Sunday, May 06, 2007

Does size matter . . .

Can speed, efficiency in motion and body awareness help a small sailor do a "heavy job" or a larger sailor do a "light job"?

Of course!

With One Design weight thoughts aside, a person can can train to do both heavy and light jobs on a boat. Someone like myself can use his/her body efficiently to hoist halyards, pull large sails and trim big kites. On the same token; a larger person can be aware and comfortable with his/her body to appreciate it's role and effect on the boat, being a great asset (some people simply to no know their own strength!).

The folks who do this well have a feel for the boats they sail, are in tune with their bodies and have a drive to succeed. No matter your size or gender, once you have a gauge to how the boat moves underneath the body in different conditions, the individual can begin to anticipate actions and subsequent reactions; learning how to use the boat's movement to assist their own (ex. a well coordinated roll jibe not only helps the boat accelerate out of the maneuver but can help the foredeck crew execute a nice end for end transition).

While acquiring a "feel" for the boat be mindful of one's own body and the in pact it has on the boat. Too much moving around on a Melges 24 is the equivalent of throwing an anchor over board! While on a larger boat may interfere with adjacent crew's roles/jobs. Together as a team different size and weight ranged crew can work the boat to be fast with proper communication and coordination.

If one can completely understand the relationship between body, job and the role their job plays in the performance of the boat: they will succeed at execution of tasks despite their size, shape or weight. From bow to stern there is a way to dynamically use your body to fulfil a corresponding job on all boats.

Many folks are either sailing, getting ready to start the season or wrapping it up. No matter; if there was ever the feeling of wishing to be smaller or larger for a role on a boat . . . stop. How badly do you want to give the job a try? Watch the people who do the job of interest well and though each has their way, a lot can be learned by watching how other people move about the boat to complete a/the task. So the time has come to give it a try . . .ask someone to watch who does the job well and debrief after maneuvers to learn how to improve . . .repeat . .

Don't ever be discourage, though respect some people fit in naturally to roles on the boat. However, to find one's fit requires trying all the jobs no matter size, shape or gender. It's possible to have a good sized bow person who moves like Tinkerbell and a small powerhouse trimming a monster kite . . . have you seen some of the V70 sailors?!?!

Later this week . . . when weight matters . . . ugh. The love/hate relationship of One Design racing . . .weigh ins after an international long flight . . . what can you do to minimize water retention and bloating from traveling?

Fair Winds,


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