December 31, 2015

2015 - Those Who Inspired Me

By Doug
I keep reading that people who appreciate things live longer, happier lives, so since 2010 I've kept an appreciation journal. Each December, I write about people who have inspired me that year, so here goes.

CP Burks lives here in Texas and runs regattas better than anyone else. He sets windward-leeward courses that are short, simple, and tactical. CP easily runs 12 races each day, and everyone gets their money's worth.

Sailing is a cerebral sport so I appreciate people who make my brain work. See if you can factor what this really means (the answer is below):

I met Roberto Bini (ITA) as we were leading at the first mark in the first race at the Hyères Master Worlds. And we've been friends ever since. He and his wife Christine invited me to train in Italy and we spent 2 weeks sailing, going on short trips, and competing in the Euromasters. Italy has so much to offer, Pam and I will definitely be back.

The KingstonWorlds was one of the best. The race organizers, the many friends and family that I have not seen for so long, and of course my fellow competitors were all inspirational. And of course who could not be inspired by a Kiwi helping an Aussie win a world championship, as shown at the end of this video.

Dave warning: this has nothing to do with sailing: I find most commercials a waste of time. But I do appreciate the people who make them fun to watch, even for people like me who don't need more car insurance.

Here's the answer to the math problem... pretty clever.
Sydney is known for some of the best sailing in the world. Having lived there, I can assure you there is nowhere where the competition more fierce or more friendly. What Sydney is also known for is its spectacular New Years celebration which gets my vote for the best fireworks in the world. 

And who cannot help but be inspired by Sydney's Peter Stephinson who has shown us that even Laser sailors can fly!

Pam and I wish you all a Happy New Year.

December 08, 2015

Some Amazing Sailors

By Doug
The Laser Master Worlds is an amazing event. It's where top sailors from many classes like the Finns, FJs, Solings, J24s, and of course Lasers meet to compete - it's sort of like a giant all-star turnout. We get great people, great locations, and of course great competition.

What amazes me is that in spite of the intense competition, the same people keep on winning. Here's an interesting statistic: from 1991 to 2008, just three people shared a consecutive winning streak:
  • Keith Wilkins won the Master Worlds 9 times. Keith was fast in a breeze and also had great speed in some of the more difficult lighter conditions. I remember race 6 at the 1997 Algarrobo Worlds when it was light with choppy waves where you need to sheet out to keep the boat moving. Keith pinched and sheeted block-to-block without losing any speed. He did the same thing in race 8 at the 1999 Melbourne Worlds. It was a trick that I still have not learned... does anyone know how it's done?
  • Mark Bethwaite won it 6 times. The Aussies have always been fast in a breeze but they were vulnerable in the lighter conditions. That all changed at the 2007 Roses Worlds when Mark started winning lighter races, as described in detail in race 5. The Aussies getting fast in lighter conditions is bad news for the rest of the fleet! 
  • Yours truly won it 2 times, in Chile against Keith and Mark with a modified type of match racing, and in Korea when neither could make it by being in good shape.
Wolfgang Gerz is another Laser sailor with a great resume, which includes beating 109 other sailors to win the 1981 Finn Gold Cup (while discarding a 4th place finish!) If we include Wolfgang, the four of us share a winning streak from 1991 until today! I wonder how many sports have had that kind of consistency at the world championship level.

I recently turned 65 and will be joining Mark and hopefully Keith as a Great Grand Master to do battle again in Mexico (Wolfgang will join us in a few more years). What other sport helps you look forward to birthdays?

Unfortunately, we're too old to compete with Brett Beyer and too young to compete with Peter Seidenberg who have also dominated in their respective age groups.
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