Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Are My Bathroom Scales Broken?

How important is to be the right weight to do well at racing Lasers?

Or do Laser sailors - and dinghy sailors in general - obsess too much about the impact of their body weight on their racing performance?

There is a great series of articles about fitness and nutrition for sailing written by Meka Taulbee on the SailFit website.

One year she measured the heights and weights of sailors at the Laser Midwinters East, and compared the results to how the sailors performed in the regatta. This is how she summarized her conclusions in Wit vs Weight

The figures I used are based on ten sailors finishing in the top 25% of each fleet. 
Let’s start with the full rigs.  
The average height was 6’1/2” and the average weight was 180.4 pounds.  
One thing that I noticed was that the sailors who weren’t 6 foot or taller were generally the ones who weighed more, while the ones who were 6 foot and over generally weighed less.  
Most of the heights were pretty close, but the range in weight was actually 35 lbs.
Interestingly both the lightest and the heaviest sailor in this group finished near the bottom of the top 25% and the closer you got to the top of the group the closer the sailors came to the average.

Hmmm. The top sailors were all close to the average of 180.4 pounds.

Confession: I am currently around 200 lbs. Apparently that's about 20 lbs overweight for optimum performance as a Laser sailor.

Some years recently I have weighed a bit less in the summer when I am running and sailing and gardening a lot more than I am in the winter. Some years I get down to 190-195  lbs but it's been a long time since I've been 180 lbs.

Back in 2004-2006 when I was training to run marathons I was around 180-185 lbs.

Should I be aiming to get back to that range again?

Let's look at some more evidence.

Pam and Doug over at Improper Course have been discussing recently the question as to whether Doug should be sailing a Radial or a Standard Rig Laser at Masters Worlds. In one of their two posts on this topic they presented this chart.

Doug is clearly in a different league to myself, but let's look at how much he weighed in his worst and  best performances sailing a Standard Rig Laser at the Masters Worlds in recent years.

1997 - 185 lbs - 1st
2006 - 180 lbs - 1st
1999 - 182 lbs - 3rd
2000 - 183 lbs  - 3rd

2008 - 190 lbs - 12th
2007 - 186 lbs - 9th

OK. Not a perfect correlation. But when he was his heaviest (190lbs) he had his worst result.

And he won two world championships weighing 180 and 185 lbs.

Hmmm. I think the evidence is clear. I need to lose some weight.

This year I will race at a competitive weight of 180-185 lbs.

This year will be different.


PS. Right now I have no plan as to how I am going to lose 15-20 lbs in the next few months.

Any suggestions?

Or do Laser sailors obsess too much about the impact of our body weight on our racing performance?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What I Learned from the 2006 Laser Masters Worlds Grandmaster Champion

I've had a hiking bench for years. Built it in the late 1980s from the instructions in Dick Tillman's book.

Some winters I practice on it. Some years more than others. But I discovered a few months ago that I've been doing it all wrong.

Basically I would do lots of sit-ups, with hands on my head, moving between the flat-out legs-connected-to-the deck, body-straight position to sitting up. I was quite proud of how many sit-ups like this that I could do.

Then Doug at Improper Course burst my bubble with his his post last March, Everything I Know About Hiking Benches. Apparently what I should have been doing is maintaining that flat out hiking position, not doing sit-ups.

Makes sense. That's what you do when you are sailing, right? You don't sail a whole beat doing sit-ups. At least not unless the wind is changing from 15 knots to 5 knots very 3 seconds.

Doug on his hiking bench.
He says he doesn't hold the sheet normally.

So, this winter I tried following Doug's recommendation, holding that flat hiking position without using a sheet for support.

Embarrassing! I could barely hold it for 30 seconds. And after 3 repetitions of 30 seconds I was toast!

I guess you need different muscles to hike flat than to do sit-ups. Abs vs hip flexors? Something like that I suspect. I really don't know mussels.

Doug says he had the same issue at first but he found that he could, with lots of practice over many months, build up his muscles until he could hold that position on his hiking bench for 10 minutes without a break. At that point he says he "felt very fast on the water in a breeze."

Duh! I now understand what I have been doing wrong all these years.

It's not that I'm unfit. I'm so dumb that I've been working on the wrong kind of fitness.

And so I was inspired by Doug to get more serious this year about building up my hiking fitness. I have been working out like Doug on the hiking bench and can already see a lot of progress. But there's still a long way to go.

This year I will be fit for hiking.

I will be fast upwind in a breeze.

This year will be different.


Monday, February 24, 2014

What I Learned from the British Sailing Team Meteorologist

Last Thursday evening I participated in a webinar on Wind Strategy, hosted by Javier "Rulo" Borojovich, the head coach at the Laser Training Center in Cabarete and featuring as guest expert, Libby Greenhalgh, who has been the Skandia Team GBR British Sailing Team Meteorologist since 2007, including at the last two Olympics. Libby is also the founder of Weatherwhiz which offers a range of sports weather forecasting and support services. 

Libby's presentation was in three sections…

  • Gradient wind and stability 
  • Topographic effects on the wind 
  • Sea breeze 

The discussion of gradient wind and stability gave me a lot more appreciation of how mixing in the lower layers of the atmosphere affects the winds we experience at the surface, how to predict in advance the direction and speed of the wind at the surface and what kinds of shifts it will have, how things can change during the sailing day, and the signs to look for to predict what will happen. Rulo chimed in to give us some tactical advice on how to sail the beats in different conditions.

Much food for thought.

I even learned tephigrams are, where to find them, and how to read them.

If nothing else I can confuse the hell out of my opposition by flashing my tephigrams at them.

The discussion on topography and how it impacts the wind and what that means for sailing strategies was even more enlightening. I had read the theory of all that stuff about frictional effects and wind bends and convergence and divergence and compression before, but I had never really absorbed it.

Maybe I never really understood it.

For whatever reason, it all became clear to me when Libby explained it. Maybe I'm an auditory learner after all?

In fact, as Libby was talking, scenes from my past life flashed before my eyes. All those scenes in which I went the wrong side of the beat and saw 80% of the fleet coming in from the other side ahead of me and I had no idea why.

Duh! I could now understand what I had been doing wrong all these years.

It's not just that I'm slow. I'm also dumb.

The final session on sea breezes was mainly about "quadrant theory" and how the direction of the gradient wind will impact the development and persistence of the sea breeze and also the characteristics of the sea breeze we will experience. I may have read this before but, once again, never really internalized it or retained ideas on how to use it. There were definitely some pointers on how thinking about the sea breeze this way will influence race strategies. The winds at the Buzzards Bay Regatta will no longer be such a mystery to me.

And dotted through the webinar were insights from Libby about the winds at Hyères, the location for this year's Laser Masters Worlds. Very helpful!

And so I was inspired by Libby's webinar to get more serious this year about studying the weather and the wind and using the data available to make better choices about wind strategy at regattas. It really is a weakness in my game right now.

This year will be different.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Backyard Boat

Things are moving fast in Ukraine.

Latest story is that President Viktor Yanukovych has quit the capital and there are rumors that he has resigned.

Be that as it may, protesters have occupied his residence and are finding all sorts of extravagances in his back yard including a private golf course, a private zoo, and…..

a galleon.

Yes, a galleon.

Lots more pictures of what Viktor had in his back yard here.

Request Permission to Come Aboard Sir

Friday, February 21, 2014

26 More Reasons to Love Sailing

The Summer Sailstice website recently published a list of about 26 reasons to love sailing written by Alistair Murray, CEO of marine hardware manufacturer Ronstan.

So I just had to make up my own list of 26 More Reasons to Love Sailing…

Sailing is Awesome.

Sailors have the best Beards.

Laser sailing in Cabarete is like being in paradise.

And there are lots of other wonderful Destinations to go sailing.

Laser sailing is great Exercise for the whole body.

You can go Foiling, even on a Laser.

You can buy all kind of fun Gadgets.

Even an old guy looks cool in a sailing Helmet.

Because Irish Coffee is the best training diet for sailing.

You can sail a magnificent yacht like a J Boat.

Sailors can tie Knots with their feet.

Sailing has always been a great way to meet Ladies.

You can go to dinghy sailing heaven in Minorca.

Even Nerds have a role in sailing

Because Olympic Laser girls kick ass.

Because Pizza and sailing just go together.

You can go sailing at places with weird names like Quannapowitt.

Sailors drink Rum.

You can race round a Sausage.

You might win a Towel.

Who will ever forget the fun we had sailing Under the Pell Bridge in race 3 of the 2013 New England Laser Masters?

You can work on Vizualization even when you aren't on the water.

You can catch a Wave.

You can play SailX  to improve your tactical skills.

You can even do Yoga on a Laser.

Maintaining your boat trailer will teach you about Zen.

Ok. Now it's your turn.  What are your reasons to love sailing. Tell us in the comments.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wind Strategy Webinar

I have written before about the sailing webinars offered by Javier "Rulo" Borojovich, the head coach at the Laser Training Center in Cabarete. They are an excellent way to learn different aspects of sailing from Rulo and his guest experts,  and to ask them directly the questions that you have. This month last year, for example, I was learning from Anna Tunnicliffe about downwind speed.

This week, on Thursday 20 February, from 5-7pm EST, Rulo is offering a webinar on Wind Strategy. The guest expert is Libby Greenhalgh, who has been the Skandia Team GBR British Sailing Team Meteorologist since 2007, including at the last two Olympics.

If you participate in this webinar you will learn all about gradient wind and basic identification of stability, topographic effects on the wind and tactical decisions, sea breeze and thermal influences development types and effects, and much much more!

So head on over to Rulo Sailing and sign up now.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Reaching Finishes

Today we have a guest post from Susie Pegel. She does a pretty good of introducing herself at the start of her post, but by way of further introduction check out my 2009 post Susie Pegel - A REAL Laser Sailor and her 2012 opinion piece on Trapezoid Courses.

I've sailed/raced a Laser since 1971. In that time I have sailed/raced my Laser throughout the U.S., Canada (with the exception of Alberta and British Columbia) and in Europe (Kiel Week). I have sailed locally, in district championships (I was 1984 District 19 champion), national, continental (I was 1980 Laser North American champion) and world championships (1979 IYRU Women's Worlds and 2009 Laser Masters Worlds).

I have sailed my Laser in drifters, winds gusting to 48 mph, flat seas, big waves, no current, strong current. I have raced my Laser against world champions and Olympic gold medalists. I have sailed my Laser on small ponds and the open ocean. I have raced in regattas with a handful of boats and regattas with more than 200 boats.

During my Laser career I have experienced W-L courses, triangle courses, trapezoid courses. I have experienced upwind finishes, reaching finishes, downwind finishes. I have experienced good race committees and race management, and horrible race committees and race management. I have experienced good and accurate recording of race finishes and scoring, and complete disasters regarding the same.

In other words, I have seen it all and experienced it all first-hand.

I know the challenges of handling a Laser in a variety of conditions, negotiating it around a variety of race courses and across a variety of finish lines. And trust me when I say this, the best way to go is an upwind finish preferably at the top of the race course.

It is the fairest for the sailors from a tactical and strategic standpoint and boathandling standpoint. It is the easiest for the race committee, setting a finish line of a correct length for the number of boats and conditions, a finish line square to the wind with no "favored" end of the line.

It is the easiest for the scorers. An RC person can sight the line from the line flag to the other end of the finish line (the RC boat theoretically sitting perpendicular to the finish line) with scorers right there to record the finishes, able to easily see the sail numbers of the Lasers that are sailing 45 degrees to the true wind.

Anything other than an upwind finish (preferably at the top of the race course) opens up a can of worms for the sailors, race committee and scorers.

When it comes to a "reaching" finish, I don't care how long it's been done, I don't care how many times it's been done, that doesn't make it the fairest for the sailors or the easiest for the RC or scorers.

The scenario for a Laser race with a "reaching" finish: The race goes along pretty much as normal, people sailing their Lasers close-hauled and tacking, not too difficult in a variety of wind, wave and current conditions. Then comes the downwind leg. Depending on the wind, wave and current conditions, some people may not even be able to survive the downwind leg not to mention jibing their Laser.

Now comes the last "leeward" mark that must be negotiated before the "reach" to the finish. Now your entire race is going to depend on being "inside" at that mark and executing the perfect jibe with nobody screwing you up. You have to be able to do this even in big waves, big current and howling winds. If you are not inside at this mark, executing the perfect jibe and nobody screwing you up, your race is over, you are going to lose huge numbers of boats.

So OK, now everyone who has gotten down there eventually jibes (with varying degrees of success) and now must sail that short "reach" leg to the finish line. Again, you have a variety of wind conditions (gusts to 40 mph, if you think I'm kidding you haven't been to too many Laser regattas), possibility of big waves (3-4 feet), and maybe even current as well. Some people will get in luffing matches, sailing higher and higher and now having to dive dead downwind to get back to the finish line. Some people will sail "straight" to the finish line. Some people will initially sail low to get away from boats to windward and then try to cross the finish line at a "hot" angle. From a sailor's standpoint, you have to make the transition from having just sailed downwind to now sailing on a reach. You have to readjust your outhaul tension, cunningham tension and vang tension for this last short "reach" leg. Not to mention your mainsheet. If you end up going dead downwind back to the finish line, your sail will be out accordingly. If on a beam reach, a different situation. If on a close reach, a different situation again.

There's no way the people calling and recording the finishes can see everyone's sail numbers correctly, not to mention the huge amount of overlapped boats, everyone sailing at different angles and different rates of speed. My experience has been that the finish line is usually set way too long and there is definitely a favored end. And some poor RC person who is supposed to be sighting the finish line from what is now the bow of the RC boat (since the RC boat is parallel to the finish line) has no idea what is going on as the Lasers go screaming by.

It also poses a problem for the sailors attempting to finish at the RC boat end of the line, how close can they get to the RC boat without hitting it with their boom OR EVEN WORSE how far out is the RC boat's anchor line and how close can I get to the RC boat without getting hung up on the anchor line?

What about the people who are supposed to be recording the finishes? Again they can't accurately see the sail numbers with everyone sailing at different angles, at different rates of speed, and often overlapped. (Don't forget the RC boat is parallel to the finish line) The RC just ends up guessing who beat who, and sail numbers are inaccurately recorded and some boats missed entirely.

I'm saying this all from first-hand experience at Laser regattas over the years. And did I mention some people will come around that last "leeward" mark and not jibe at all? They will just lay off and attempt to sail by-the-lee to and across the finish line. Anyone who is familiar with Laser racing knows that this is a real possibility depending on how the RC has set that finish line.

In my opinion, people who think a reaching finish is a good idea fall into one of these categories:
a) they have never sailed Lasers
b) they have never sailed Lasers in a variety of wind, wave and current conditions
c) they have never raced Lasers in a big fleet
d) they have never raced Lasers against good competition or seen Laser sailing done by experts
e) they have never been on a race committee
f) they have never attempted to record finishes at a Laser regatta, especially a Laser regatta attended by good to expert Laser sailors

In my opinion, it is also a courtesy to the sailors to give them that downwind sailing time back to the starting area to give them time to rest, drink some water and have a snack.

Also, the idea of "wouldn't it be nice if the RC could just sit in the same spot all day long" --WRONG!! Any respectable race committee is constantly adjusting the starting line for each race to take into account shifting winds and constantly adjusting the course to take into account shifting winds, sometimes during the race itself. If the RC is too lazy to do this, they shouldn't be race committee.

Just some food for thought. Now granted this only comes from someone with 42 years experience in the Laser class, people may have other opinions on the subject.

Susie Pegel

So there you have it. One very experienced Laser sailor's opinion.

Please feel free to agree, disagree, debate, discuss, offer solutions, suggest more problems, misunderstand, or change the subject (as per usual) in the comments.

Here is a picture of me about to cross the line in a reaching finish at Cabarete in 2012.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Crazy Italian Kids Sailing Lasers


The blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus), a species that lives at great depths and is rarely seen, has been voted the world's ugliest animal.

How rude!

The blobfish may be a little aesthetically challenged.

But only to human eyes.

I bet all the lady blogfish think he's very handsome.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Best Sailing Vlog on the Planet

To vlog or not to vlog. That is the question.

A vlog is, of course, a video blog.

They have been around for years. But, as always, I am usually at least ten years behind in catching up with the latest trends.

So should I vlog?

A lot of people have been supplementing their regular blogs with video for years. Jon Deutsch, for example, of the eponymous Jon Deutsch blog, is a past master at using video to report on his sailing exploits such as the Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship and the famous Orange Coffee Pot Regatta.

And who will ever forget his classic 2014 drama, Snowblowing the Driveway?


But that is video as a supplement to a blog.

For me the word "vlog" means more than that.

A vlog is a personal journal. A series of video posts every day, in which the vlogger speaks directly into the camera and tells us about his or her life, thoughts, opinions, and interests. Videos in which the vlogger's personality and style and charisma shine through.

So are there any good sailing vlogs?

There are a lot.

Here, for example, is a sailing vlog which may just be the best sailing vlog on the planet - Sailing to Maui. This vlog really captures the essence, the feeling, the experience that ocean voyages are all about. You can find all nine posts in this series on the author's YouTube channel rdubadub.

My favorite in the series is Episode 3  in which our hero starts off by vlogging from his night watch.

So what do you think?

Should I vlog?

Will you vlog with me?

To vlog or not to vlog. That is the question.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Unintended Consequences

Some times people actually think I mean what I say on this blog. Today I was faced with a perfect example.

My regular readers, both of you, will remember that back in May of 2010 I wrote a few posts feigning an interest in powerboats.

Captain JP was partly to blame, starting it all of with a post telling us sailors that powerboats really aren't as bad as we had been told - A Message to all Sailors.

My younger son was even more to blame. He had actually bought a powerboat and was tempting me to go over with him to the Dark Side.

So I went powerboating with my son one weekend and wrote about it at Top Ten Reasons Why Powerboats Are Better Than Sailboats. As I said, I don't always write what I mean, or mean what I write. I think those fancy schmancy literary critics call that "irony."

I wrote a few other powerboat posts that month including this one - Best Powerboat Blog on the Planet. That post included this picture of a rather sexy looking powerboat.

One unintended consequence (honestly) of publishing that post is that if you google "best powerboat blog on the planet" at the top of the search results you will still find…. Proper Course. Oops!

Another unintended consequence was an email I received today. It was from a production supervisor at a film company. They have a client who wants to shoot a commercial next month that will feature some powerboats racing on the water. They were thinking of something like this…

or maybe this...

or even this…

Wait a minute? Isn't that last one the same boat that was in my 2010 post about best powerboat blog on the planet?

I think it is.

And that is why the film company contacted me today. They had seen that post of mine and naturally they thought I would be the perfect person to help them find some "state of the art or even next generation (almost futuristic looking)" powerboats to use in their commercial.

Oh dear!

I had to write the man a nice email explaining that my posts about powerboats back in 2010 were meant to be ironic, that I am really a totally rabid sailing purist and have even written several other posts on my blog ranting on about the evils of putting engines in boats. And that I would very much NOT be the best person to help his client locate the boats they want.

He took it quite well.

I still can't get over the fact that some people think I mean what I say on this blog.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Do the Math

Can anyone explain to me what this means?

Is this the secret formula for Laser boat speed?

Originally posted here.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Birthday Lunch

Today is Tillerwoman's birthday.

She's 29 (I think.)

She said she wanted to go out for lunch and have some oysters.

Her wish was granted.

1. Can any of my clever readers identify what kind of oysters these are?

2. Where they are from?

3. What did I have to drink?

4. What else did Tillerwoman have for lunch?

5. What was the topic of the conversation at the the table behind me?

6. Where is the nearest sailing club?

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Team Racing - Am I Missing Out?

Here is a slide that was shown at the US Sailing Sailing Leadership Forum (USSSLF) in San Diego this weekend.

I wasn't there. I stole this picture from Scuttlebutt on Twitter.

Why is team racing so appealing?

I must admit I have never really taken much interest in it before.

Perhaps because I have always felt that there's no "me" in team.

I know US college sailors do it and it always seemed a bit esoteric not to say kinky.

We tried it once or twice with Sunfish on New Jersey lakes and discovered that
  • the fastest sailors always win
  • lake sailing is all about shifts and puffs
  • maybe we were missing the point?

But somebody at USSSLF says it's social and has high racing "value" (whatever that means) and it builds camaraderie (I like camarades) and even a good loss is fun (I know all about that!)

So perhaps I have been missing out.

Perhaps I should try team racing this year?

Opportunity of a Lifetime for a Sailing Blogger

OK, all you watery blogger/ social media fiends.

Here is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Do you want to sail for two months on a genuine 19th century whaling ship this summer AND get paid a stipend to blog and make videos and post on social media about it?

If so, then head over to 38th Voyage Stowaway and apply to be the "stowaway" on the 38th voyage of the 1841 whaleship the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaleship in the world and America's oldest commercial vessel still afloat.

Is this a dream job or what?

Go for it!

Friday, February 07, 2014

Fish on Fridays

This giant jellyfish, about 5 feet across, was found on a beach in Tasmania recently. According to the report on the BBC website, it is a species that has been seen before but has not yet been named or classified.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Snowy Day Laser Sailor Blues

Bob Dylan sailing some boat that's not a Laser

Oh, the Tillerman writes his nonsense
Up and down his blog.
You'd ask him what the matter is
But you know he's such a dog.
Yet the sailors treat him kindly
And they all give him a break
But deep inside his heart
He knows he's just a fake.
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Newport
With the Laser blues again?

Well Judy she's going to Mexico
With her hiking boots and her hats
Speaking to some Canadian
Who will teach her how to sail fast.
Maybe I should do a clinic
To learn those downwind moves
But I'm shoveling all this snow
And I'm running out of booze.
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Newport
With the Laser blues again?

Meka tried to tell me
To stay away from the Clif Bars.
She said they're full of sugar
That will put inches on my arse.
And I said "Oh I didn't know that
But then again I don't know shit
About nutrition and diet and vitamins
And stuff that makes you fit."
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Newport
With the Laser blues again?

Petey died last week
And now he's buried in the rocks
But everybody still talks about
How badly they were shocked.
But me, I expected it to happen
I knew he'd rile the nuts
When he fought to clean  the river
And make it safe for ducks.
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Newport
With the Laser blues again?

Now the fleet captain came down here
Showing videos from his GoPro
Handing out free tickets
To the Providence Boat Show
And me, I nearly got convinced
And wouldn't he have sniffed
If I had spent thirteen thousand dollars
And bought that RS100 skiff?
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Newport
With the Laser blues again?

Now the horse he looked so baffled
When I asked him why he dressed
The ladies with their fishes
And nothing on their chests.
But he cursed me when I proved it to him
Then I whispered, "Not even you can hide
You see, you're just like me
I hope you're satisfied."
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Newport
With the Laser blues again?

Now Doug, he gave me two cures
When he said, "Your sailing's such a shambles."
The one was hiking workouts
The other was sailing angles
And like a fool I mixed them
And it tangled up my mind
And now, my tacks just get uglier
And I have no sense of time.
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Newport
With the Laser blues again?

Then Baydog says come see him
In his Barnegat lagoon
Where I can watch him sail for free
'Neath his New Jersey moon.
And I say, "Aw come on now
You know I sail a Laser,"
And he says, "You'd better sail a scow
And buy a fancy blazer."
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Newport
With the Laser blues again?

Now the snow lays on Thames Street
Where the frostbite madmen quaff.
They tell their lies so perfectly
I really shouldn't scoff.
And here I sit so patiently
Waiting to find out what price
You have to pay to just once
Win a race in all this ice.
Oh, Mama, is this really the end
To be stuck inside of Newport
With the Laser blues again?

Snow in Newport and nobody sailing a Laser

Apologies to Bob Dylan for mangling his lyrics.

And apologies also to JudyDougBaydogMeka Taulbeethe anonymous fleet captain of the MYC Sunfish FleetPete Seeger and Joe Rouse for taking their names in vain. And thanks to them for being good sports and teaching me so much about sailing and blogging and cooking and fitness and banjo playing and how to appreciate pictures of ladies in tiny bikinis holding big fishes.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Ice Breakers

I didn't sign up for frostbiting this year. I thought I would take one winter off and return to Laser racing in the Spring with even more enthusiasm than usual.

On the other hand, I did go out for some solo practice on my Laser on a couple of days in January in Rhode Island.

And I can't help reading the accounts and looking at the pictures and videos of the sailors who are braving the elements to race Lasers or Sunfish through the winter here in the north-eastern United States.

The sea has been freezing over in some places. Here is what it looked like at Sea Cliff YC on Long Island on Saturday.

Photo posted on Twitter by @wetpantssailing

But all that ice didn't deter the hardy Sunfish sailors on Long Island.

Here is a video of the Sunfish frostbiting at Sea Cliff yesterday - Superbowl Sunday. The video is from the YouTube Channel of sunfish82634 and was also posted by Lee.J.Montes to Facebook. (I have a sneaking suspicion that sunfish82634 and @wetpantssailing and Lee.J.Montes may actually know each other quite well.)

"Neither ice nor snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these sailors from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." I think that's how the quotation goes, isn't it?

I have never done frostbite racing in Sunfish but I have broken through ice to go Sunfish sailing on a few occasions on New Jersey lakes.

Long-time readers of my blog (both of you) might also like to know that the beach in the video is exactly the same place that we launched from on the day I wrote about at Turkeys and Chickens. The conditions were different on that day. There was no ice and the air was full of flying koalas. At least that's what I wrote in my post.

Watching this video made me quite nostalgic for both Sunfish sailing and frostbite racing.

If I actually try to do anything rash based on either of the aspirations in that last sentence… please shoot me.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

The Beer Run

Beer and Laser sailing go together like… like… like…

I dunno. Insert your own favorite metaphor for what goes well together.

Good race committees know this. They will have beer on board for the sailors to drink….

After the races on the way back to the club.

Between races.

During races. Yes, I have even sailed one Laser regatta where you are served beer during a race.

But what if the beer runs out?

That would be terrible.

It could ruin the whole day.

Thankfully, technology now has the answer.

Beer delivery to the race course by drone.

Check out the video….

Hey, if they can do it for ice fishers they can do it for Laser sailors.

You wouldn't need to involve the RC or those annoying Mommy boats. Just dial up a drone to deliver a case of beer on a little raft to the coordinates of the pin end of the finishing line and all the thirsty Laser sailors could help themselves.

What will they think of next?