It snowed today. Again.
It’s about this time of year when I start thinking that it’s probably going to keep snowing until June and, as I am obviously not going to be able to do much sailing if the sea is frozen over for the next three months, I wonder what I am going to do to amuse myself instead.
Ideally I should be doing something to prepare myself to be an even more awesome sailor in the eight weeks of the New England summer than I was last year. But what?
Thankfully, Damian, of The Final Beat has the answer. Damian has the answer for almost every sailing question you could imagine. Let’s see what he has to say in 10 Ways to Improve Your Sailing in the Off-Season.
10. Use SailX to Improve Your Sailing Tactics and Strategy.
Why does Damian start at #10 instead of #1? I have no idea.
But I do like the idea of spending the rest of the winter playing a sailing videogame to improve my sailing.
My grandsons play a videogame that improves their skills at killing dozens of people while wearing strange costumes and doing silly dances. I expect they want to be Navy Seals when they grow up. Or maybe American “Football” players. I have no idea.
Anyway I used to play SailX, or Tacticat as it was previously called. Once I came second in one of their big regattas and got interviewed by well-known sailing journalist Barry Dobson.
But sadly SailX is no more. At least it doesn’t seem to be working in my corner of the Interwebs.
9. Work On Your Fitness.
Brilliant! I am already working on my fitness this winter. I shovel snow every week. I go running on the rare days when all the running trails aren’t covered in snow. I sit on my hiking bench some days. I pick up weights and put them down somewhere else. I have been working especially hard this winter on increasing my flexibility. I am probably now the most flexible 70-year-old RS Aero sailor I know. So that’s something.
8. Read Some Sailing Books.
Another good one. I have been reading lots of sailing books this winter. Well, I have started reading lots of sailing books. I haven’t actually finished any of them yet.
I sometimes wonder if the authors of sailing books basically have one very simple idea that they elaborate and explore from all sorts of angles just to make sailing seem more complicated than it really is.
For example I am about 30% of the way through Frank Bethwaite’s Fast Handling Technique – and as far as I can figure it out he is basically finding 99 different ways to say “Ease, Hike Trim.”
Likewise I have been reading Stuart Walker’s The Code of Competition and the first ten chapters seem to be saying in ten different ways – “The Code is in your genes. You can’t beat the Code. You’re doomed.” Maybe he will reveal the code on how to beat the Code in Chapter 27?
7. Read Your old Notes.
Great advice. Except I can’t read my own handwriting most of the time. But there are some diagrams that probably make sense if I can figure out which way is up.
6. Fix up Your Boat.
Damian has some crazy suggestion involving a heater and a vacuum cleaner set to blow (not suck.) I am not good at boat maintenance (or basically any task involving manual dexterity and/or common sense) so I am going to ignore this advice. I would probably only melt my boat or make it explode… or both.
5. Go Frostbiting.
This is good advice. And I do sometimes go frostbiting in the winter. Except when it’s too windy. Or too cold. Or it’s snowing hard. Or I have something better to do like play with my grandkids. Come to think of it, I haven’t actually done much frostbiting this winter. But it is good advice.
4. Use Mental Rehearsal and Visualisation to Improve Your Sailing.
I like it. Anything which doesn’t involve any physical effort or trying to fix something on the boat or going out in the cold is fine with me. Actually I did read a book about mental fitness this winter, and one day soon I plan to think about getting round to trying out some of the suggestions in the book. I will not only be the the most flexible 70-year-old RS Aero sailor I know, I could be the most mentally rehearsed 70-year-old RS Aero sailor I know too. That’s really something.
Is this post going on too long? Are you looking forward to reading Damian’s top three tips on what to do in the winter?
3. Watch Some Sailing Videos.
I really really really like this idea. This is even easier than reading a book or attempting to decipher my own notes. And there are so many sailing videos out there now to choose from. Here is one of my favorites – a video of a whole race at the 2017 RS Aero Worlds, featuring Marc Jacobi – two time RS Aero 9 World Champion. As Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot by watching.”
2. Read The Final Beat.
Ha ha! You can’t blame Damian for plugging his own blog. And there is a huge amount of content there which you can use to improve your sailing. Check it out. The Final Beat
1. Have a Quality Practice Session on the Water.
What? It’s winter around here. Are you crazy?
Talking of winter. I seem to have lost Tillerwoman. Has anybody seen her?