Last week was a great end of our summer Holidays. I sailed with my son the Districts Championships of the Star Class. Participants came from Germany, Denmark and The Netherlands to Loosdrecht to sail 6 races in little wind. Jim and I decided to join two weeks ago. Since he hardly has any experience in sailing, let alone regatta sailing we practiced 4 times (2 times no wind, 2 times almost too much) and we both became enthusiastic. He enjoys the physical part and for me it was great to sail again in my own boat. It was already more than a year ago and then only for a day. Last year the cleat of the mainsail broke in a lot of wind and that was the end of the race.
We ended up as 10th in a field of 30 with a best mark rounding: third. We said to each other that it would be nice if grandfather would see this. And you guess right: there he was, in the smallest motor boat ever. Even more proud than me. Three generations on the waters of Loosdrecht where my father used to live in a house boat until his 18th.
The nicest dialogue of the day: ‘Hey dad it must be great to sail with someone as supportive as me,’ Jim said with a smile halfway the beat. Seeing the question mark in my eyes, he added: ‘I don’t know how to sail and just follow your orders the whole day, without questioning them. That must be awesome.’ I had to laugh and told him to pull the jib 2 centimeters. He was completely right and his unconditional support helped me to raise my own game.
He is now enthusiastic to sail the Bacardi Cup in Miami. What’s in a name?
Some key learnings:
- I can still loose weight, 3 kilo’s in 2 weeks. Several years back I had to loose 12 in 6 weeks time and never got more respect from my secretary than during those days, although I looked a bit weak: The Star boat has a maximum weight limit and if you are too heavy you’re not allowed to sail the race.
- For the first time in 40 years I brought all the sailing gear and clothes in one bag. It felt intimate. I packed it every morning so that my dear son could sleep a few minutes more (7.30 in Holiday time is very early). The last day I brought everything except for my own sailing clothes…
- You need to adjust the jib in light air every few seconds. We learned it the hard way sailing behind the later winner who did a horizon job on us.
- No conscious spiritual connection to the wind and the environment this time. Just sailing and coaching on experience and only one real clever decision in 6 races. But sailing on intuition and experience can bring nice results.
- Unconditional trust brings the best conditions for results.
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I am on a roll! Two weeks later and I’ve been sailing the Dutch National Championships in the Regenboog. The ‘Queen of the lakes’ as they call her in the Netherlands: 14th out of 36. Not too bad if you take into account that we started training in February and didn’t see the boat since then. But this excuse is getting lame. The disadvantage of sailing little is that you start to understand the game as soon as it is over. And I know that beforehand. So it doesn’t bring the fulfillment of Presence. No time for that: first boat handling, getting used to each other and understand who is who out there. Am I going to do something about it next year?
I learned from my son the other week that trust in each other is key and I practiced that. I was helped by the flu. I could hardly stand on my feet, let alone call for clever shots, so I followed my teammates who did a great job. Since there was little wind and a lot of waiting for wind we had many personal dialogs. I was surprised by all the suffering in the fleet. This sailing boat is for the ‘well to do’ in the Netherlands because of its cost. But man what a stories about peoples lives that you don’t expect: terrible diseases, bankruptcy, deaths at too early ages, illnesses everywhere. It’s strange to meet all the facades without the insight of peoples background.