Annoyingly Quick

RS Aero 9 world champion and coach, Marc Jacobi, commented that I was “annoyingly quick” at the Sanford Sailfest Regatta in Florida this weekend… I think that was a compliment?

I did have a good regatta, coming second  to Marc in the final standings for the thirteen boat RS Aero fleet, and beating him in one race. Everybody deserves a good day occasionally don’t they?

But was it a fluke? Will it last? What could possibly be the reasons that I was “annoyingly quick?”


1. It was because of Marc Jacobi’s coaching. Definitely part of the reason. I have usually participated in Marc’s pre-regatta clinics and have always learned something new. This weekend was no exception.


2. It was because of all the experience I have had over the last few months in New England regattas and in frostbiting at Bristol. The top few sailors in this fleet, including Tillerson, have improved a lot this year and I have sometimes got a bit depressed that they always seem to beat me. But I think that in trying (even if usually failing) to surpass them, it has helped me to improve.


3. I took my own advice – Don’t Do Stupid Shit. I didn’t make any major unforced errors at this regatta. Not to say that my sailing was flawless. I had a couple of good starts and a couple of not-so-great starts. I managed to sail in clear air most of the time, but not always. But most importantly I didn’t hit any marks or hit any other boats or get tangled up with any mooring buoys (as there weren’t any on our course) or do similar stupid shit. It does help.


4. Weight. I have lost 20 lbs since the beginning of last year and am now much nearer to being an ideal weight for the Aero than I was before. Must help a bit – especially in lighter winds.


5. Mental attitude. The sail out to the course in almost no wind was excruciatingly slow and the wait for wind in the Florida heat was almost worse. We had been on the water for over two hours before we started racing. But once we did start racing I seemed to be able to click into the right mental state immediately. I was both focused and relaxed at the same time, if that’s not an oxymoron. I felt calm and loose and didn’t get tense in tight situations as I often do. The only problem is that I have no idea how to switch into this mode at will. Hmmm. Maybe I should study some more about the mental side of sailing?


6. Perhaps as a result of the previous point, I was sailing much more dynamically than I usually do. In the past I have often tried to “lock in” to what I think is a fast mode of sailing when I am racing. But this weekend I was adjusting the sheet and the controls more to every minor change in wind strength upwind and constantly searching for fast angles downwind. It felt good. It was fun. And it was fast.


7. Get over yourself Tillerman. You were third in this regatta last year and the guy who was second last year was a no-show this year. It’s no big deal.

Maybe. But I didn’t beat Marc in any of the races last year and he didn’t say I was “annoyingly quick” last year either.

You do know you are going to be brought back down to earth the next time you go frostbiting back home in Rhode Island don’t you?

Almost certainly true. Oh well – it was good while it lasted.


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