OK, I have bastardized Woody Allen's quote that "90% of life is just showing up" but it felt apt regarding racing.
I am a bit of a tart when it comes to racing and I have trouble settling down. Last year I raced on four boats: a J24, a friend's cruiser, a J30 and my own vessel, Cadence. I enjoyed the experience on the J30, Belle Faster best of all. It's great crew, I like the skipper and it's a competitive fleet with some exciting racing.
Now, is that time of year when skippers tear their hair out trying to figure out who their crew will be for the season. Belle Faster's skipper, Michael has a pool of 8-10 guys and is trying to figure out who the six will be who will form the core of this year's crew. In his words the three things he is looking for are reliability (showing up), consistency (knowing how to handle the boat) and talent. He will take two out of three but one out of three won't cut it. The foundation of a successful race boat is boat handling. You don't achieve good boat handling unless a regular crew shows up reliably and learns how to do things correctly each time. In my view talent is rare and overrated as compared to a well-functioning crew.
I have not been reliable to date this season, so Mike and I had a chat about this. He was rightly questioning where my head was at for the season. I have a lot going on, as it's year 2 of the new venture and things are taking off. In addition we have a fairly hectic summer including going to London for the Olympics.
After mulling on this overnight, I concluded that being part of this crew was important to me so I am making an effort to at least be reliable. Consistent? Eventually. Talented? Unlikely.
This brought to mind a great line from a highly successful skipper, now in his 80s, who was asked what his secret was to a successful campaign. His reply:
"A big phone book and a lot of quarters."