For me, there are local events, regional events, and then the Worlds. Here's how I prepare for a regional event, in this case the Master Midwinters East.
This is going to be held at Port Charlotte Florida, a place I had to find on the map. It's a salt water inland bay that should not have any big waves and should feel more like lake sailing than open-water sailing. The weather there has been sunny with temperatures in the 70's. The wind can come from any direction and is rarely above 10 mph. So it could feel like one of our lakes in Dallas.
I like to give my body a rest between Worlds and with the Oman Worlds still 10 months away, I'm pretty much out of shape. I've spent a little time on my hiking bench but have been taking it easy as Pam and I recover from a touch of the flu. I'm not concerned about being out of shape because of the light winds forecast. Weighing 170 pounds should not be a problem.
What is much more important is preparing mentally. This will be my first event since November and there will definitely be some rust. To offset this, I like to walk through what the races might feel like. If it's like last year, the starts will be tight, there will be lots of speed off the line, and it will pay to keep an eye on all parts of the fleet as it splits up. Having a good first day is important as it will set the tone for the rest of the regatta, something that happened last year.
Of course, it's great being able to check out the Website to see all of the people who have registered. It looks like there will be at least as many people as the 57 we had last year. And the competition will be good, with Buzzy Heausler, Andy Roy, Mike Matan, John MacCausland, Peter Shope, and a bunch of other really fast people showing up. The pin is going to be crowded!
No one has won this event back-to-back since Ian Lineberger first won it in 2000. Perhaps this will change this year. But that's not why I'm going. It's a great event with awesome people who will help me get back into shape as the long preparation starts for the Oman Worlds. For me, this is the real goal and the Master Midwinters is my first step for preparing for this awesome event.
That, and of course having the privilege of seeing friends and sailing with some of the coolest people anywhere.