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Long-lasting lessons from racing..


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Okay, we all have lessons we have learned through racing, as one might learn in any competitive sport. One instance that has stuck with me over the decades, was in the IOD Worlds in the late '70s, in San Francisco.  We were a crew from Marblehead, my first time away from the east coast.  I was mostly foredeck and hiking, kind of exhausting in the stiff seabreeze from the west, in that beautiful piece of water.

In one race, beating west along the cityfront, we forced a searoom tack on a windward boat, which hurt him, and drew a protest.  By the time we cossed the line first, we had to admit to ourselves that we were wrong, and could have readily ducked his stern.  So we apologized on shore, went to the Commitee, and withdrew from the race.

In a later race while doing pretty well, we managed somehow (shackle?) to have the kite turn into a sea anchor astern as the fleet zoomed past us.  Big struggle to finally get the chute back on board and then re-set, leaving us dead last by a lot. Discouraging for sure, but we just kept sailing, even though it was unlikely we could catch anyone.  But finally on the last beat, we caught a couple of shifts and finished next to last by half a boatlength.

The last race of the week drew some protests which didn't involve us. The hearing(s) ran late, into the closing ceremonies. And we finally learned we had won, by a fraction of a point.

Had we not withdrawn, and had we not kept plugging, in those two races, we'd have seen the trophy go to someone else.

 

The lessons for me (and all of our crew):  

Admit your mistakes.

Don't give up.

 

 

 

 

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The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong..... but that's the best way to bet the averages.

Communication is important, tell your crew your plan and make sure they get it... it's not their fault if they don't understand what to do.

Invest time in training your crew.... it's not their fault if they don't know how to sail your boat as well as you do.

Don't get torqued up and start choking/shaking the shit out of people, even if they deserve it... it's just a sailboat race, it's supposed to be fun.

I'm sure there's more, but these are the main concepts that are percolating right now

FB- Doug

 

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When things go pear shaped, and they often will, keep sailing. Echoing Steam’s comment, the race is not often to the swift but to those that can learn and adapt on the fly. So don’t quit. 

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7 hours ago, AJ Oliver said:

If you do well, give your crew all the credit. 

If you do poorly, blame the crew.

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"I wish there were something classy and inspirational I could say, but that just wouldn't be us.  Pain heals, chicks dig scars, Glory...lasts forever."  Thanks Shane "Footsteps" Falco!  - The Replacements.

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13 hours ago, Timur said:

"He with the money, makes the rules".  Seen way too much chicanery in my day in the 80s when cheating bastards bought the silver on the backs of the proletariat by outspending the competition and what they couldn't buy, they connived with PHRFtards to jack up the ratings.  Back in the day we seriously had one local hack claim he sawed of 18 inches of keel for our "shallow" bay.  He gained 18 seconds for his claim.  Went on to win everything for 3 seasons.  His boat never left the murky water for anyone to witness the "modification" and was sold suddenly and transported out in the dead of night to parts unknown once he was done with the escapade.  

Ah, the 80s.  Who wants to return to me to the glory days of yore?

To quote the great Wayne from "Letterkenny"....they adjusted his rating but didn't actually measure his boat..."what sort of backwards fucking pageantry is that?"

Seriously,  that's shady AF.

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15 hours ago, Timur said:

"He with the money, makes the rules".  Seen way too much chicanery in my day in the 80s when cheating bastards bought the silver on the backs of the proletariat by outspending the competition and what they couldn't buy, they connived with PHRFtards to jack up the ratings.  Back in the day we seriously had one local hack claim he sawed of 18 inches of keel for our "shallow" bay.  He gained 18 seconds for his claim.  Went on to win everything for 3 seasons.  His boat never left the murky water for anyone to witness the "modification" and was sold suddenly and transported out in the dead of night to parts unknown once he was done with the escapade.  

Ah, the 80s.  Who wants to return to me to the glory days of yore?

You're confirming why I prefer one-design racing.

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On 5/31/2021 at 9:59 AM, Steam Flyer said:

The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong..... but that's the best way to bet the averages.

Communication is important, tell your crew your plan and make sure they get it... it's not their fault if they don't understand what to do.

Invest time in training your crew.... it's not their fault if they don't know how to sail your boat as well as you do.

Don't get torqued up and start choking/shaking the shit out of people, even if they deserve it... it's just a sailboat race, it's supposed to be fun.

I'm sure there's more, but these are the main concepts that are percolating right now

FB- Doug

 

If you were not good in Math in school, you will after racing a few years. Unless you rely on your GPS and instruments. Having sailed way before instruments (other than depth and knot meter) and Navigating electronics were available enmass, math was very important.

22 hours ago, AJ Oliver said:

If you do well, give your crew all the credit. 

Absolutely, When the prize is really cool gear or mugs, I let the crew rotate up to get them. Representing your boat in front of the competition allows them to be seen and recognized. At big events getting the whole crew up there and a photo is always fun too.

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Avoid narcissists at all costs, no matter how rich and popular they seem, or how good a programme looks, it will end badly.

Don't sail against the Spanish or Italians, for them, it's not a self policing sport.

Avoid Laser sailors, both on and off the water.

Everything else goes.

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46 minutes ago, Meat Wad said:

Absolutely, When the prize is really cool gear or mugs, I let the crew rotate up to get them. Representing your boat in front of the competition allows them to be seen and recognized. At big events getting the whole crew up there and a photo is always fun too.

Right on!  We all went up whenever we could.  It was the effort of the team, not just the check writer.  And a very cool concept the check writer did was to have and pay for duplicate trophies, plaques, mugs, etc. made for each and every crew on board for just about every single race they flagged.

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13 minutes ago, Timur said:

I was newbie and eager young crew when this occurred.  Over the years I pieced together the nature of the chicanery.   Needless to say, I'm now ashamed to have been onboard helping him to victory.

I find no fault with you.  The local PHRF board and measurer who approved an unseen claim of lobbing 18" off the keel so as to give the dude 18 seconds can fuck right off though.

 

You'd like to think stuff like that doesn't happen in one design, but any time you allow modifications in the rules, that will be capitalized on.  The bottom and keel job wars in the J24 class comes to mind.

 

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1 hour ago, sail611 said:

 

You'd like to think stuff like that doesn't happen in one design, but any time you allow modifications in the rules, that will be capitalized on.  The bottom and keel job wars in the J24 class comes to mind.

 

Same today. Dragons, J/70, or Melges 20...  

V = sqrt($) 

Don’t you just love it when an owner who spent 130,000 on a Dubai Dragon, 20,000 a year for sails, and another 120,000 a year for a boatman and two ex-Olympians as crew keeps ranting at the bar about the “purity of one-design racing”? 

I’d rather race in a handicap or formula or VPP rating system than in one of those pseudo-OD classes. Ok, I sometimes crew there (for free), but I could never afford a competitive “OD“ boat. 

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Most important thing I learned..

Never threaten the smuck who thought he was a  Main Trimmer with a prostrate exam via a winch handle

Even if he needs one

I was informed, the preferred option was to smack em around until his head fell out of his Ase..

 

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4 hours ago, sail611 said:

To quote the great Wayne from "Letterkenny"....they adjusted his rating but didn't actually measure his boat..."what sort of backwards fucking pageantry is that?"

Seriously,  that's shady AF.

Anyone that has not seen Letterkenny should. It has to be the best thing Canada has produced since.........forever. Some real funny fucking shit. eh

They are resuming their Live Tour now that all the Covid lockdown is ending.

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17 hours ago, Meat Wad said:

Anyone that has not seen Letterkenny should. It has to be the best thing Canada has produced since.........forever. Some real funny fucking shit. eh

They are resuming their Live Tour now that all the Covid lockdown is ending.

You were talking about sailing on the forums with yer pals the other daaaaaaaaaay....

Meatwad.  How are ya now?

The best thing about Letterkenny is how absolutely quotable it is.  That, and the fact that its basically a masterclass in takedowns.  Case in point...the female hockey players episodes. 

"Right Betty Anne...Catholic School in 6th grade....Where you got the nickname "fisted sister"...that you gave to yourself....And a fitting name it was considering your mitt looks like a boa constrictor unhinged its jaw to try to consume a combat submarine."

Pure brilliance.  And for those of you who are intrigued, but not sure you want to invest the time into the whole series, plenty of notable moments from the show on Youtube.  Start with the series cold open and go from there.

Sorry for the thread drift, but MW is right.  Letterkenny is too good to be missed.

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20 years ago, beer can racing over the 6 month summer period with 4 race series.  Just my second year sailing so I had no idea what I was doing and came in DFL or 2nd last in every race.  But I showed up and sailed every damn race.  At the end of the year, I didn't win a single series, in fact I came last or 2nd last in every series.  But everybody else missed at least one series so in the end, I won the whole Tanzer 22 One Design trophy.   I've never seen a more apt use of the phrase "showing up is half the battle."

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Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.  Also, never move away from the boat unless you have to step up.

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If you aren't being paid then it's a hobby at best. 

Don't get me started with some Laser sailors. It's a team sport and they tend to forget that. There is no "I" in team. And I've had the opportunity with some of the best teams on the planet going back now 30 years or more.  A lot of it in Seattle and Vancouver with teams that basically stayed together for 10 years or more. Not just the sailing but life victories & challenges.

Don't be a dork. Or you won't be asked back again. You become the Maytag repairmen.

And this is stolen from Elvstrom of course but always remind yourself of this:

   "You haven't won the race, if in winning the race you have lost the respect of your competitors."

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On 6/1/2021 at 10:54 AM, Caecilian said:

Never yell at the vice commodore "starboard you fucking useless cunt"

That did not end well

I found call him a muppet didn't go all that well either.

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I learnt that if anyone gives you a job you don't want to do, if you fuck it up completely, they won't ask you to do it again. 'Accidently' putting salt in everyones coffee on the first night watch is a good example.

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