Back in 2008, I set myself a goal to go Laser sailing on 100 days in the year. I think I had read somewhere that the top young guns in the class sailed their Lasers at least 100 days every year. And I was retired and had recently moved to live by the sea, so I thought I would have a shot at making it to 100.
I only made it to 94. The list of my sailing days that year can be found at the over-optimistically titled 100 Days at Sea.
In 2009 I almost gave up sailing. Maybe I was burnt out from that ridiculous attempt to sail 100 days in 2008. I did have other excuses too. I wrote about them at 10 Reasons Why I (Almost) Gave Up Sailing This Year
In the subsequent years I never took a serious shot at making it to 100 again. But I did keep a running tally of my Laser sailing days each year...
Days of Laser Sailing in 2010 - 46 days
Days Laser Sailing 2011 - 43 days
Days Laser Sailing 2012 - 64 days
(For some strange reason I always seem to make it to 43. Can't think why.)
From time to time, I find myself wondering if I will ever make it to 100. Do I really want to? Is it possible? How would I manage it?
So just as an intellectual exercise - not because it's a real goal or anything serious like that you understand - I thought I would look back over those four years in which I kept records and see if they told me anything about how I could make it to 100. What would be the keys to success?
This is what I discovered, There are two main keys to making it to 100....
Living as I do in a part of the world where you can theoretically sail Lasers all year round, but in which it's frigging cold for Lasering for at least six months of the year, not to mention that I am a wimp about sailing in the cold, it's clear that if I am ever going to make it to 100 one year, then I am going to have to travel to warmer climes for some of those 100 days.
Luckily I am retired and able to afford to do a bit of travel so this is not a major problem. Cabarete. Bitter End Yacht Club. Minorca Sailing. SailFit. Even the Laser Masters Worlds some years (if it's somewhere warm and not in a war zone.)
2008 - 18 out of 94 - Cabarete, Masters Worlds and SailFit
2010 - 10 out of 46 - Masters Worlds and BEYC
2011 - 10 out of 43 - Minorca Sailing
2012 - 27 out of 64 - Cabarete, SailFit, Minorca Sailing and BEYC
I am in a bit of a rut though. Keep going back to the same old places. Where else can I go in the winter and get some Laser training?
It's clear from the historical record that if I am ever going to make it to 100, I am going to have to keep sailing consistently throughout the year. In many years, for one reason or another, I seem to lose the motivation and give up sailing for a month or two. And that's no way to make it to 100.
In 2008 (the year I almost made it to 100) I was doing pretty well all year long. It just needed an extra sail or two in each of the summer months to make it to 100.
But 2010 was pathetic by comparison. Started pretty strong with six days of frostbiting in January and February. But no sailing in March, only two days in April and three days in May. What the hell was I doing? I sailed a lot in August in preparation for the Laser Masters Worlds in Hayling Island in September. But that regatta was such a disaster for me that it pretty well killed my motivation for sailing for the rest of the year. Ugh!
2011 was even worse! Didn't do any frostbiting or travel anywhere in January, February and March, and then only sailed three days total in April and May. I must have been hibernating, I guess. Picked up the pace a bit in the summer and went to Minorca Sailing in September, but then didn't do much of anything in the last three months of the year. Ugh! Ugh!
2012 started well with trips to Cabarete and SailFit. But then only two days of sailing in April and May? Then I hurt my back and that was all she wrote. Never had a chance to make it to 100 last year in spite of trips to Minorca Sailing and BEYC later in the year.
So if I wanted to devise a plan it to make it to 100 in 2013 - just as an intellectual exercise, not because it's a real goal or anything serious like that you understand - what would it look like? How can I build on the best experiences of the last few years? How many days would I need to sail each month?
January - 3
February - 3
I don't have any travel planned in January or February this year, but I think it's a reasonable goal to sail six days of frostbiting racing in those two months. I did it in 2012. Alternatively I could make it up with a day or two of practice on milder days.)
March - 6
I'm currently working on putting together a group of friends to go sailing somewhere warm in March. If I can make this happen, six days should be easily achievable.
April - 6
It can still be pretty cool around here in April, but in 2010 I did four days of solo practice and one day of frostbiting. A bit more frostbiting and six days should be in the bag.
May - 10
May is a make or break month for the chance to make it to 100. In 2008 I did ten days of solo practice in local waters. But in 2011 and 2012 I only sailed once (each year) in May. Our district Laser championship is at Wickford on the third weekend of May. I should really get out and train hard for that. May is the key.
June - 13
July - 13
August - 13
The heart of the sailing season. There will be regattas every weekend if I want to do them. There will be warm weather for mid-week practice. Surely I can sail three days a week in these months? Hey, I did thirteen days in August 2010 and July 2011.
The New England Masters early in the month. Then probably a trip to Minorca Sailing later in the month. Hey, I clocked up fourteen days there last year so thirteen should be a breeze.
October - 10
We have the North American Masters at New York YC in Newport at the end of the month. I really should get out and train hard for that. And I sailed twelve days in October 2010.
November - 4
Hey, I need a break
December - 6
I've signed up for the Laser Masters Worlds in Oman. If I qualify for a place then six days sailing in December should be easy. If I don't qualify then we will go to the BVI again and six should still be doable.
So what does that add up to? 100? Wow! That's a coincidence,
Maybe I could do it?
Maybe I should try for 100 days of Laser sailing this year. (This is just an intellectual exercise, not because it's a real goal or anything serious like that you understand?)
What did Yoda say?
"Do, or do not. There is no try."