Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Who was Fred A. Mabbett?

Congratulations to Litoralis for guessing the correct answer to yesterday's photo quiz. The fine looking gentleman wearing a captain's cap in the cartoon is indeed Fred A. Mabbett of Rochester, N.Y.

The photo above is taken from a book of cartoons published by the Rochester Herald in 1908 titled Men Worth While, a veritable who's who of Rochester's finest (male) citizens. The caption to the cartoon describes Mr. Mabbett as General Manager United States Automobile Company. 

I wonder what United States Automobile Company was? Was it a car manufacturer or was Mr. Mabbett perhaps the local Cadillac dealer?

I came across the name of Fred A. Mabbett in Tweezerman's post yesterday with the story behind the answer to his earlier photo quiz.  Tweezerman had posted some photos from the Emerson collection of Rochester N.Y and mentioned in passing that Mr. Emerson, in 1917, married the daughter of Fred A. Mabbett, the Commodore of Rochester Yacht Club.

And that set me off on a search to answer the question, who exactly was Fred A. Mabbett?

Well there's not a lot of information about him on the Interwebs but I did discover this other photo of him.

That's our Fred on the left and next to him another Mabbett, "Lorrie", whose real name was Lorenzo, possibly Fred's brother perhaps? The picture is taken from this document on the Rochester YC website, a history of RYC's successful challenges for and defenses of the Canada's Cup. The document was published in 1930, when RYC was gearing up for another Canada's Cup match (which they subsequently won.)

The photo shows the crew of Iroquois, the successful American defender of the Canada's Cup in 1905. Is it significant that Fred and Lorrie are wearing long-sleeved white shirts while the other crew members look like they are more suitably dressed for hoisting sails and hauling lines than the Mabbetts? And there lurking at the back is Harry Van (prof.) Did that mean that he was the real skipper of the boat, even though Lorrie has the nominal title? And I see that listed in the names of the 1930 Canada's Cup Syndicate of Rochester Yacht Club are Fred A. Mabbett and Lorenzo G. Mabbett, still active in the club 25 years after their famous victory.

And what the hell is the Canada's Cup you may ask?

Well it is a silver trophy, deeded in perpetuity to be awarded to the winner of a series of match races between a yacht representing a Canadian yacht club and one representing an American club, both to be located on the Great Lakes.

The first match was in 1896 and it's still going strong today, currently being sailed in Farr 40s.

And so that's who Fred A. Mabbett was.

I can't find any Mabbetts listed in the white pages for Rochester today, but there are a number of Emersons. I wonder if some of them are the descendants of that 1917 marriage of Fred's daughter to Mr. Emerson. Perhaps some of them remember Grandpa Emerson taking them on his knee as children and telling them about how Great Grandpa Fred won the Canada's Cup back in 1905?

I certainly hope so.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Photo Quiz - Who is this sailor?

Who is this sailor?

Clue #1 - the hat is a humorous reference to his being a recreational sailor (I assume.)

Clue #2 - there is another clue in the photo to his main occupation.

Clue #3 - there is another clue in the photo to the place where he lived.

Have fun!

Clue #4 - he was part of the crew that won a prestigious international sailing event in 1905.

Clue #5 - the yacht club he was associated with is in a city that averages about 100 inches of snow a year.

A Real Laser Sailor

Saturday, July 27, 2013

What do America's Cup Sailors Eat?

Great interview here with Head Athletic Trainer Craig McFarlane for ORACLE TEAM USA on the nutrition program for the sailors on his team.

These guys burn so many calories sailing the AC72 for 4-6 hours most days, plus working out in the gym, that they need to consume around 10,000 calories a day.

The sailors eat six to seven meals a day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus three or four lighter meals. 

That means they have to eat snack meals on the boat which at the moment means wraps, burritos, rice salads or potato salads, lean meats, fruit, and... Clif Bars.

Clif Bars?

That's what I like to eat when I am Laser sailing.

I'm actually doing something right?

Eat like the pros.

Eat Clif Bars.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Broad Reach


I'm famous!

Broad Reach, the newsletter of the Force 5 Class, has reprinted my post  How Big Are Your Carrots?

No wait, it wasn't really called that, but it should have been. It was all about how to persuade sailors to come to your regatta.

Broad Reach is a very professional looking newsletter. Lots of pictures, interesting articles about regattas, interview with the North American champion, tips on how tight your vang should be etc. etc.  Great stuff!

Those Force 5 sailors look like they have so much fun.

Maybe I should switch from Laser to Force 5?

I mean, there are lots of reasons why Force 5s are better than Lasers. At least seven I can think of.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I'm a Mess

Yesterday, Pandabonium of Sweet Bluesette published a thoughtful and inspiring post on the subject of Winning. You should read it.

Panda sails the only Lido 14 (so far) in Japan with his wife. He doesn't sail to compete. He and his wife sail purely for fun, for the pleasure of each other's company, and to improve their sailing skills. They seem very content with the role of sailing in their lives and their approach to it.

In the post Panda talks about his attitudes to competition in his youth, and reminds us of an example from the Olympics of an athlete who won the hearts of people all over the world by demonstrating perseverance against adversity; a real "winner" even if he didn't come away with a medal.

I was touched by his post, but surprised at the end when he gave a shout-out for this blog and wrote of my "sensible attitude toward racing" and my knowing "what really makes his life worthwhile."


It doesn't feel like that from where I sit.

In contrast, I don't feel that I am very sensible at all about my approach to sailing and racing, and am always confused and conflicted about how to balance the things that make life worthwhile.

I swing back and forth from one extreme to another.

I tell myself I am one thing and act like I am another.

I write a blog about Laser sailing and about how I am trying to become a better Laser sailor and about my Laser racing.

But I am always being pulled away from Laser sailing by other enthusiasms, and often by my own laziness.

Some years I am very competitive and sail lots of regattas and even do some frostbite racing.

And other years I seem to have very little appetite for racing at all.

Some years I like to travel all over the world to race.

And other years it just seems like the rewards of that will not be worth the cost in money and effort and time.

Some times I enjoy sailing for the sheer pleasure of it, the enjoyment of solitude in wind and waves and water.

And other days I miss an opportunity to enjoy such a sailing experience because I convince myself it's too cold or too hot, or too windy or not windy enough.

I enjoy the company of other sailors both on the water and afterwards over a beer or two.

But sometimes I pass up on opportunities to meet up with friends for sailing. Last weekend was a perfect example. I could have had a fun sail on Friday with friends on Buzzards Bay but I went for a long run in the heat instead and was too tired to do anything else for the rest of the day. Then on Saturday I could have gone racing with the same friends, but I stayed at home and played with my grandkids instead.

The truth is I am not as committed to sailing as I would need to be if I really wanted to improve my racing skills significantly.

The truth is that there are other things in life, like family and running and gardening and just relaxing, that often get in the way of sailing.

Bottom line: I'm a mess.

On the other hand...

Everyone has to balance the demands for their time. Work, family, recreation, exercise, travel, relaxation. I have it better than most. I don't have to do the first thing on that list any more. And I have four amazing, fascinating little people in my life, Isabel, Owen, Aidan and Emily, my grandkids.

One of the first posts on this blog was called Focus.

Perhaps it has taken me eight years of blogging to realize that the secret of a happy life might be more about balance than focus?

Maybe that's what Panda was trying to tell me?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


What's usually the most exciting part of a match race?

The start. Right?

The "cat and mouse" game as the commentators love to call it. Who is in control? What will they do?

In this America's Cup with a reaching start the question is whether a boat will go for the leeward end of the line with the possibility of being inside at the first mark, or for the windward position with potentially clearer air.

So what happened in today's race between Emirates and Prada?

Search me.

The video posted on the America's Cup website jumps abruptly from 25 seconds before the start until the boats are halfway down the first leg with Prada already way behind Emirates.

What happened?

Why were those crucial seconds cut out of the tape that the public can see?

What are "they" trying to hide?

Who are "they"?

What did "they" know and when did "they" know it?

Not since the missing 18 minutes in the Watergate tapes has so much been hidden by so few from so many.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bad Mommy

Just look at this.

That bloody Mommy Boat zooms right in front a sailing boat in the middle of a race and forces them to tack.

All because their boys dropped something off their boat.


What next?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Luna Rossa Breaks Course Record in Louis Vuitton Challenge

The 34th America's Cup just keeps on delivering more and more excitement!

Not content with running a whole series of challenger "races" that mainly consist of one boat racing around the course by itself, it appears that a totally new tactic has been discovered!

If the tweets today from America's Cup Racing can be believed, those clever chappies at Luna Rossa have discovered a way of completing a one boat "race" even faster, scoring a "finish" in today's "race" only 10 mins 1.8 secs after the start.

The trick apparently was to ask the umpires to disqualify their non-existent opponent 10 minutes after the start.


I don't think I've ever seen such an audacious move before.

I almost peed myself.

What next?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Paul Goodison on Hiking Style

Thanks to everyone who commented on the three drawings in the Hiking Styles post yesterday.

The drawings are actually from Paul Goodison's 2008 book about Laser sailing, the RYA Laser Handbook. Goodison, of course, was the gold medal winner in Lasers in the 2008 Olympics so he knows a thing or two about how to sail a Laser. His book, as well as being a comprehensive guide to Laser technique, is also probably the best illustrated book ever about Laser sailing with hundreds of excellent photos.

So here is what the maestro has to say about those drawings in Chapter 10 Hiking...

As most of the comments identified, the first drawing is not optimum. Paul says this style is a common mistake. You may feel that you are hiking hard because your butt is a long way from the gunwale, but the upper body position is too vertical. You need to lean the shoulders back and use the leverage of your upper body.

In the second drawing the toe strap is tighter, the legs are straighter and the body is leaning backwards closer to horizontal. This is much more effective than the style in the first drawing and is what Paul recommends for flatter water.

In the third drawing the toe strap is a little loser and the legs are bent slightly and the shoulders are not as low as in the second drawing. Paul says that this style allows more mobility for the upper body and it's easier in this position to move the shoulders forward to help steer the boat through waves.

Seeing these drawing again in this book recently was like a light bulb going off in my head. Almost all the photos I have seen recently of me sailing, even when I thought I was hiking hard, look way too much like the first picture.

Check out this one for example...

So in my last few practice sessions I have been trying to hike more like the guy in the second drawing. As some commenters mentioned, it's hard at first to hold this position for the whole beat, but I figure the more I practice the more I will build my endurance to use this position for longer.

As for Goodison's final point, I hadn't heard that advice before. But I was playing around during my practice session yesterday in waves on the Sakonnet river and he is right. If you hike with the upper body almost horizontal, it is very hard to move your upper body forward and backwards in the waves. That 45 degrees lean position in the third drawing does allow much more mobility of the upper body.

Why is my back aching so much today?

I think I'll take a nap now.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wednesday Wipeout

Hiking Styles

In my continual (and usually futile) quest to improve my upwind speed in a Laser, I've been wondering if the reason I am so slow is something to do with my hiking style.

Hiking, for those not familiar with the term in this context, is what a dinghy sailor calls it when he hangs his bum over the side of the boat to stop it tipping over. 

Laser coaches are fond of shouting things like...

Hike harder

The harder you hike the faster you go

If it's not hurting you aren't hiking hard enough.

But I think the truth is a little more subtle than that. There is a lot of technique to hiking.  Do it wrong and you might injure yourself.

I came across these three pictures of different hiking styles in one of the many sailing books gathering dust on my bookshelf.

What do you think of the three styles?

What's good?

What's bad?

Which one would work best?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Who is this?

Who is this?

And why should people in my part of the world appreciate him this week?

How to Persuade Sailors to Come to Your Regatta

Sailing is dying.

Regatta numbers are down.

Young adults are leaving the sport after they get out of college.

That's the conventional wisdom. And maybe there's some truth in it.

So, if you are running a regatta how do you persuade masses of people to come to it?

These days, simply putting out a NOR saying that there will be 5 races with the first gun at 11am just isn't enough.

You have to offer some things that will make people excited to come to your regatta instead of staying home to mow the lawn. You need some carrots.

I was impressed with what the folks at Wequaquet Lake are doing to attract people to their Sunfish regatta later this month. Check out their website....

1. They are raffling off a 60th Anniversary Sunfish Sail donated by LaserPerformance.

2. They are hosting a free clinic by former North American Champ Bill Brangiforte.

3.  They are having a carnival with a bouncy house, cotton candy, popcorn, face painting and games.

4.  And on Saturday night they will be running something called "Adult Bingo" whatever that is! The mind boggles!

Something to win, something to learn, entertainment for the kids (maybe to attract back some of those sailors with young kids who aren't allowed to leave them every weekend to go sailing?) - and "adult" entertainment too.

What's not to like?

OK. OK. OK. Maybe a bouncy house and adult bingo are not the right things to attract sailors in your class to your regatta.

But at least they are trying some novel things.

How are you going to persuade sailors to come to your next regatta?

How big are your carrots?

Monday, July 15, 2013

What is this?

And now for something completely different... a wildflower quiz.

Regular readers of this blog may recall that when I'm not sailing I sometimes do a bit of gardening and that one of my projects is what I jokingly refer to as my Native American Wildflower Border.

It might be more accurately described as my partly native mainly American sorta kinda wild looking flower and weed border. But it is what it is.

My main philosophy for this strip is that if some weed with even mildly interesting flowers grows in it then it can stay. This year a new visitor appeared. And I have no idea what it is...

It's that tall plant with the white (actually very pale pink) flowers on the right of this picture.

Here is a detail from the above picture that gives a better view of the shape of the flower.

Here is a closer view of the flower...

And here are the leaves near the base of the plant...

Here is a close-up of how it looked a few weeks ago. It's growth habit is a little like chicory, but it's definitely not chicory. The flowers have five petals and, as I have said, are pale pink.

You can see the buds better in this picture. They are very distinctive. Pentagonal in shape and a deep pink.

So what is it? I have no idea.

Thanks to Baydog's sister Kate who has identified my mystery plant as Verbascum blattaria, also known as Moth Mullein. Here is a picture from the wikipedia entry for Verbascum blattaria.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Village of the Mermaids

Paul Delvaux: The Village of the Mermaids.  Oil on canvas, 1942

This one is for Joe and David.

Hear more about the painting at the audio clip below...

Good Day for a Run

It's one of my favorite regattas this weekend.

Let's see what the weather forecast says.

Hope there's some good wind.

The wind will be very light.

Then it will get even lighter.

Then it will shift almost 180 degrees,

Then it will have another huge shift.

Then it might rain.


I think I'll go for a run now.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Last Man Standing

It doesn't make any sense to sing this song while sitting down, does it?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Doing the Math for the Louis Vuitton Round Robin

How many real races will there be in the Louis Vuitton Round Robin?

Luna Rossa (ITA) now says they will race in the Louis Vuitton (after ducking out of their first scheduled race against EmiratesTeamNZ this week.)

That sets up another thrilling race this afternoon when Luna Rossa will challenge... well, nobody.... because Artemis (SWE) are still carrying out stress tests on their second AC72. In fact Artemis have said they may not be ready to race in the Louis Vuitton round robin at all.

If that's true, let's do the math....

There are five rounds in the round robin, each round consisting of three races ITA vs NZL, SWE vs NZL and ITA vs SWE. There should have been 15 races.

But all three races in the first round will have been one-boat races. If my assumptions above are correct, then in every subsequent round there will be two one-boat races (the ones that should involve SWE) and one two-boat race (ITA vs NZL).

So, at the end of all the round robins, we will have seen 11 one-boat races and only 4 two-boat races.

The only real races will be the ones between ITA and NZL. And in what is effectively a best of five series, ITA has already forfeited the first race by refusing to sail.

As a result, in what should have been a month of racing, if NZL win their first two races against ITA it will all be over. If that happens, will ITA bother to carry on racing when there is nothing left to play for? If ITA don't come out to play after they lose, we could see only two real races in the whole round robin series.

There was a report in the last day or two that Louis Vuitton want some of their money back.

Who can blame them?

Ziphius - the Aquatic Drone

Drones have been very much in the news lately.

You may fantasize about owning a drone aircraft like the ones that the US uses to take out terrorists on the far side of the world. But you know that's not going to happen.

But how about having your own small aquatic drone which has a camera that you could use to view things on the surface or underwater and which you could control from a smartphone or tablet? That is close to reality. 

Check out Ziphius: The Aquatic Drone.

And watch this video.


Want one?

What would you use it for?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Independence Day 2013

My son and daughter-in-law and our three eldest grandchildren came over to stay with us for the long Independence Day Weekend. On Thursday it was decided that the family was heading down to the beach in Newport.

As I have mentioned before, human beings like the beach. I like the beach too... in moderation.

What I don't like very much is sitting on a crowded beach on a holiday weekend surrounded by fat ugly strangers prancing around in what, to all intents and purposes, is their underwear, yakking away on their cellphones, and playing loud rap music on their boom boxes.

So shoot me. I'm an introvert. I find crowds of people draining and de-energizing.

I decided to let the rest of the family go to the beach in Newport while I went for a sail by myself on the beautiful, quiet Sakonnet River.

But first I had to go to the beach to launch my Laser. I went to Seapowet Beach in Tiverton. That's it in the picture above.

When I launched it was relatively uncrowded.

I sailed around on the river for the sheer pleasure of being on the water and enjoying the experience of being by myself in natural surroundings.

Some times I sail because I want to race and satisfy my competitive urges.

Some times I sail because I want to work on improving some specific skills.

Some times I sail purely because I want to enjoy sailing. Thursday was a day like that. The older I get the more I find that that is the main reason I sail.

I blasted around on the Sakonnet, living in the moment. I sailed over towards Sandy Point Beach in Portsmouth on the other side of the river. I could see crowds of people sitting around on the beach in their underwear. As I got closer I could hear rap music on a boom box. I retreated hastily to the quiet and solitude in the middle of the river.

When I had had my fill I sailed back to Seapowet Beach.

As I approached the beach a very friendly young boy playing in the water asked, "Mister, do you need any help?"

I smiled. "No thanks. Do I look like I need some help?"

He looked like the kind of little boy that might grow up to be President of the United States one day. Or more precisely, since 4 November 2008 it has been possible to believe that a little boy who looks like him could grow up to be President of the United States.

It was a good way to spend Independence Day.

God bless America.

Best AC34 Joke

Best joke of the 34th America's Cup so far was a tweet from Scuttlebutt this morning...

I must admit it took me a few seconds to get it.

But it's so true!

And so funny!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Al Maktoum Family Wins Yacht Race... Again

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Congratulations to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, Monarch of Dubai, Chairman of the Investment Corporation of Dubai which owns the Emirates Group which owns Emirates Airline which is the title sponsor of that red and black boat which won the second race in the Louis Vuitton Round Robin Series in San Francisco today in a thrilling race against... well, nobody. Again.

Congratulations also to Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum who is President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of the Emirates Group, and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline. By an amazing coincidence, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum is the uncle of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (even though he is nine years his junior.)

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum

I bet Mohammed and Ahmed are thrilled that their boat won its race today and now leads the series 2-0 on account of nobody has yet showed up to race against them.

I wonder how they are celebrating?

10 Safety Tips to Follow when Boating with Kids

As an avid sailor and a grandparent of four young children aged one to seven, I naturally relish the idea of going boating with my grandkids. We had some boating trips together last summer such as the memorable day I wrote about here.

I look forward to many more such opportunities.

Of course, safety is paramount when boating with kids, which is why I am happy to recommend this article, originally posted on NannyPro.com (not a site I link to very often!)

Getting out onto the water and enjoying the spray across your face is a relaxing way to spend a summer day, and an exciting experience for little ones that are getting their first taste of the joy that is boating. Unfortunately, boating can also be a highly dangerous activity when there are kids involved and the adults on board aren’t properly educated on important safety rules. These are ten of the things you should always keep in mind when you’re on the water with little ones in tow.
Read the rest of the article...

Monday, July 08, 2013

Sailing a Laser Upwind in Waves

One aspect of Laser sailing where I am very slow compared to the good sailors at regattas around here is sailing upwind in waves. I suspect that there are a number of details of my technique that I need to improve to close that gap.

I wonder what I can learn from this video clip? (The clip is first played at full speed, and then at half speed with commentary. The changeover is at about 1:30.)


Any comments from my expert Laser sailing friends?

Sail controls?

Hiking style?

Sheeting in and out?

Rudder movements?

Body movements?

Is this a good technique to emulate?

Could you suggest any better alternatives?

Eric the Eel

Apparently yesterday's thrilling race in the Louis Vuitton Cup between the Emirates Airlines team and... well, nobody... is not the first time in international sports that there has only been one competitor in a race.

Who can forget the first heat of the 100 meters freestyle in the swimming at the Sydney Olympics in 2000?

Eric 'The Eel' Moussambani raced an epic race against... well, nobody... to win the heat and also break the Equatorial Guinea record for the event.

Check the video out here. (Unfortunately embedding is disabled because this event was so historic.)

Mr. Moussambani's achievement has inspired a whole generation of Equatorial Guinean Olympic swimmers.

Who knows? Yesterday's race might inspire a whole new generation of America's Cup sailors interested in the sport of one-boat racing.

Go Eric!

Sunday, July 07, 2013


We had some of the family at our house this weekend to celebrate my 65th birthday.

My 7-year-old granddaughter decorated this cake for me.

There Is No Second

In an exciting first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup in San Francisco this afternoon, EmiratesTeamNZ scored a surprise win against..... well, actually nobody. In a radical new racing format EmiratesTeamNZ sailed around the course by herself.

Larry Ellison explained to the media that this revolutionary new approach to the America's Cup will be much more easy to understand for TV viewers and will be more attractive to sponsors as only one boat's sponsors' name can be shown at any given time.

In other sports news today, Andy Murray of Scotland hit a tennis ball against a wall by himself for three hours in blazing hot sunshine to become the first British player to win the Gentlemen's Singlehanded Championship at Wimbledon in 77 years.

And Irishman Dan Martin won the 9th stage of the Tour de France by going for a bike ride by himself over the hilly course in the Pyrenees. "I was confident in the final stretch because I know I have some speed," the 26-year-old Martin said.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Spar Island Claimed for King George




Thursday, July 04, 2013


Have a great 4th of July everyone.

Caption Contest

30 Best Things About America

  1. The Liberty Bell

  2. Soft shell crabs

  3. Air conditioning

  4. The Boston Marathon

  5. Pancakes

  6. Firefighters

  7. Monkey Fist IPA

  8. Navy Seals

  9. Steve Jobs

  10. The First Amendment

  11. Rhode Island clam chowder

  12. Bose noise-canceling headphones

  13. Public school teachers

  14. Clif Bars

  15. Forever stamps

  16. Michelle Obama

  17. Lobster rolls

  18. GPS

  19. Powerade Zero

  20. Frisbees

  21. Sesame Street

  22. Bison

  23. Baseball

  24. Bruce Springsteen

  25. The Internet

  26. Right turn on red

  27. The National Anthem

  28. Blueberries

  29. The Grand Tetons

  30. The 4th of July

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Jeremy Clarkson vs Ben Ainslie

Top Gear Season 20 Episode 1 20x01

Thanks to LiveSailDie.com for tracking down the video of the Top Gear episode (shown in the UK this week) in which Ben Ainslie and James May (and a few other dudes) on an AC45 race Jeremy Clarkson driving a Toyota Corolla in New Zealand.

To see the segment involving the sailing, hover your mouse over the video options on the right. You will see a series of numbered tiles from 1 to 7. Click on number 3.

Never Trust the Weather Forecast

I looked at the weather forecast.

It said dry until 4pm and then 60% chance of rain and thunder showers in the evening.

So I decided to skip Tuesday night racing in Bristol with my friends and go for a practice by myself earlier in the afternoon on the Sakonnet River.

I sailed from Seapowet Beach upwind to Fogland and back to Seapowet a few times.

Downwind I was trying to do all that ziggy zaggy stuff like John Emmet in the video on my post How to Sail a Laser Downwind in Waves.

Only I was using less rudder than him and trying to turn the boat as much as possible by moving my body weight and heeling the boat, especially on the up-turns. That also enabled me to accelerate the boat by flattening it at the end of each upturn.

I noticed that during the up-turn as I sheeted in and turned on to a broad reach I could time the speed of the turn so that the "flatten" helped me to catch the next wave.

And that during the down-turn I could do a few "release and stop" movements with the sheet to get a reverse pump on a few little waves.

It felt faster than the video looked but what do I know? Maybe my way was illegal?

I was certainly moving faster through the water than I would have been sailing in a straight line but who knows if I really had faster VMG to where the leeward mark would have been in a race?

The weather was misty with a light drizzle.

It reminded me of San Francisco.

When I got home the sun came out.

It would have been a good evening to go to Bristol after all.

Oh well! At least I didn't have to use one of my 265 excuses.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

265 Excuses

At the end of April I reported that I was On Track with my plan to sail my Laser 100 days this year.

in my plan to make it to 100 I had targeted that I would sail 18 days in the first 4 months of the year.

Hey, I know it's not a lot in 4 months but it's frigging cold around here at that time of year.

Sadly I have to report now that I am no longer on track.

My plan was to sail 10 days in May. I only did 7.

And I was supposed to sail 13 days in June.  I only did 7 again.

So now I'm 9 days behind schedule.

Off the track.


Even though I did have fun.

It occurs to me that perhaps I'm doing this all wrong.

Instead of having a target to sail 100 days, maybe I should set a goal for thinking of an excuse NOT to go sailing on every one of 265 days of the year, and report those excuses on my blog?

Then if I made it to 265 excuses I would have achieved something.

Of if I didn't make it to 265 excuses, I would presumably have sailed at least 100 days. That's something too.

And the excuses would probably be more entertaining for my readers than my boring accounts of actual sailing.

Does this make any sense?




They really don't want me to decline my place at the Laser Masters Worlds by mistake.

In 6 languages!