Thursday, March 06, 2014

Looking Back at Laser Sailing in 2013

It's Throwback Thursday so let's take a look back into the dim distant past of… 2013.

It was another funny old year…

In January and February I did a spot of frostbiting with the Newport Laser Fleet. There was the day we sailed in the fog, there was the day I got ice on the deck and a big smile on my face, and the awesome day when I almost began to feel that I might not be too bad at Laser sailing after all.

Then there were three consecutive weekends in February when even I didn't think it was suitable for Laser sailing, but towards the end of the month I actually broke my own record for how early in the year I went out for a bit of solo practice. I must be nuts.

In March I went down to Florida with some friends to train with coach Kurt Taulbee at SailFit.

This is me

I learned a lot, especially on the day when I helped one of my friends (and myself) overcome Heavy Ar Fear by being the idiot to be saying, "It looks great out there. I'm going sailing. Who's coming with me?"

On returning to chilly Rhode Island I did a bit more frostbite racing and another eight days of Spring Training in March and April. I was pretty pleased with myself at the end of April thinking that I had prepared as well as I reasonably could for the upcoming season. This Year Will Be Different. Right?

I did some more solo training in May. Well sort of. You could also describe it as going off on my own for some rowdy raunchy loud hysterical crazy fun.

This is me too

Then I sailed four regattas over the summer of 2013 and learned something at all of them.

At the 2-day Wickford Regatta in May I learned that all my on-the-water practice in March, April and May had paid off. I was fit enough to be able to complete every single race and I still felt strong right up to the end of the final race. This was major progress compared to 2012 where I was frequently missing the last race or two on every day at the regattas I attended. Even better than that, I was passing boats on reaches and runs, probably due to some of the work I did with Kurt at SailFit. So that was all good.

The 2-day John Bentley Regatta at New Bedford YC in June would have been special whatever happened on the water,  because it was in memory of a sailing friend we lost way too young the previous December. But I did learn a lot too, mainly about Managing Arousal and Anxiety. Or how not to be a slug or a crazed squirrel. On the first day I realized afterwards that I had been too much like the crazed squirrel. And on the second day I started like a slug, but found a couple of ways to energize myself, get myself in "the zone" and enjoyed a rewarding day of racing in perfect Buzzards Bay weather. I don't remember a day I had more fun racing. And I finished in the top ten! So that was all good.

This is a slug

The 2-day New England Masters at Sail Newport in September was a big learning experience too.  On the first day, the learnings included….

1. Mid line sag is real
2. The other sailors have no idea where the start line is either.
3. The other sailors are really good at accelerating off the start line.
4. I suck at accelerating off the start line.
5. In a large, close fleet it's not a good idea to approach the mark on the port tack layline.
6. I hate bridges.
7. Don't capsize
8. I need to learn how to do capsize recoveries faster.
9. Don't screw up
10. When I don't race for a couple of months, I screw up.

But apart from that it was all good.

On the second day, I learned that Doug's advice on Improper Course about Sailing in the Middle of the Fleet (a primer for the mid-fleet average sailor) really worked. I was 6th out of 48 in one race (woo hoo!) and won a trophy for third place in the "incredibly old geezers - they really ought to be in the nursing home instead of blundering around the race course getting in everyone else's way" category (woo hoo again!) So that was all good.

On the other hand, at the 3-day North American Masters in October it was not all good. For some reason I was not prepared - certainly not mentally and perhaps not physically either - for the regatta. I had been looking forward to it all year but my heart wasn't it. I sailed badly. I quit early. The experience did cause me to think a lot about what kind of sailing events I do and do not enjoy and how that will affect my choice of regattas this year; and also to work out what I will need to do to prepare for a major event like this in the future. So that was all good. I really should blog about it one day.

Wait. What happened in July and August?

In July I went Laser sailing locally ten times, including one afternoon sailing with my son on Mount Hope Bay when we made a landing on Spar Island and claimed it for the British Empire.

This is my son on Spar Island

And in August we spent a lot of time with the family and I only sailed my Laser four times.

Oh wait. I almost forgot the highlight of the year - the trip to Minorca Sailing in September. This year one of my local sailing friends and his wife joined us there and we all had a blast. Well, I had a blast. I think the others did. I learned a lot and won the first Thursday regatta, and won the pursuit race, and won the second Thursday regatta. And there were sardines. There were definitely sardines. It was all good.

These are sardines

And then in December, Tillerwoman and I had another wonderful vacation at the Bitter End Yacht Club in the BVI. We sailed catamarans a lot together. I sailed a Laser and won both the Laser regatta and the Hobie regatta on the Sunday we were there. There was kayaking and swimming and running and hiking. There was rum. There was definitely rum. It was all good. I really should blog about it one day.

This is me relaxing at BEYC

Wait. What happened in November? I have no idea. Apparently nothing.

According to my notes, I went Laser sailing on 72 days in 2013. It's not 100. But it is more than 43 so most of my male readers are happy.

Oh. I almost forgot the best day of the year. October 12.

Andrew James
5th grandchild
3rd grandson
Born 12 Oct 2013

It was all good.


Joe said...

Wow! You had a great year.

Tillerman said...

It was good to look back and remember all the good times I had.

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