Sunday, May 20, 2012

Can I Blame Karma?

I had a lousy day in the club races yesterday.  In the postmortem analysis I identified a few things I did wrong but no major disasters.  So, in the big scheme of things, it was just one of those days when my karma was out of whack (yes, I know that karma is never out of whack - it is all connectedness, synchronicity, causality, etc - but I have to blame something external for a lousy day).

Putting aside karma, I did identify a few things that need to be worked on.

We had two races and I had a bad start and a mediocre start, so clearly that is still my one consistent area to work on.

After both starts, I went quickly off onto a port tack to reach the deeper water where I hoped the outgoing tide would give me a boost - tide usually trumps wind Tide Trumps All. Several of the better sailors were initially doing the same thing and I thought that confirmed my own analysis.  But these were pursuit races which meant that at the first mark a number of boats were still ahead (having started earlier) and so to reach the windward mark on my starboard tack, I had to go through a huge amount of dirty air from the earlier boats who were about to round the mark and those who had already rounded and were headed downwind on port. Sure, I had priority over them and even managed to make a couple duck behind me, but I was collecting a huge amount of garbage air.  So, lesson learned - think ahead more about where the other boats will be.

After the race, I went over things with a guy who usually beats me and asked about going right to the deep water. He said he planned to do the same thing and started that way, but realised there was some significant pressure in the middle of the course. In both races he stayed much more in the middle and even with a few extra tacks did very well.  So, next lesson - read the water better and try to look at the bigger picture.

And there is always next week.


  1. The reason that "that guy who usually beats you" IS "that guy who usually beats you" is because he is ALWAYS thinking one step ahead of you and he ALWAYS WILL BE.

    It took me many years to discover this. Now I know it I have a strange inner peace.

  2. Your insight is certainly correct. Your inner peace is probably from realising that the only thing that matters is whatever you are looking at internally and whether some guy consistently stays one step ahead - or is always richer or whatever - is just irrelevant. That guy is just part of the landscape. It seems to me the trick is to learn from that other guy and not get bogged down by thinking about his being one step ahead.

    Anyhow, appreciate your thoughtful comment.

  3. One thing that helped me come to peace with the fact that I was usually chasing "that guy" was when I discovered that I was "that guy" to someone else further back in the fleet.

  4. Yeah, I know what you mean - yesterday our club had a social sailing day where some of the more experienced members take out people who have been taking lessons - and afterwards one of them said to me - "Oh, I remember you - that day when it was really windy and we were all capsizing constantly we saw you doing dry capsizes and we thought how good you were." I remembered that day also - and how I thought I was really screwing up because I was capsizing.

    It is all relative.

  5. When you write,
    Sure, I had priority over them and even managed to make a couple duck behind me....
    What does this mean? In your pursuit races, overtaking boats have the ROW? That doesn't sound like anything other than turning the RRS #12 upside down.

    1. In most ROW situations I routinely act on Tillerman's counsel in which he advises to "shout a lot". But, in this situation, although I didnt make it very clear in the description, it was a simple starboard over port - the boats ahead had gone around the mark I was approaching on starboard and were broad reaching on port.


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