September 16, 2014

Bart's Bash

by Pam
Four days until the "largest sailing race in the world." Lasers (full rig) have the largest class with over 1,000 boats registered. An unimpressive 21 of those are in the USA. What happened?

Honestly, I'm a bit disappointed. We contacted multiple people and the reactions went from 'never heard of it' to 'sounds like a good cause' quickly followed by lots of reasons why it just wasn't feasible.

I had heard about Bart's Bash earlier in the year but didn't quite get the concept. Over a month ago, I started learning more about it and looking for a venue where we could race in it. That's when I learned that it just hadn't caught on in the USA.

There was definitely a widespread awareness problem in the USA. Even though Jimmy Spithill was registered to do his Bart's Bash in an E-Scow regatta at a USA venue, the club where he was registered didn't begin announcing or advertising the Bart's Bash portion of the event until this past month.

Hopefully, this will become an annual event because there is a lot of room for growth.

In the meantime, it's not too late to make a small donation to the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation (click the link below). Bart's Bash is a fundraiser event to help the Foundation continue Bart's legacy of paying it forward.

In the words of Ian Percy:
 "We would have had a hard day’s training in whatever country we were in, and we’d have gone to bed and I would sleep almost immediately. Sometimes, though, I’d wake up and hear the tap, tap, tap of a keyboard and I’d ask Bart what he was up to and why he wasn’t going to sleep, and he would just reply, ‘Yeah, I will in a minute, it’s just that (insert name of young sailor here) is having a couple of problems and he/she just needs a little advice.’

Nothing was too much trouble for Bart – he believed passionately in supporting the next generation and he did it because he cared.’

September 08, 2014

Getting Ready for Hyères - Starting

By Doug
I'm really looking forward to Hyères because with more than 500 entries, it will be competition at its best. I really hope that they do not split up our fleet because having that many boats on the line will be a real challenge and treat.

So, as everyone prepares for the huge fleets, here are some starting thoughts from one of the best - Paul Goodison on his way to winning one of his European Championships.

I've highlighted Paul in green and we'll be watching how he manages his main concern - the boats just above him on the starting line (SWE1, SUI, SWE2).

This sequence begins with Paul in a bit of a jam.

Paul heads up slightly with 30 seconds to go. SWE1 reacts, SUI and SWE2 do not see this.

Paul bears off, SWE1 does not, SUI is in trouble, SWE2 is not reacting yet.

SWE1 is trying to protect against SUI while SWE2 is only now reacting. Paul is sitting pretty.

SWE1, SUI, SWE2 are fighting, Paul with a good lane bears off to build speed before the start.

At the gun, Paul flattens to accelerate while SWE1 only now gets ready to accelerate. SUI is trying to hold off SWE2. Note that Paul, with a good lane and speed, is already focusing on what's upwind.

With good speed, Paul outpoints SWE1.

SWE1 looks for a lane to tack into...

...and gets out of there.

A simple bump-and-go with 30 seconds to go caused the windward boats to defend at the moment when they should have been thinking about ways to be aggressive and accelerate.

This turns a being-jammed-start into a textbook-perfect-start.

August 24, 2014

No More Back Pain

by Pam
Pass the ibuprofen please!

Regardless of age or the boat sailed, alot sailors have back problems of some sort. Many a Laser sailor has had to take a break from or part ways with their Laser because of their back.

Doug has been sailing a Laser since 1977 (37 years) and he doesn't complain of back problems. He is an exception. He eats right, exercises, doesn't carry extra weight and always stretches before sailing.

I rarely eat right, genetics blessed me with a fast metabolism such that I could eat whatever I wanted and not gain weight (until age 50) and if exercise didn't come in the form of fun and games, I wanted no part of it. Starting in my 20s I had minor back problems that I ignored. In my 30s I had back problems that I medicated and in my 40s I had back surgery. In my 50s, I pay attention to anything and everything that might make a difference as I now know that all of my problems were 100% predictable and preventable.

This is worth paying attention to: 

If someone is currently experiencing back problems, give this 30 day challenge a try and let me know if it works:

August 18, 2014

Boots and pants and knees and feet

by Pam
Getting ready to go out on the water on a windy weekend. Short pants, 3/4 pants and long pants ...

Is that sailor in the middle wearing underwear on the outside of his pants?  Why?

At the end of weekend ... which knees go with which pants?

Which feet were wearing boots?

Cannonball Run

by Pam

This past weekend we traveled to Palacios Yacht Club for a combined adult Laser District 15 and youth Cannonball Run (Opti/4.7/Radial) Regatta. Normally, there is no mixing of youth and adult regattas and I'll admit I was a little skeptical about the concept but it turned out to be a brilliant idea to combine the two. It's definitely a model that should be considered for encouraging and building participation. It somehow provided the perfect push/pull for both the sailors and the parents in attendance.

Palacios is located in Texas part way between Galveston and Corpus Christi and the "yacht club" appears to be wherever the members hang their sign and boats and people gather. They proved that with community support and lots of awesome volunteers, you just don't need a clubhouse to put on a great event.

There was plenty of wind, sun and heat for the weekend. Hydration, sunscreen, fitness and a little fearlessness were all definite musts for racing. I registered which helped get the numbers where they needed to be to qualify the event for grand prix points but I took one look at the conditions and opted out of sailing. That would leave Doug free to focus on his own sailing and not have to worry about me. One of the goals for the mixing of adults and youth was to encourage kids and parents to both race. There was certainly no shortage of race saavy parents on hand. However, I suspect that many parents made the same choice as I did but made it earlier, deciding that the kids had priority. In less challenging and more controlled conditions, I could certainly see more parents (and spouses) opting in rather than out.

After helping Doug drag his dolly through the sandy beach (no small task) and getting him launched, I got back up to the parking lot and turned around and he had already returned. He hollered that the pin on the vang had broken (same thing happened to Sebastian between races but he carried a spare pin in his life jacket which Doug now has too). I grabbed the gear box and ran toward the beach, fished out another pin and for the life of me all I could see were those little 'I hate you' ring dings that would just about fit the pinky of a four year old (who can use those things?). I just pulled my ring off and used that instead. Quite handy.

As I was standing on the beach watching him sail away, a parent jokingly asked me if I'd gotten my boy off safely. I laughed as I looked around and saw all the parents up and down the beach doing the same thing. So that's what I'd become … the parent of a sailor. More than once, as I looked out on the racing, I was asked which course my kid was on. When we first arrived, I parked (temporarily) right up front. After a while we were sort of boxed in and couldn't move but by day 2, upon realizing that 'my kid' was the oldest kid on the race course, I declared the spot the 'Sailors Over Sixty parking' and just claimed it as ours.

It was an interesting weekend of contrasts. Most of the young sailors put up their sails really early letting them flog in the wind. The older sailors (who bought their own sail) waited until the very last minute.

When returning to the sandy beach, there was an arduous hike through the sand to get the boat to the parking lot and water hose. The kids, without thinking twice, headed to the water hose with boat in tow, most of the time requiring multiple adults to help push and pull. The adults helped a few kids, then just walked to the water hose without their boats and stood under the water to cool off. Then they changed, grabbed food and water and debated whether they really needed to drag the boat off the public beach and rinse it off and put it in the parking lot.

I didn't make it off the shore so haven't a clue about the racing. Several sailors left the course early and I was told I made the right decision not to sail. Watching the Opti kids come in was a hoot. One father was in a kayak and his daughter was following him in her Opti. He'd call out 'tack' and round she'd go. He talked her all the way into the beach and she calmly did everything she was told. When she got out of the boat she was just a tiny little thing and I was all choked up from watching her. Just amazingly precious!

The funniest thing I noticed several times was when a kid was actually pulled off his Opti and the boat towed back in, no matter where that Opti was, the kid placed himself on the motor boat at the furthest distance away from the Opti.

Now the dedication of one parent, who's kid schooled 'my kid' all weekend, was so determined to see the racing that he and another fellow and two large dogs (all without life jackets) jumped on a two seater jet ski and headed to the race course. That was definitely a sight. I understand the jetski had some issues and they were towed back in.

At the end of the regatta, 18 year old, Keen, had soundly and repeatedly beaten Doug and thrown out a 1 in the final scoring. Although the two were usually separated from the pack, Keen was clearly the better sailor.

Keen sat down to dinner with us on Saturday evening and there was an interesting exchange. Weight - Keen is a few pounds lighter than Doug. Age - Doug is 4 and half decades older than Keen. Doug assumed Keen was heavier and Keen assumed Doug was younger. Their sailing speed was similar upwind with Doug getting to the first windward mark ahead of Keen about 4 out of the 7 races but Keen was much faster downwind. Keen's observation was that all of Doug's controls were too loose. Keen's coach, Ryan Minth, has his students sailing with tighter controls upwind than anyone else. So, on day 2, Doug sailed with his controls on harder but it's going to take some time for fine tuning. Doug thought the boat felt more balanced and more responsive but it also felt like sailing a Radial coming off the start line (no power). Keen's downwind concentration was such that he didn't really pay attention to Doug so he didn't have any advice to offer.

So far, the most impressive downwind speed that Doug has seen in the area comes out of Houston. Hopefully, Doug will get a chance to get down there before the Worlds and let those kids (and Ryan) teach him a thing or two.

Yet another precious moment was at the end of the regatta where there was a 50 pound kid struggling to pull an Opti with about 60 pounds of water in it and Doug felt compelled to go lend a hand. It made Doug's weekend.

August 10, 2014

Women and Sailing

by Pam
I haven't seen many willing to talk about this, so I'm going there.

Psychological (yes, we are crazy)

A woman comes home from work to find her pubescent daughter sitting on the couch sobbing uncontrollably. She gently asks, "honey, what's wrong?" and the daughter, still sobbing, frightened and half yelling, replies "I DON'T KNOW!"

There is an old joke. Why does it take 5 women with PMS to change a light bulb? The answer, "IT JUST DOES, OKAY?"

Parking lot scene from Fried Green Tomatoes where an older woman loses her ability to "hide her crazy and act like a lady:"

Two mothers comparing notes of raising boys versus girls noted that with boys, it's all physical and with girls it's all mental.

I find comfort in hearing and seeing these things because it reassures me I'm not alone in my feelings and I'm somewhat normal in my actions and that maybe my own "moments" will one day be a source of humor.

I'll never forget the day, as a young adult, I sat in my gynecologist's office asking the doctor why I couldn't just be calm and stable like a man. He proceeded to start drawing a graph on the white board showing me the normal hormone fluctuations of the female body each month from a few years before puberty until a few years after menopause. I sat there with my mouth hanging open and finally said, "That's a bad design. No two days of hormone levels are ever the same. No wonder men think we're crazy. WE ARE … by design!"

This is the starting framework for women. In that framework lies the reason for every "why" question you've ever had about a woman. As you can see, the actual answers to your questions are as random and variable as the day of the month. 

Physiological (no, we are not stable)

Every month, from puberty to menopause, the unaltered female body prepares to make a baby. This has both psychological and physiological ramifications that can and do affect her desire and ability to sail.

There have been studies that show women perform best during the part of the monthly cycle when estrogen levels are high. When progesterone levels are high; however, the studies show they perform their worst.

Hormones also alter the set-point of the female's body temperature which means it changes the temperature at which her body will begin to attempt to cool or warm itself. When estrogen is high, the body temperature is lower and when progesterone is high, the body temperature is higher, both of which can become very real issues if sailing in extreme temperatures.

For instance, in the second half of the cycle, a woman's body must reach a higher temperature before her thermostat compensates and begins to cool itself plus there is also a decreased ability to dilate the small blood vessels under skin. Hyperthermia (an increased body temperature) is one of the factors that causes fatigue during exercise and because the body won't begin to attempt to cool itself, there is an increased risk of heat-related issues such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

As the hormones fluctuate normally, this can affect everything from the available oxygen in the blood and iron levels to hydration and electrolytes. Plus, fluctuations in hormones are exacerbated during exercise. 

On particularly hot days, race committees will often remind people to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated and quietly keep an eye out for older participants. Everyone should be more aware of women's monthly vulnerabilities and sensitivities to heat. 

Here is a graphic showing the body temperature fluctuations throughout the month:

That time of the month (bob and weave guys)

For those who organize events and want to encourage women to sail, especially on dinghies, you MUST realize that planning for women includes planning for their hormones. 

There is a time of the month when women have an extra issue to deal with (beyond the lack of stable hormones) and having a guaranteed bathroom break is essential. To be somewhat crude, for those of us who still have a monthly visitor, we have two options: diaper or plug. Leaving either of those unattended for a day of sailing simply isn't an option without adverse consequences ranging from embarrassment to hospitalization. Don't try to squeeze in that extra race.

Cause and Effect

Doug and I were sailing yesterday and he was on race duty. It wasn't an optimal time for me to be sailing psychologically or physiologically but our race format is two races, a break and then one final race so I figured I'd be okay. Doug tells me before the racing begins that the fleet captain has decided to do three races back to back because the wind is supposed to die. I'm not pleased.

100+ degree temperatures, a bob and weave time of month and my bathroom break taken away. Quite subconsciously (I hope) I proceeded to foul the fleet captain on the start line, have an emotional meltdown on the course, then t-boned the fleet captain on the finish line after I finished and circled around making my way to the committee boat to give Doug a piece of my mind (we had just had a failed experiment with two way-radios) and by the third race I was having waves nausea and early signs of heat exhaustion and had to call out for assistance. Lovely. I went from irritable and impatient to batshit crazy to sick and helpless. 

Oh joy ... next month I get to do it again ... poor Doug. 

August 01, 2014

Coordinated Simultaneous World Club Race

by Pam

One club race held simultaneously across the whole world on a Sunday with the race results mashed together to create one big world race. Oh, and set a world record and get every participating sailor's name in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Bart's Bash is scheduled for September 21, 2014. Are you participating? Has your club signed up?

"Bart" is America’s Cup sailor Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, Olympic gold and silver medalist, who died in an America's Cup training accident last year. This event is in his honor.

I had read about Bart's Bash a few months ago and recently started looking to see which clubs in my area are participating. Only one club in all of Texas is signed up? WHAT! So, I started sending out inquiries and the overwhelming response was … 'Huh? Never heard of it.'

Look, I'm never going to win a world sailing event but becoming a world record holder is as easy as participating in one single local sailboat race and I even get to see how I scored against the likes of Robert Scheidt and Ben Ainsle. I say as easy as but since no club in my area has signed up, it might not be so simple. Even the UAE has three clubs signed up. The UK has over 400 clubs whereas the US has only about 30. Where is the disconnect here?

I'm like the least educated person I know when it comes to all things sailing. Doug remembered hearing the name of the event but didn't realize it was being held simultaneously at local clubs all over the world. There are, of course, a few simple requirements but nothing too difficult to implement.

The event is open to every class. So far, the Laser class has the largest number of sailors signed up to participate. Sort of fitting since Bart began his competitive sailing career in a Laser before moving on to the Finn and then the Star. 

If you're planning to sail somewhere on September 21, 2014, please ask your club to sign up and make the few tweaks necessary to one race to qualify for the Bart's Bash event.

July 23, 2014

What's Going on with Kirby v. LPE?

by Pam
Everyone keeps asking and the people that know aren't talking. I don't have any insights but every time I go to check the status, it takes me too much time to find everything again. So, the below case headings are links that will take you to the public data available. I've summarized what I saw as coming up but if I have it wrong, please correct me.

The trademark cancellation stuff is all public and it's just a matter of understanding the cancellation process. Looks like everything is proceeding along.

The lawsuit is quasi public and from my calculations a Joint Status Report is due on August 24th which should shed some light on how things are going and whether there was any progress in the mediation. A few of the parties have been dismissed.  A couple more are trying to get dismissed. It's all moving very slow.

Karaya LASER TM Cancellation Proceeding (92/057,167)
30-Aug-14Plaintiff's 30-day Trial Period Ends
14-Sep-14Defendant's Pretrial Disclosures
29-Oct-14Defendant's 30-day Trial Period Ends
13-Nov-14Plaintiff's Rebuttal Disclosures
13-Dec-14Plaintiff's 15-day Rebuttal Period Ends
Velum LASER TM Cancellation Proceeding (92/057,217)
19-Aug-14Discovery Closes
03-Oct-14Plaintiff's Pretrial Disclsoures
17-Nov-14Plaintiff's 30-day Trial Period Ends
02-Dec-14Defendant's Pretrial Disclosures
16-Jan-15Defendant's 30-day Trial Period Ends
31-Jan-15Plaintiff's Rebuttal Disclosures
02-Mar-15Plaintiff's 15-day Rebuttal Period Ends
Kirby v. LP Lawsuit (3:13-cv-00297)
Parties:BKI - Bruce Kirby, Inc. (Plaintiff-Counterclaim Defendant)
BK - Bruce Kirby (Plaintiff-Counterclaim Defendant)
LPE - LaserPerformance (Europe) Limited (Defendant-Counterclaim Plaintiff)
QM - Quarter Moon, Incorporated (Defendant-Counterclaim Plaintiff)
ILCA - International Laser Class Association (Defendant)
GSL - Global Sailing Limited (Additional Counterclaim Defendant)
PSA - Performance Sailcraft Pty. Ltd. (Additional Counterclaim Defendant)
KL - Kayara (Jersey) Limited (Defendant) - DISMISSED 2-27-14 - lack of personal jurisdiction
VL - Velum Limited (Defendant) - 
DISMISSED 2-27-14 - lack of personal jurisdiction
ISAF - International Sailing Federal Limited (Defendant) - 
DISMISSED 2/27/14 - lack of personal jurisdiction
FR - Farzad Rastegar (Defendant) - 
DISMISSED 2/27/14 - failure to state claim
07-Aug-14Disclosure of Opening Expert Reports due
Prefiling Conference Request for Dispostive motions (if any) due
24-Aug-14Joint Status Report due
29-Aug-14Damages Analysis due
04-Sep-14Rebuttal Experts Reports due
15-Sep-14Trial Brief due
22-Sep-14Discovery due
Oct. 2014Mandatory Settlement Conference
20-Oct-14Trial Ready Date

July 18, 2014

5 Years

by Pam
Five years ago today, Doug and I had race duty and stopped on the way to the lake to tie the knot. We were aiming for 7-8-09 as the date so that Doug wouldn't have to work too hard to remember it, plus the number would have been excellent feng shui. However, being a bit unorganized, we didn't get our paperwork done in time and had to settle for 7-18-09. Still a good feng shui number and not much harder to remember. A year later we announced our marriage to our friends and family. 

We hadn't bothered to exchange rings, names, etc. and this year I came across a ring ding that looked like it would fit Doug's finger and I jokingly put it on him. To my surprise he didn't take it off. After all, for a sailor it's quite practical. A short time later we found one that fit my finger and we suddenly had wedding rings. How many people have rings that will interlock forming the symbol for infinity, will save you or a friend in an emergency, can easily be replaced and, let's face it, it's pretty hard to get attached to the ring itself instead of its meaning. 

Years ago, I was a Notary and would notarize estate planning documents. The clients of the firm where I worked were the obscenely wealthy. At the time, there was a Power of Attorney document that had to be filled in and signed in front of witnesses as the attorney explained the options of making it effective upon death, disablement or with immediate effect. This was followed by an explanation that if it was effective immediately, the person to whom the power had been given could go out the next day and legally empty the bank accounts and sell everything belonging to the person giving the power. The husband would nod knowingly. 

Many of the couples that came in were older men with younger wives yet many were also close to the same age. The husband always seemed to be the one with the money (usually family money). Based on the size of the wedding ring the wife was wearing, regardless of age, I could predict with 100% accuracy which option the husband would select for when the Power of Attorney would become effective. The smaller the ring the more the trust.

All that to say, after watching this play out over and over, I was opposed to even having wedding rings ... but these are really a sailor's best friend.

July 17, 2014

Laser Cheat Sheet - Settings Explained

By Doug
This question from Tony in the UK about our cheat sheet in the right-hand column:

I recently changed to a Laser and am finding that what looks very simple from the outside is a bit complicated! I have been finding out loads from your cheat sheets and have a question: when you refer to inches in the table in the right column, what exactly are you measuring??

The settings are deceptively simple, really important, and are in inches (apologies to readers outside the US). Different people have very different settings - these are what work for me.

Traveler refers to how high/low it is off your deck. As a general rule, you want the traveler to be as low as possible without affecting your steering. Lower is better, so a low-profile carbon tiller is a must.

Upwind (in the order I set controls at the bottom of the run getting ready to go upwind)
  • Vang tension is interesting because you use it to depower the rig when it's windy and to flatten the sail and let the boom out (not up) when it's light. In medium conditions, I have no vang tension and control the sail with my mainsheet
  • Cunningham (or downhaul) settings vary greatly. Some like "speed wrinkles" while others like it so tight that the bottom of the sail behind the mast is hard to read. I rely on the Laser's good design and just pull the cunningham enough to get wrinkles out and then release it enough so that the sail is sensitive enough to read. When it's windy, some pull so tight that they have to set up the cunningham on one side of the boom to get it really low.
  • Outhaul is a trick I learned from Steve Bourdow after he came second at the 1990 Open Worlds: put your thumb on the boom and then the tip of your pinkie should just touch the sail at its fullest part (this reminds Pam of the Hawaii hang loose sign). What I like about this measurement is that people with smaller hands tend to weigh less and therefore need a flatter setting. As the wind increases, you depower with a tighter outhaul.
  • Mainsheet refers to the distance between the two mainsheet blocks at the back of the boat. I prefer to have a looser setting compared with most others. As the wind increases you want to get to block-to-block, but many do this way too soon. When it's really windy, you need to depower by letting the boom out (with a tight vang, the boom goes out instead of up).
First day of the 2012 Master Midwinters East, set up for light air. Note the really loose mainsheet
set for speed and not pointing (I won both races that day).

Downwind (in the order I set controls when rounding a mark to go downwind)
  • Cunningham is let off as much as possible. Having it too tight in a breeze makes things unstable and may have cost me the 1999 Master Worlds.
  • Vang downwind has many possible settings. A good general rule is to have it loose enough to have the leach move back and forth a little on its own. Most people have it too tight.
  • Outhaul as measured from the middle of the boom to the fullest part of the sail. This tends to be really loose until it's windy.
  • Mainsheet is tricky to get right. I try to sail by-the-lee whenever possible. If it's really windy, this means pulling the boom in as this also helps make things more stable.

July 10, 2014

Reducing Mistakes - More Important Than Boatspeed?

By Doug
I gave a clinic in Colorado a few years ago and shared something that others may find useful.

Besides the final score of a Superbowl, what statistic is most likely to determine the winner? Passing yards? Nope. Rushing yards? Nope. Total yards? Nope. Time of possession? Nope. Winning record against other teams? Nope. All good guesses, but all wrong. The answer is the number of mistakes - the team that turned the ball over the least has almost always won:
  • Since Superbowl I in 1967, only three winners committed more turnovers.
  • Super Bowl winners have committed 52 turnovers while losers have committed 135.
  • Fifteen Super Bowl winners committed zero turnovers.
In professional football, the best talent money can buy is wiped out by mistakesSo, is this also true in sailing? I decided to check it out for myself. Here's a list of mistakes in a typical race:

Before leaving the beach
Arriving late at the rigging area
Not checking sailing instructions
Not checking relative positions
Not checking tides
Not checking weather
Not clearing my mind
Not checking the boat
Not checking spars, fittings
Not preparing spare equipment
Not stretching

At the starting line
Arriving late
Not checking tides
Not checking wind phase
Not checking line sight
Not watching earlier starters
Not picking the correct end
Not anticipating first shift
Not knowing the favored side
Not having a game plan
Not knowing where fleet is starting

The start
Not picking a good hole
Getting greedy
No using peripheral vision/time
Not accelerating
Not pointing
Not protecting my lane
Not working 100% to punch out
Ignoring location of judge boats

The first shift
Getting boxed in
Not tacking when fully mature
Not protecting my lane
Not knowing where the leaders are

The first beat
Not knowing which side to protect
Not knowing where the leaders are
Not staying with the top 10
Not keeping head out of the boat
Trying to win race, not the event
Approaching the 1st mark
Not anticipating traffic
Forgetting last shift is persistent

The 1st mark
Getting greedy
Not being in the top 5
Not powering up properly

The 1st reach
Not protecting my lane
Letting stretch/not stretching

The run
Not keeping clear air at all times
Not carving
Not protecting the inside for room

The bottom reach   
Not stretching out

2nd beat
Not leading to the right, or
Not staying with the leaders
Not keeping head out of the boat
Not using boat-speed

Rest of the race
Poor communication
Pumping too much
Not watching others mistakes

Picking the wrong end of the line
Not protecting the right

After racing
Not eating pasta within 30 minutes
Not stretching
Not checking for protests
Not writing down everything

One of the good things about keeping a sailing journal is that you can go back and learn from an event, even years later. I did this for:
I created a spreadsheet with the races along the top as columns and the possible mistakes along the side as rows. For each mistake, I scored 1 for a minor mistake, 2 for a major mistake, and 3 for a disaster (like an OCS). This turned out to be fantastically revealing.

The row scores for each part of the race told me what part of the race was the most dangerous. I had always assumed that it was the start, but I was wrong. Think about it - In Melbourne we had 72 boats on the starting line that was almost 500 meters long. It was crazy for sure, but the same number of boats had to squeeze through just 1% of that space to round the first mark. For me, the first mark rounding was much more difficult and where lots of mistakes were made.

Lesson learned:
  • Get a clean start, get into phase, and think way ahead about how you want to approach and round the first mark.
The column score totals for each race were even more revealing.

Lessons learned:
  • My boatspeed was consistently good, but my finishes were not consistent.
  • No mistakes meant 4 bullets (ignore race 11 in Chile because I had already won).
  • There is a correlation between the number of mistakes and how badly I finished.
  • Spending time on physical preparation is important for boatspeed. But mental preparation to reduce mistakes is also important - perhaps even more so.
Something to keep in mind when preparing for Hyères.
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