Friday, June 2, 2017

Lessons from Sailing: Practices Makes Perfect

After a month off from sailing I find myself back on the Minx crew grinding away in the Beer Can Races #2. This time was a little different as my skill level improved after seven or eight competitive races. It takes a little time under the "hot seat" to make things work. Control of the jib, and spinnaker seemed to become more natural with repeated experience.

In the past it would take two people to act as grinders to manage the jib and ensure a tight exchange and reset upon tacking. This time the skill became more natural and the second person was barely used at all. As a matter of point, the second person sometimes became a hindrance when trying to navigate between taking up the slack by hand and using the wench to finish it off.

The advantages were that less skirting of the jib was needed because of the increased speed. What I learned from this situation is that practices does improve overall knowledge of how these two sails work and that finding the right spot with telltales was much more natural; taking only a few seconds to set properly.

Part of this was due to the heavier racing schedule and then a latent period of break when I wasn't in town. When I came back things just seemed to make more sense and I gauged the wind, course and conditions better.  There was a more intuitive sense on what to do much like learning to ride a bike.

What can we learn from this?

1. Practice makes perfect.
2. Practice followed by a latent period allows for deeper learning.
3. Learning under pressure speeds up the process.
4. Persistence in your goals is necessary.

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