Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sights and sounds...

...can bring people back in time.

The holiday period from November through January 1st can be sensory overload! The seasonal changes, sensory cues and damn Christmas carols playing moments after the last bite of turkey, all trigger memories of years gone by.

It's really quite an interesting aspect of human psychology, the relationships between sight, sound, and smell with human emotions and memories. One of many elements I enjoy most about sailing, how it engages all our senses and can either keep one alive in the moment or bring back, for self, some lovely memories.

Back in the day...

Our family use to get together around this time with other families from the marina for an America's Cup holiday gathering (the taped races). They were great parties. I actually think I better understood the cup in my pre-teen days, then ever I do now. Today - I get a headache with each press release and instantly filled with disappointment and tune into the commentary of the Barcelona World Race for a reprieve.

I miss my childhood innocence around the Cup, how my "marina friends" and I would announce to our parents how we were going to someday be America's Cup sailors. Once, sitting in the middle of the living room, my younger self was fending for tele rights from "non-sailor" step father who wanted to change the channel from the Cup to something about UFO sitings, "No!, that will be me someday!", standing my ground, as the women I looked up to, duked it out in the male dominated waters. My grandparents (both sailors) had been visiting and now deceased grandfather, in his gentle tone, simply said, "Dear, you will need to be much bigger". Was somewhere between 10-12 at the time, I'm told.

I have to chuckle when thinking back to being one of the littlest in school, too scrawny to wear proper little girl clothes and dressed like a little boy most of the time, "helping" my true father on the boat and never once thinking I wasn't "big enough". Oh well, in truth, the America's Cup is no longer an ambition - out grew it- on to sailing across oceans...some day.

In my youth, the America's Cup was the highlight of sailing, the level of sailing any young sailor would hope to achieve, an event worth watching - would like to move on. There is more to the world of sailing than the America's Cup and those who are key in what makes it special, feel they have the talent to make other events special while those who cast a dark shadow duke it out...

There is more for the sailor than the America's cup as well.

Personally, would like to see the sailors, no matter age, class of boat, etc., be the highlight of the sport over one particular event. With the ever more physical boat designs making way to a local docks, mother nature's mood swings and demand for creative means to power these beasts of all shapes and sizes, will require the growth of the sailor in many different facets.

Support the sailor and support the future of our sport.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Sailor of Tomorrow...

What will the AC sailor of 2009 look like? If this roller coaster of a ride we call the "America's Cup" begins to flatten out and we see bigger boats, larger crew numbers and no crew weight limit, what will the AC sailor of the future need to be like in keeping pace with their new ride? It's not just the AC, the designers are evil men who I swear have rugby on their mind and see Mother Nature as the true opponent and our sailor the last samurai to take her down with their newly wielded sword (boat).

The global climate is changing, Mother Nature's wrath has seen the postponements of many a race this season and canceled others. The sponsors and community want better media coverage and media wants exciting coverage to ensure ratings. Magazines sell when there are cool pictures and news of the struggle keep people reading. What will sailing of the future be like?

Will there be a tipping point where the sadistic designer goes too far and the sailors willing to walk the line converge with an ever temperamental force who's response is to the global changes triggered by human hands? More than likely and usually why most sailing forums have the gallery of contributors who are against the Volvo Ocean Race or Vendee Globe, maybe from the same blood lines who thought the world was flat?

Much like those who peek at Sailing Anarchy but post the Scuttlebutt burgee, it's very exciting to see what the next crazy design will be, how it will challenge the sailor and will it stand up to the test of nature. In most cases such "peeking" is from the warmth and comfort of home or office , living vicariously through the on-board cameras and virtual spectator. In all seriousness, some of us would not be so hooked if not for the Mad Hatter of a designer, over the top sailor and captivating awe of taking on natural forces no human can control. Much to the same curiosity of the less than polished scoop of SA.

So it's my creative eye which pictures a sailor of tomorrow half resembling a rugby player with a hint of ballerina as they dance across their beast of a boat while taking on an Ahab, salty dog personality with each crashing wave.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Weather the Holiday

Brrr...when fall decides to kick in here in New England it seems to skip from warm to cold without much of a transition period. My "co-worker" (soon to be 4 yr old Vizsla named Fayston) did not enjoy the prickle of cold earth under her paws, nor I the clear need of an extra layer during our morning walk.

We kept to our plan and enjoyed the sunny spots, which compared to a week ago have increased with the disappearing foliage. I am missing out on this year's frostbiting season, however, do have them in mind with the colder weather approaching, the new level of obligations mounting on the "To-Dos" and the marathon of holidays approaching faster than a powered up skiff!

Returning to the "office", reviewed what topics were on readers minds a year ago. The stresses of the holiday season and managing a healthy lifestyle amongst all the chaos of year end deadlines, social obligations and the actual holidays themselves took top rank. I am not a parent yet and have huge respects for my sailing and non-sailing peeps who weather this time of year like a Vendee Globe sailor heading into the Southern Ocean and dedicate this blog to them. I've managed the rat race, however, they've taught me some really great tricks even the child-free person can appreciate.

So here are SailTrim's 2007 Tips and Tricks For November where Turkey and pies reign but Jingle Bells will be playing in malls nation wide before the Turkey makes it to the oven!

Be selfish at least once a day! It's ok to not answer the phone, txt message or email, that's what voicemail and inboxes are for. During busy times invest in the things which matter most. My father will be found watching football in his Cape Dory which is parked conveniently next to the house outfitted with both cable and wifi!

Take a bite of pie! You don't have to eat the whole pie, but denying self something greatly enjoyed tends to lead someone to feeling cheated and more likely to over indulge next go around. I've found having a healthy snack before a party helps curb the appetite and less inclined to over eat the items I know will make sticking to the winter sailing program a challenge.

Let it out! Hmm what could this mean...if feeling overwhelmed and stress by something at work or home, try not to hold it in, let it out whether by discussing with colleague, spouse or friend and work on action and solution. It's so easy to invest way too much time and energy brooding. Exercise and physical activity is another great way to manage the stresses of the season and though for many the first thing to go is the gym: a daily walk, ride or run for half the usual time is better than not at all.

For many, sailing goes on a bit of a hiatus while boats have been hauled and tucked away for the winter (unless you are my dad who's idea of "winterize" has the boat fully geared up for an eskimo next to the house!). So, though there is not much "sailing" going on we can still embrace our sailor ways and weather the holidays with a little trim or ease and the occasional reef.