January 02, 2017

2016 - Those Who Inspired Us

By Doug
Sydney gets our vote for the best New Year's fireworks.
I keep reading that people who appreciate things live longer, happier lives, so since 2010 I've kept an appreciation journal. At the end of each year, Pam and I look back and write about the people who have inspired us that year, so here goes.

Before the Master Worlds, I trained at the International Sailing Academy. The guys that run this all-inclusive clinic do an outstanding job in every way.  It's a worthy part of any training program.

The Worlds this year were actually three back-to-back events for the open, radial, and full rigs. Linda, Andy, and their team put on what many are calling best Laser Worlds ever. They kindly shared how they did it.

Tillerman writes what I have called the gold standard for sailing blogs. He's done this for years and has been a long-time supporter of our little blog. In spite of going over to the dark side to sail an Aero, his blog is an asset to the Laser world.

Rule 42 problems come and go, and 2016 saw a few juniors (and their coaches) permitting and even encouraging this behavior. Griffin Or is the new district secretary for Texas and he has decided that 2017 will have less rocking and rolling. It's not the most popular thing to do, but the right thing to do.

Pam and I were thrilled to be made honorary members of the Double Bay Sailing Club in Sydney - the best Laser fleet on the planet. Members currently include the current Youth World Champion and the current Great Grand Master World Champion. And there's a ton of really good sailors in between. Like the Black Pope, who provided us with our new profile picture.

There's a current shortage of Laser parts and sails in North America. I was told by a dealer this week that they've been waiting for sails since April, and another dealer told me that he's had to buy a new Laser to cannibalize it for it's parts. Whether you support Bruce Kirby or not (we still do), we appreciate the game he created and we miss the good old days when the designer, builder and class all worked together.

As Masters continue to sail way beyond the originally targeted age group, health and insurance is becoming more and more important. Pam signed me up for accident insurance that actually paid her whenever I got hurt, so in 2016 I was actually a profit center. Bob Blakey (NZL) and three others had health issues at the Master Worlds and could not compete.  And then there was Pedro...

Peter Stephenson (AUS), the lovable Foiling Laser Guy, had chest pains at the Worlds and was taken to a local clinic where he flat lined and died for three and a half minutes. The doctors were able to revive him with what the Aussies call a Packer Whacker. Being reborn in Mexico, his name is now Pedro and he's alive, well and back in Sydney. We can all learn from his warning signs that he described here.

The 2017 Worlds will be in Split, Croatia. Pam and I will be staying with a friend on Lake Garda to train with others including defending GGM Champion Mark Bethwaite (AUS).  Pam will be joining me to see Italy for the first time - it should be a blast.

In 2016, we lost many good sailors. We also lost one of the best sailors - Paul Elvstrøm. Such a classy guy, and such a strong supporter of fair sailing.

People often leave comments which we appreciate. Some are critical from which we try to learn, while others just make us feel good, like one from Joshep who commented on how our articles inspire him. We appreciate all of the comments, especially ones like that. Joshep also referenced a blog that has lots of good content and graphics for those new to our sport. Definitely worth a look.

Finally, we admire all of our fellow masters who show up to race year after year. Some measure success by getting a top five result, others by not tipping, and others by not getting hurt. In our view, just showing up makes you a winner.
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