Lessons from My Journey
With winter on the way, the West Coast Junior sailing scene is starting to heat up with more regattas, traveling and training ahead. During these winter months, California sailors tend to use this time to improve. Meanwhile, east coast kids can’t sail from November to March due to cold weather and frozen lakes. This is one of the many advantages to living in California.
I have been fortunate to be introduced to the match racing scene by a very talented sailor, Chris Nesbitt. About two months ago I decided to venture out of my comfort zone when Chris invited me to sail the United States Match Racing Championship qualifier, a grade 3 event, hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club. The grade of the event depends on the difficulty of the competition at the regatta, 1 being the hardest and 5 the easiest. For example, the America’s Cup is a grade 1 event. The Long Beach regatta is also a qualifier for the Prince of Wales Regatta. Only the top finisher is awarded a spot in that regatta. Fortunately, we ended up winning the qualifier and qualified for the Prince of Whales event. Unfortunately, Chris’s work schedule prevented us from competing. More recently, I raced the Butler Cup, a grade 4 match race event at LBYC. With many hard-fought battles and close matches, we came away with the win.
This change of pace has been extremely beneficial to my sailing. The atmosphere is much more intense with boats colliding and protest flags flying constantly. Also, it has helped me in fleet racing, where I can be very calm in tense and stressful situations. In match racing there are only two boats on the course at once and you are trying to read the opponent’s plan. This forces you to plan out your next four moves and have a backup plan if one of the moves doesn’t go according to plan.
The biggest lesson of this journey: venture away from what you are used to, make new connections and incorporate what you have learned into all aspects of your life.
Junior Commodore, Max Mayol