Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Learning from a Gold Medalist

A couple of weeks ago I participated in another Laser sailing webinar, very similar in some ways to the one I wrote about at Web Orgy.

Coach Rulo from the Laser Sailing Centre at Cabarete was once again hosting it. This time the subject was Laser Downwind Speed (which god knows I need to improve) and Rulo was joined by guest expert Anna Tunnicliffe who, as all my readers surely know, won the gold medal in the Laser Radial event at the 2008 Olympics.

Once again Rulo did a fine job of covering the subject in depth with a well-structured presentation using bullet point slides and video footage dealing separately with the techniques needed in light, medium and strong winds, with a separate section of what to do in "survival" conditions (which I do seem to encounter more often as I get older. How can that be?)

Rulo also did a good job of bringing Anna into the discussion at key points in the presentation where she was able to offer her own accounts of how she approached downwind sailing. And then, at the end, we were able to ask our own questions.

One issue with any webinar or coaching or books or words of wisdom for me these days is the one I raised in Are Words a Wisdom a Waste of Time? I have been sailing a Laser for so many years and trying to soak up knowledge about Laser sailing for so many years that I have heard before a lot of the collected wisdom about how to sail a Laser fast.

Not that I necessarily I have the skills to execute well all that I have heard. That's another issue.

But I didn't expect to hear any new magic go-faster tips from Anna that would suddenly turn me from a below-average downwind sailor into the guy who can pass 20 other boats on every downwind leg. That wasn't going to happen.

And yet...

When you have the opportunity to listen to someone of Anna's caliber, and question them, you do discover little things and subtleties about their technique that you didn't know before. Or at least I did.

Such as...

A difference between how to sheet in on up-turns and sheet out on down-turns.

A trick to gain extra speed in 0-4 knots.

When to sail with a tighter vang.

Where to tie the stopper knot.

When knees-down is OK.

And so on.



So, if you want to improve your Laser sailing skills, and you can't get to Cabarete in the immediate future,  I definitely recommend you attend one of Rulo's webinars.


my2fish said...

I'm still pretty amazed that my older son walked right up and talked to Anna at a match race on the Detroit River back in 2011. he didn't inherit his dad's natural shyness, I guess.

are the webinars better than some of the books and/or training videos that are available? anytime I watch a webinar for work, it is almost always incredibly boring.

Tillerman said...

The main advantage of a webinar over books and videos is that it is interactive and you can ask questions. Almost as good as a face-to-face lesson.

my2fish said...

ah, that does make sense. most of the webinars for work aren't that easy to ask questions... you can type some in, but it isn't very user-friendly.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I hear the name Coach Rulo I always think of the Maestro in Seinfeld.

Is he such a great coach that the label "coach" must always preface his name. Or am I completely mistake and Coach is actually his first name?

Maybe Coach Blackburn or Coach Beyer should give some thought to affixing this marvelous prefix to their names as well.


Tillerman said...

We had to type to ask questions too.

Tillerman said...

To the best of my knowledge (and I have been to Cabarete several times) nobody calls Rulo, "Coach Rulo" to his face or refers to him that way behind his back. It's always simply "Rulo." It's just a shorthand that I used here. My bad.

Rulo is actually his nickname. His first name is Javier. According to Google Translate "rulo" is Spanish for "curler". If Blackburn or Beyer want people to call them "Curler" I guess they can.

Anonymous said...

All over the net he is referred to as Coach Rulo. I was not having ago at anyone but a quick internet search will reveal what I meant.

I have not heard of any other coach referred to this way including those that are the official coaches for countries and Olympic athletes.


Anonymous said...

To be honest on his own website he states that, "Javier "Rulo" Borojovich is one of the world’s most sought after coaches in the Laser and Optimist classes".

Come on, that is a big statement to make.

I guess I do not like people that feel the need to big note themselves. I do not doubt that he can coach kids and masters but to coach someone to Olympic standard, I do not think so.

Next on my list of people I dislike reading about is Doug from Improper course. I have met the guy at one worlds and he seems to behave like he has ADD or some mental health problem. He was rude, patronizing and arrogant until he found out from another competitor who I was and then he was polite and came across as a sycophant who wanted to know everything about that day on the water. Why did you go to the left? What did you do different downwind? When he thought I was some back marker he could not even be bothered with general courtesy. When he saw I was up the front he could not suck up any harder. I despise elitism in sailing as it sets up little groups who hold themselves above other competitors.

I have bumped into one of the coaches from Latin America (I wont say whom for fear of reprisals) once long ago and while we were racing at a local event he kept coming close to me downwind to see what I was doing and making waves near me. I told him to get away from me and in reply the guy driving the rib did a few circles around me, in light wind by the way.

Moderate this comment as you wish but you should be aware that one of the sailors from DOM is known worldwide to be an ass as is his coach. Having raced a few sailors from the Dominicans over the years I have found them to be bad sports and even worse losers and the coaches they travel with are no better.

Bit of a rant but I really cant stand the Dominicans and the macho bullshit that goes on there. Pity the women in that region of the world because the men are such asses.


Anonymous said...

"Rulo is actually his nickname. His first name is Javier. According to Google Translate "rulo" is Spanish for "curler". If Blackburn or Beyer want people to call them "Curler" I guess they can."

That made no sense at all. I said that maybe some of the decent coaches out there should also preface their surnames with Coach. It had nothing to do with the name Rulo, perhaps you misunderstood me.

Tillerman said...

Oh dear. I'm sorry you feel that way about Rulo and Doug, Sloan. I guess you can't please all of the people all of the time. I have met both Rulo and Doug in real life and like them both, and have learned a lot from both of them. I also wouldn't brand any particular nationality of sailor as "bad sports and even worse losers" even if the occasional individual is. I guess we will just have to agree to disagree on those points.

I'm not going to argue about whether someone can be called Coach or not and who first called him that. It seems a pretty minor issue and maybe I was mistaken in saying I hadn't heard him called that before. And yes , my "curler" comment doesn't make any sense. A lot of stuff I say doesn't make any sense. That's why people read this blog I think.

Anonymous said...

You're too nice Tillerman.

Rulo is one of the most kind, humble and unassuming people you might ever have the privilege to meet or work with. His coaching is excellent and he is, in fact, sought after. No matter what level you sail at, he is respectful and positive. Its also his profession. He's not an amateur pounding his chest. He's a very busy, high level coach who works with some of the best in the world.

Never met you Sloan, but from what I've seen here you sound like a dick to me.

Tillerman said...

Thanks Anonymous 2:03 PM.

I was in two minds whether or not to use my moderation powers to publish or delete Sloan's comments. They certainly strike a more negative and bitter tone than we usually get here. The last time I remember anything like this was when someone had a rant at American Olympic hopeful Laser sailors.

I decided to let Sloan's comments go public. Don't really want to be a censor here even if I don't agree with everything that's said, and I certainly don't share Sloan's feeling about Rulo and Doug.

So can I just make a plea for everyone to dial back on the personal remarks. Let's get back to the important stuff like where to tie the stopper knot.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 2:03 PM

The good thing about this world dude is that we can all hold vastly different opinions based on our own personal journey through life.

You sound like quite a dick to me also.

As for Tillerman being too nice, that is his thing. He writes a blog that comes across as "edgy" sometimes to a readership composed of people mainly like himself. Conservative, settled, comfortable and self satisfied. I am neither conservative, nor am I self satisfied but we do share one common love and that is sailing.

It is easy to be polite and conservative, all it requires is that you just go along and don't rock the boat.

If I think Doug is an ass or "Coach" Rulo is a big noting guy just trying to spruik his own business interests so be it. Maybe in polite conversation one should keep this to yourself but news flash dude, this is the internet, YOU (I mean you Anon 2:03) have the right to call people names and I have an equal right to say it as I have seen it. We always had this right but now many opinions far divergent to yours can be heard. If that is disagreeable to you, well you know what you can do.

You sound like the kind of guy for example that thought G W Bush and his dad before him before were just the greatest and defended his lying ass till they were black and blue in the face. Now it has turned out they were liars and crooks of the first order and all we hear from you now is silence. Sometimes silence is not golden, it is just cowardice.

In other words not only are you stupid and ill informed but are an intellectual coward who holds no strong moral views but just goes with the flow. Much as you no doubt have done since middle school to the present day. Don't upset anyone, get along, pick on the weak and bully those different than you. You know, all the traits that made America great...

I bet even Michael Moore pisses you off doesn't he Anon 2:03. You sound like the kind of guy who hates having his blinkers torn off, even just a little. If you are here in the US all I will say is that we got more surprises coming. You don't offshore all your jobs, sell out your country to business and allow crooks to rule you like kings without some consequence.

So in closing, whether I am a dick or not is irrelevant. I may have had different experiences than you and possibly seen or noticed more of the world around me but whether I am an ass or angel is beside the point. Go about your life my friend, continue marching blindly to that 6 foot hole in the ground that awaits you at the end of your journey and as you approach those grey days you will see how ludicrous your life has been.


Tillerman said...

This is getting better than Sailing Anarchy!

Anonymous said...

By the way Tillerman as I suggested in my post, moderate away if that is your desire, and lets call a spade a spade. You let my comment go through, because you know your audience very well and you could guess quite accurately the opprobrium it would receive.

This way you get to distance yourself and your values from this contrary and quite insulting (from your perspective) viewpoint but at the same time you get the kudos for being such a nice decent guy that even though you find this post objectionable, you will let your audience judge it on its own merit (none). You also get the credit from your audience for the stance you take regarding censorship. Win win in my opinion and as always, well played sir.

This way your views on censorship are clearly known. You are opposed to censorship, in most cases anyway, with the exceptions I imagine involving business and government secrets that the public need not about, right? By the way, isn't that Assange a bastard... And that although you did consider it for a minute you decided to not do so in this case.

So you don't truly believe in the first amendment but in a sort of watered down one where someone in authority should have some say over what is a reasonable opinion. Whew, I am glad I made it over the line with you in regards to that post.

None of this is personal btw. I have met you and you are a nice guy. Good luck with your sailing and I hope that one day you find that thing that will propel you to the front of the fleet. If I had you in my charge for a month, unless you are utterly uncoordinated, I could get you to the very front of your fleet. With the only disclaimer being that you would have to want to truly succeed.

Many people like the idea of succeeding at sailing but they are ultimately tied to the way they have chosen to see the world. They are lazy and lack perseverance. I have seen well to do young sailors who have been so spoiled by mom and day that the very thought of being pushed hard makes them quit. I have seen older sailors with many hours of sailing under their belt commit self sabotage of their own racing because they do not want to upset the order of things. They would of course deny this but the mind is a powerful thing.


Anonymous said...

I dont know about better than Sailing Anarchy Tillerman, although I am sure guys like Anon 2:03 will be gathering the torches and the mob as we speak.

It may come as shock to guys like this that some people don't much like Latin America or all the immigrants flooding into the US or the direction our nation is taking and has taken for so long now. An increasingly stupid populace living in what is now one step away from a fully fledged police state.

Lets leave this issue alone and get back to sailing so if I may I will say this.

I am sure Rulo is a good coach and a very personable guy. He loves sailing doesn't he so he has to be better than most people, right there. One of the the worlds best though? I think it is a big call and still do. That is just an opinion not a fact, so no need to get all upset over it. Remember? it is OK for people to hold different opinions these days even if you do not much agree.

Now Doug, well he was quite rude to me on the occasion we met. Maybe it was a one off. Maybe he took an instant dislike to me, who knows. I am sure he is quite pleasant to the other 99% of people he meets and lets face it Anon 2:03 I am most likely as much of an ass in real life as I am here, right? I am sure I am not at all charming, helpful and pleasant, well at least fairly sure.

Happy with that Anon 2:03 and Tillerman? Is the world now a better and more contented place. I have no idea what I was thinking before. I am new man now. My eyes have been opened up to the Elysian Fields, that is the world we live in.

Unless you are born poor, black, or in some hell of a country where your life is short and brutal....

No more from me. Enjoy your sailing and good luck to you both.


Tillerman said...

LOL Sloan. I disagree with a lot of what you say about people I know, but I totally support your right to say it. I think the First Amendment is one of the finest sentences ever written.

And by the way, you are mostly wrong in your assumptions about my political views.

And you say we have met? Hmmm. I wonder who you are? I really would like to have a chat with you. You know my email - tillermeister AT gmail DOT com.

Anonymous said...

All good here. Lets leave it on a cheerful note and I my G.W comment was directed at Anon 2:03 not you..

I have generally found that people that are quick with the moronic insult did support him and his daddy before him and sadly will no doubt support that good ol'boy Jeb when his time comes around.

Thank heavens we have a democracy where entrenched power doesn't always end up in the hands of a few families! What is that you say?


Anonymous said...

"Anon 2:03" here (I guess that's my name now ;-).

This is amusing. I'm exactly the opposite of what you presume I am. I'm pretty left of center, actually, and I think G.W. might go down in history as one of the worst presidents we've had the misfortune to elect.

That's exactly why I called you the "D" word (don't want to get your panties all up in a bunch again, so I'll go PC here). And I don't think the insult was that quick. Your self important, judgmental, soap-boxy post provided enough evidence I think. You make broad negative generalizations about people you barely know (much like those G.W. supporters you hold so much disdain for). I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt. I prefer to stay positive. That's all. (Except for when someone incorrectly insults someone I know quite well, I guess)

Anon 2:03