The past months I’ve been taught by the Olympic sailors and their coaches to set my priorities straight:
- Focus on speed, put your full attention to sailing faster. All of the time. Don’t worry, just sense how fast you are and go faster. It’s contrary to how I used to sail: trying to be smarter than the rest and find that favorable windshift. It was great the past weekend in Trieste to block out all thoughts and focus on just 1 thing: speed. You can trust yourself that you will steer the boat in the right direction. If you’ve sailed enough in your life, you know what to do. It is beyond your consciousness. ‘Don’t think about it, feel it,’ as we’re told in the Bagger Vance movie.
- Share observations instead of ideas: sailors tend to share ideas where to go and why. That can lead to interesting and especially distracting discussions. You try to convince each other what to do next and in the meantime you forget to look around and you don’t see what’s happening in the moment. Stick to sharing observations. Together you will know what to do when the time is there.
- Trust your gut and act: Sunday we sailed in a flow. We took the situation as it was and acted from there. Start was not too good? Just tack, find undisturbed wind and sail fast. There were no internal judgmental voices telling us we should have done better. We were free and easy and happy to sail well. Sometimes magic is happening.
So we finished 4th out of 27 not having sailed together for 2 years. We lived up to our potential and the first three were simply better (for the moment :-)). Our preparation was a 20 hours drive through snow storms in the Alps. But we were greeted by the wonderful hospitality of the Italians at Yacht Club Adriaco in Trieste. I bought my boat here 2 years ago (from Gughi sailing in ITA 8480 who finished second, we’re NED 8350) and she felt immediately at home again. So Frank and I did.