The sailing season has finally began! I’ve waited not so patiently all winter for this. We’ve been at it 3 weeks and I’ve just started to satisfy that strange sailing itch I’ve got. Now I have to pluck myself away for hypnotherapy training in Noosa and won’t be able to sail for a month. Sigh.
Make sure this sailing race is a good one.
I see Blade (the boat in the picture) sitting lazily in the sun when I rock up to sailing training. I think at Blade “what are you doing here buddy? You’re injured. Not one but two broken rudders (used to steer the boat). How you gonna get by like that?”
My sailing itch twitches…hmmm...what does this mean?
During training I’m distracted and find it hard to focus.
Calm with a little wind again. Boring. I want to be learning how to steer and it’s hard to do that in calm weather.
Why won’t this itch go away? And when have I ever said I was bored while sailing? What is going on?
Perfect, an opportunity to steer the rescue boat. I’ve never steered a power boat before. That’ll sort that itch out.
No, not perfect. The itch is still there. That distraction didn’t work. What else can I do differently?
Ashore I find myself thinking at Blade again. “I bet you’re happy. The wind’s going to pick up which will be perfect for you.”
Um…since when do I think at boats? Clearly there’s something I’m missing here.
Blade’s skipper walks by and I find myself spontaneously calling out “hey I’m happy to crew if you need anyone.” Am I? Am I really happy to crew in windy conditions on a boat that goes fast with two broken rudders? Well I must be because that’s what I just said. I can roll with that. I've learned from past experiences to pay attention to those spontaneous thoughts, feelings and comments I make.
Lots of yanking on ropes combined with the buzz of being on the water and testing the capabilities of my mind and body. Plus lots and lots and lots of learning new things; names of things, trapesing (hanging off the side of the boat, see picture), finding and refining rope yanking techniques and fixing random things. Lucky I had a good skipper.
Have any of you noticed my guns? Not massive. I was interested to see how they'd hold up. I was pulling the rope and "I can't do this" popped into my head but immediately it was replaced with “you did it last time, just not fast and not perfect.”
That was right. I had raised this sail before, so I could do it again. I can’t expect myself to be perfect straight away. But I know there must be a way for me to do this better. I had 100 minutes to find it.
I realised it was the same when I was learning to ride my bike. I wanted to know how to ride fast straight away so the streamers coming out of the handlebars would look cool flying along. I wanted to learn how to do skids so I could leave blue and red streaks down the footpath and see if I could make purple. But there were a bunch of steps and loads of practice I had to do first to master these skills. It was the same with raising the sail.
As I was sailing I took an extra heavy dose of patience and perseverance in the form of a mouth full of salt water spray delivered by Blade. Thanks buddy. It’s OK there’s no drowsy side effects. Quite refreshing and lets you know you're alive actually.
I was surprised by my internal chit chat and reactions during the race. Last time I sailed I would beat myself up about things that I’d done wrong. Like when I didn’t get the sail down fast enough and we missed our turn by 100m (that’s a lot by the way). My old pattern would have been to apologise a gazillion times, put more pressure on myself to get it right, then back out and ask to do something easier next time. That thinking pattern was absent. Kapoof, disappeared.
I noticed a new response. “Bugger. Ok, what do I need to do now?” Then as we were sailing the next leg I asked the skipper what I needed to do differently. I quickly played in my head what I was going to do next time and made this my focus. A way better thinking pattern.
I realised I had reached a point where I knew I had to spend time on the water to get better. I was going to make mistakes. I had to learn step by step. I guess it’s like reading a book. You have to read each word one at a time. Chapter by chapter. Characters will come and go. The plot will build and unfold. You can’t know everything about what’s going to happen in the story at the beginning. It’s about enjoying the story as you read it.
Oh, you want the result of the race. We finished last out of ten boats. We actually finished the race! Blade stayed in one piece. The skipper was a bit buggered from having to explain everything to me and help me out with yanking ropes. Nothing a beer and chocolate couldn’t fix. Or maybe two or three beers. I had two cut fingers from yanking ropes and a massive buzz from being out on the water. The buzz totally outweighed finishing last. I knew that the time written down didn’t reflect my sailing improvement or the effort the skipper had put in. The time was a minute part of the story.
The next chapter
As I was driving home my mind began ticking over what I needed to practice, the new gloves I was going to get, the things I was going to search on YouTube. The itch had subsided to a slight twitch. This is the part where the story gets interesting. The plot is starting to build and unfold.
What does this mean for you?
What have you been itching to do? What are you going to do about it?
Something to think about...
"Your speed doesn't matter, forward is forward."