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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Prepare by doing

Back when I was a kid my family was into canoe racing. We acquired our fair share of trophies and ribbons. There was a paddling team that had developed a special series of exercises to prepare for races. Those guys looked in great shape. They had fantastic precise technique. Dad and I left them in our wake.

They asked us what exercises we did to train. What we did was paddle rivers . . . a lot . . . as hard as we could. As dad figured it, if you wanted to get good at something, do that thing as much as possible.

With that in mind, all the sailing I’ve been doing on my small lake is good practice for this coming fall’s sailing adventure. It’s not perfect as there’s no tides, currents and shoals to deal with. It does offer good practice with variable winds, busy boat traffic, anchoring, and lots and lots of tacking and sail adjustments.

Normally coastal sailing doesn’t involve a lot of tacking. Even when sailing into the wind, one usually does a few long tacks rather than a lot of short ones. That’s a lot more efficient. Should I ever be in a narrow channel with a dead engine, all that small lake tacking practice will come in handy.

My lovely wife and plan on doing some sailing along the coast of Maine, so that’ll be perfect. Looks like we are canceling our Lake Champlain plans. A number of the lake’s bays are suffering from toxic algae blooms. People’s dogs have died from contact with the water. There’s no need to take a chance while that’s going on.

We also have some trips planned to some large wilderness lakes. That should be fun -and good practice too!



  1. Perfection through repetition. Make it muscle memory.

    1. The seconds saved by not having to think about something can be a life saver.

  2. Toxic algae bloom - that's really troubling. I'm in Central Florida, gulf coast, and toxic algae is showing up everywhere. The beaches of Mississippi closed because of it. I thought it was a 'localized' gulf of Mexico problem....

    1. It's a pollution problem combined with warm water. In short, too much pollution everywhere.