February 11, 2014

2013 - Those Who Inspired Me

By Doug
Last year I wrote a post about those who inspired me in 2012.  I'm a little late but here are some of the people I found really inspirational in 2013. At the top of my list is Vanessa Dudley who beat me and won a Laser Master Worlds in Oman. She is an awesome sailor and person. And how cool was it for her to show Omani women that they can compete with and even beat the men!


Pam:  Doug said that Mark Bethwaite was helping him fold his sail after the Worlds were over and Doug told Mark he was helping him do something very special.  Mark asked what and Doug said 'this is the last time I'll ever fold a Radial sail.' This inspired Mark because he's looking forward to beating Doug too.

Of course, there was watching Robert Scheidt in Oman win his 9th Worlds. When I first arrived early on the second day, I saw him having breakfast with someone who was attending his first Worlds and was a little shell-shocked by the competitive fleet. Robert is always there to help anyone he can and is an awesome ambassador for our sport.

Another sailor competing in his first Worlds was Blake from Reaching Broadly. It is always great to see new people coming into the sport, especially as a Great Grand Master.  By competing, he also helped establish the first ever Great Grand Master full rig fleet, paving the way for me to follow in his footsteps, as I will no longer be sailing a Radial.

At the beginning of the year I had the pleasure of sailing with John MacCausland when he won the Laser Master Midwinters. He went on to win the Star Worlds. A Masters sailor winning the open Star Worlds. Inspirational!

I was in Canada for the Canadian Masters in the summer and dropped in to see family. I'm inspired by my kid brother, Brian, on the right who had a stroke 5 years ago and still has no feeling on the right side of his body. He has had to relearn how to talk and even walk. This would discourage many people but Brian sees the world very differently - every single day is a gift. A good reminder.

We lost some good US Laser sailors like Bob Saltmarsh and John Bentley, both from the New England area. Both were true gentlemen and made North American Laser sailing incredible fun.  They will both be missed. 

I'm inspired by the entire Kiwi AC team. Needing just one more victory, they were more than a kilometer ahead of Oracle in race 13 when the time ran out. We can all learn from their competitive spirit and grace.

I'm inspired by Bruce Kirby and all he continues to try to do for the Laser class despite those who have seemingly forgotten his contributions. If it was not for Bruce, none of the fun and adventures in this blog would ever have taken place.

Here in Dallas, Roger Hansen is an 80-something fellow who still sails single-handed boats. I want to be just like him when I grow up.

I'm most inspired by our readers who leave comments, make suggestions, ask questions, challenge and disagree with me.  All of this makes me a better sailor and brings me even more enjoyment from the thing I love.

Speaking of loves, I'm an constantly inspired by Pam who supports my sailing while at the same time challenging and making me prove everything I think I know.  

24 comments:

  1. Now I'm inspired. Good one Doug!

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  2. Great post.

    So on the topic of Radials etc. I think Oman was the first Masters Worlds that had a Great Grandmaster Full Rig fleet. I assumed that this was, at least partly, because Oman was known to be a light wind venue. But your post seems to imply that this will now be a permanent feature of future Masters Worlds. Is that so? Was it announced somewhere that there will always be a Full Rig GGM fleet in the future?

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    1. You are correct about the GGM full rigs at a Master Worlds, and it took some effort by Mark B. I have seen no official decision, but it will be hard to put that larger, popular genie back into that bottle.

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  3. Judging by the age groups you report in your Masters World Journals in the side bar you will be moving up to GGM in 2015 or 2016? Any hints yet on the venues for those?

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    1. We have France this year.

      I thought that next year was to be in Kingston but the ILCA's Website is still taking bids for 2015. There are a lot of people who would love to meet you, perhaps in Kingston?

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    2. Maybe. Had some good times sailing CORK in Kingston in the past.

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  4. And did I see some story about the new (proposed?) ISAF rules for World Championships would mean that the Laser Class might not be able to run so many different Worlds ever year, and that could put the Masters Worlds at risk?

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    1. We had a briefing in Oman about how the ISAF wants to (1) greatly reduce the number of Laser Worlds and (2) greatly reduce the number of sailors to 20 in a Worlds. Translation: no more Master Worlds. I could not find one person who thought that these were good ideas.

      I talked with the father of the open sailor from one of the Caribbean countries. It costs about $250k/year for his son to compete and there is little chance of him being in the top 20, which means little chance to get continued funding.

      It looks like the ISAF is punishing the Laser class for its success. I'd very much like to know what problem they think they're solving.

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    2. Yeah, I was confused about what problem they think there is too. There's something every special about the Laser Masters Worlds, including that most of are there not because we are in the top 20 in the world but just for the joy of participation and for the chance to meet sailors from so many parts of the world.

      Maybe if the Torch Class becomes the new "official" ISAF sanctioned/ Olympic class for the elite sailors, then we regular sailors could also keep the old Laser Class going as a stand-alone grass-roots organization which has nothing to do with ISAF and we could still run Laser Masters Worlds.

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    3. This was actually discussed at the briefing.

      One person went so far as to suggest that these new rules are the price masters must pay to keep the Laser's Olympic status. I did not hear anyone agree with him.

      It seems that lots of folks are trying to target a younger audience with more exciting Olympic events. Like snowboards jumping off obstacles, which for me is great. But last night I saw Slopestyle skiing for the first time - a new sport that has skiers jumping off the same obstacles - dumbest thing I've seen so far. What's next - snowboarding off a 90-meter ski jump?

      Frank Bethwaite once told me that the Olympics can be the worst thing that can happen to a sport.

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  5. Bah! Humbug! Gaaaargh! Ain't it grand to be a grumpy old geezer some days?

    No. Wait. Maybe /Pam wrote that last comment?

    Oops.

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    1. Nope! Wasn't me. Just sitting here watching you old guys banter back and forth. Don't let doug fool you about his opinion of the Olympics. He has been watching every night and at the beginning of each competition they run some tear jerker story about the athlete's hard road to the Olympics. Hook, line and sinker ... every time he gets all choked up. If he doesn't like a sport, it's because they didn't hook him with a sob story up front. I think I'd find more appeal in a old folks Olympics. The older and more successful, the more hope they would inspire.

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    2. Well, there is (or there used to be) the Senior Olympics. And the World Masters Games. The latter included sailing when it was held in Sydney a few years ago. And with Lasers too. Although it looks like the entries were mainly Australians. Your friends Mark Bethwaite and Brett Beyer sailed in it I see. Results are here.

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    3. And your friend Vanessa did pretty well too!

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    4. I've only been to one Master Games when i was in the Gorge in 1998. Great fun, and the entire fleet started together.

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    5. If my mind serves me right, you were with a very lovely lady at that event. Who was she?

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    6. That was someone we affectionately and thankfully refer to as "Doug's ex." Doug refers to me as the "good wife." Enough said.

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  6. Great post ! .... But sad news from ISAF.... Where was the problem? The intention is to promote the sport or what ?
    Juan , lanzarote (spain)

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    1. Thank you.

      This is just me guessing, but I got the impression that other classes are saying, "Why should Lasers get so many worlds? Lasers are just one of many Olympic classes."

      There are lots of answers to this speculation, like "Because Lasers are bigger than all other Olympic classes. Combined." Or "Master sailors have nothing to do with the Olympics." Or "Master sailing is not broken. Please don't try to fix it."

      One of the things I love about Lasers is the lack of politics compared to other classes. I sure hope these ISAF ideas get quickly voted down.

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    2. Hope so too ! To change rules and regulation , the people who has his bum on the water should have the first voice...

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    3. Agreed. And let's have all the facts unlike the vote that the ILCA gave us about a Kirby 'patent' that never existed. Give us the facts, let us vote, and then let us sail.

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    4. By the way, has the Torch Class published its constitution and by-laws yet? If we do end up with a new class I hope it will allow the members to decide on all important matters affecting the class, and that there won't be any special powers or vetos for manufacturers or "design right holders" or whatever. Power to the people!

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    5. The Kirby Torch Class has been established but the Constitution and By-Laws are still under construction. They are seeking input from members. http://www.kirbytorch.com/class

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