Thursday, January 14, 2010
I love the story of his first dinghy - an old wooden Oppy that he sailed on Christmas day whilst wearing a duffle coat and wellies - no hint of a lifejacket or proper sailing gear! He was just 12 years old and had never sailed a dinghy before! I could hardly believe it! I am not one for wrapping my kids up in cotton wool but this just made my blood run cold as I thought of what could have happened. But it didn't.
When you think how parents today go to great lengths to eliminate risk from thier children's lives, Ben's parents must seem really careless.
But hey look what a sailor he turned out to be! Maybe its not such a bad thing to let kids take real risks as they grow up - they learn how to assess risk which enables them to reach beyond mediocrity and take hold of the things others only dream about. That is certainly the way Ben seems to go about his racing. The funny thing is that on shore he admits that he is a bit of a worry-wart. I wonder why? Why does he have such freedom on the water but feel so threatened by the possibility of getting it wrong in the rest of life?
I wonder if we are all like this in some way - we have our comfort zones where we feel free to risk getting stuff wrong and then other places where we dare not put a foot wrong?
Anyway its a good read, you get a real sense of the tension of olympic racing and I have certainly picked up a few tips on tactics and strategy among other aspects of dinghy racing.
He also writes about his adventures in the Americas Cup boats and what a contrast it is to go from a small singlehander where everything is done by the helmsman - sail trim, strategy, tactics, helming - the whole shebang - to being just one in a team where everyone has thier own task and all have to mesh and work together or something horrible can go wrong with very expensive boats.
As I said its a good read and if you're looking for a half descent book on sailing I can recomend it.