place to be.

Jon Deutsch said...

I'm not yet of masters vintage so I run our Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Regatta each year and since I'm still on the water I count those days as 'sailing' days.

Anonymous said...

First of all I want to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question in which I'd like to ask if you don't mind.
I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing.
I have had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my ideas out.
I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like
the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost simply just
trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations
or hints? Kudos!

Tillerman said...

I try not to clear my mind before writing. My readers are accustomed to reading totally unclear, rambling, confusing, impenetrable, meaningless nonsense posts on my blog, I fear that if I wrote with a clear mind I would disappoint them.

If by chance I do find that I have a clear mind when I sit down to write, I usually drink a couple of glasses of Scotch first.

Hope that helps.

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