Yesterday was another lovely day on the water and a race in which I did a couple of things right and a few wrong, but it was over post race beers that I understood something. An enthusiastic couple was explaining how they had spent the week reading Laser books and watching Laser DVDs and were all psyched up for the race. They finished in last place and took it all in good grace, but were a bit mystified how all their research could have had no effect. They told me they had seen my racing skills improve over the last year and asked if I had any reading material to recommend. I said that in my experience I did not make any improvement until I really understood what the books and DVDs were talking about and that only happens for me on the water and bit by bit. Having the ideas and concepts in mind when I'm on the water is the starting point, but they don’t really blossom until sometimes on purpose and sometimes by accident I try something and it works – an “Aha” moment in which I say to myself “so, that is what they were talking about in one (or all) of the books I have read”. Of course, the point I have understood is usually a blatantly obvious and fundamental one, but the fact it has been experienced on the water makes all the difference. One such moment from yesterday was remembering the importance of boat speed – which is about as fundamental as a point can be. Beating up to a mark near the shore where wind and tide frequently catch people I saw a boat ahead of me running into trouble and I determined to concentrate only on boat speed. I kept the boat as flat as possible, the telltales flowing and didn't worry about how high I was pointing. And of course, it worked.