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Sunday, March 3, 2013

2013 Dallas IOM Blow-Out; First Thoughts

I was on the waiting list for the Blow-out and fortune intervened, I’ll be participating!
A few thoughts…first the event. The Blow-out has grown and grown over the years, I think this is the first year it has a hard participant cap (36?)…the size of the Corinthian Sailing Club on White Rock Lake provides a natural limit, it just gets too crowded. The March weather can really blow, we’ve sailed in C-rigs several times…and being Dallas, ghosted in A-rigs…it just depends, generally though—Windy!
The event has changed too, many top skippers show up, which is good…and bad. While not wanting to get into the politics of top echelon IOM skippers, I’ll suffice to say the skippers will be very…”competitive” and leave it at that for now.
I’ll discuss boat prep later, for now I’m thinking of my approach to the regatta itself. I read an interesting book that said the winners of various event win, in part, because they expect to win…this is very true in sailing. Often times a sailor will self-destruct when in the lead or in a good position because, in his heart, he knows he isn’t good enough to win. I’m a solid middle-tier skipper (I think), so I’m going to try to be leveled-headed and look for openings while guarding against stupid mistakes.
Starts are likely to be aggressive and testy…rather than push into protestable situations, I think I’ll look to start in the right portion of the line, on the right course, with good speed…if I’m in the second tier of starters, that’s o.k., often times the aggressive sorts get tangled up and create opportunities, that’s when I hope to pounce!
Same likely with mark roundings, though I plan to be firm with boats pushing in on port tack…you just can’t be flying in here like that at this level…I plan to be firm, but avid collisions…even when you’re right it’s rarely worth it. I aim to sail clean…meaning not only fairly, but with an eye towards avoiding potential pile-ups, fur balls, or needlessly acrimonious situations.
My experience is, if you race every heat in the Blow-out, you’ll beat some who sail better, but break-down, collide, and protest their way along too much (I’ve been my fair share of a mix of those—new approach!).
I’ve suffered from repeated break-downs in this regatta, so I aim to have my equipment all ship-shape & Bristol fashion…tested and ready, with all the rigs and spares required.
…sounds like a good time to wrap-up, I’ll talk about my boat next time!

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