Friday, July 10, 2015

Retired from the World

Most of my Laser sailing friends are competing in the Laser Masters Worlds in Kingston, Ontario next week. Some of them are really serious Laser Masters sailors who train hard and go to most of the big Masters events and have a real chance of placing high or even winning their fleets. Others are just keen club sailors like me, and for them the Masters Worlds is an adventure, a sailing vacation, a chance to have fun on the water and meet lots of like-minded folk from all over the world.

Me sailing in a Laser Masters Worlds with my
serious Laser Master sailor game face on

When I was leaving the sailing club on Wednesday night, one of the other members wished me well in Kingston. Obviously he assumed I was sailing in the Worlds next week because all of my friends are.

"Thanks," I said, "but I'm not going to the Worlds this year. I've done six Masters Worlds and I seem to have got it out of my system. Crossed it off the bucket list. I've retired from Masters Worlds sailing."

And that's about the truth of it. I have sailed Laser Masters Worlds in the USA, Mexico, England, Spain (twice) and Australia. I've had some great times at those events. Had many experiences that were worth blogging about. But I do seem to have lost the desire to go to any more of them.

Not that I've lost the desire to sail. That seems to be as strong as ever. This year I am sailing the RS Aero as well as the Laser and also enjoying the experience of belonging to a sailing club again and racing regularly in the club pursuit series.

And I haven't lost the desire to travel to sail.  At the end of this month I'm off to complete another item on my bucket list - sailing in the Columbia River Gorge. And I've been thinking a lot the last week or so about sailing travel plans for this fall and winter.

I place my six Laser Masters Worlds in the same category as the three marathons I have run. I was excited to challenge myself by doing both. I had some amazing experiences doing both. I am still sailing. I am still running. Just done with Masters Worlds and marathons. I think.

Tillerwoman and I were chatting the other night about which Masters Worlds we each had enjoyed the most. We both chose the 2008 Masters Worlds in Terrigal, Australia.


There were many reasons, not least of which is that we both are very fond of Australia and we took the opportunity on that trip to travel to a lot of other places in the country too. And even though I didn't do particularly well at the regatta, on the last day I had some kind of out-of-body experience that reminded me of all that is good about Masters Worlds sailing. I wrote about in Never Failed to Fail.

I wasn't having a great race but halfway up the second beat I had one of those zen-like moments. For a while I forgot I was in a race and just reflected on my blessings...  
1. I'm in Australia in the middle of the northern hemisphere winter. 
2. The sun is shining and the sky is blue without a cloud in sight. 
3. I'm sailing on the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific! (For a kid who grew up in a grimy working class town in middle England, the idea that one day I would sail on the Pacific Ocean was about as likely as that I would land on the moon.)
 Typical view in grimy working class town 
in middle England where I came from
4. The wind is perfect, the waves are challenging but manageable. Champagne sailing conditions. 
5. I have my health and fitness and can still play this game even at my age. 
6. I'm surrounded by the best bunch of guys on the planet, the other globe-trotting Laser grandmaster zealots.  
I just enjoyed being in the moment and to hell with my position in the race. 

Hmmm. Maybe I am not totally done with Master Worlds sailing after all...


Bigdog said...

I lived in Oz until I was 36, Terrigal is a fine place to sail or ride surfboards.
Yesterday I sailed on a lake in central Florida and I had the same feeling. It's too hot but just sailing around is a form of freedom that I need.

Abe said...

The Masters Worlds are in Australia again in early 2017....

Tillerman said...

Thanks for the heads-up Abe. I hadn't heard that before. Looks like the Masters Worlds will be at Adelaide in February 2017. I could be tempted out of retirement for that!

Adelaide for 2017

Anonymous said...

Curious about where the info regarding Master Worlds 2017 in Adelaide is coming from ? Source ?

Tillerman said...

It's on the New Zealand Laser Class website and also the Victoria Laser Class website (see link in previous comment.) The NZ site announcement is dated March 2015. But it's not listed in the World Championship section on the ILCA site.

Tillerman said...

The plot thickens...

There is a letter on the Adelaide Sailing Club website dated April 2015 saying that they have submitted a bid to host the 2017 Worlds but that it is not been formally awarded to them yet. And that one of the things they need to do to secure the championship is to secure $100,000 in sponsorship. The letter is actually addressed to sponsors.

But just below the letter is an announcement dated March 2015 that could certainly be read to mean they will be running the 2017 Worlds.

For what it's worth the letter is dated April 1st. Hmmm.

torrid said...

I wouldn't think the Laser Worlds are like the Olympics with multiple bids in several countries vying for the right to host.

I know there is an information rotation as to which continent host. Gives everyone around the world the opportunity to participate in one reasonably near by. Seems like they go to Australia every three or four years. I would imagine once a region is selected, they put out feelers to find a club wanting to host and help them put together a formal bid.

torrid said...

"informal rotation"

Tillerman said...

I think you are right torrid. There is some sort of informal rotation around the continents.

It's also true that sometimes a location is announced and then for whatever reason it gets changed later. I seem to recall we were going to Cascais Portugal in 2007 before there was a change of plan we ended up in Roses in Spain. Not that I'm complaining. I think Roses was my second favorite Worlds and Tillerwoman agrees.

Also there were very strong rumors that the 2016 Worlds would be in Argentina and now it seems they will be in Mexico.

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