Liberty is being free from the things we don't like in order to be slaves of the things we do like.--Ernest Benn

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Don't Listen to Satchel Paige

Sachel Paige said never look back - something might be gaining on you.

What was his point?

The data on your pursuers is a critical piece of importance. I always want to know if people behind me are closing on me, or if I am opening the gap. The question is, can you afford this information. If I were on a bike in a road race, I definitely don't think I could afford many glances back. Back in the days I raced Lasers, I made a resolution based upon my devastating personal experience: In a breeze, when you're plowing DDW in a sea and especially sailing by the lee, never-ever look back. There are worse disasters than unnecessarily losing a couple of boats.

But in a crewed boat, I always want someone aboard taking on the responsibility of reporting on developments behind me. What you don't know - in time to do something about it - can affect your position. And how else can you weigh the importance of competition in front as opposed to the competitors behind you? In any given moment do you have more to gain or more to lose?

The only opportunity I afford myself a glance aft, is after the spinnaker is set and we have settled on the bearing to the next mark. Then, Satchel, is when I look back. Sometimes, even, I snap a photo or two. My crew are appalled. They call me Captain Paparazzi. But I want those photos. The time has already come when I've stopped counting my winnings. When the time comes when the sailing is done, I will want to count my memories. I will want to recall how the sun and the wind worked the waters I sailed in on a given day; not to mention how close the boats were.
Today, we recovered from my weak start with a determined beat up through the straits between the kelp and shore, out of the adverse current. Without two or three major crew members, we had a better than passable spinnaker set and douse. Nature gifted us with winds up to 2 knots. We finished a close, close 3rd and a guest sailor I literally met the day before on the docks took home the glass.

Don't care what you say, Satchel. It's too bad Captain Paparazzi was able to snap off only one furtive shot as a memento for this fabulous day.

1 comment: