Greetings from the Prez – April 2010

It’s time to get something off my chest. We sail each year in hopes of winning something called the Nick Nichols trophy – let’s call it ‘The Cup.’ ‘The Cup’ represents our season championship, and is awarded each year to the boat with the lowest aggregate score across all of our racing, which includes Spring Series, MRA, Race Week, Twilights and Fall Series. Is this news to you? Does it ring a bell? Does anyone even know what ‘The Cup’ looks like? Well if you don’t, I’m not surprised. The last time someone other than my wife had the opportunity to polish the thing was before Bill Clinton didn’t have sex with that woman. That’s ridiculous!

How could you guys let us get away with that? It’s not as though we aren’t a competitive fleet. There are plenty of boats capable of wresting the prize from our greedy fingers. This past season, several had a shot at it, but only one, to my knowledge, was even focused on it. Another could have edged us simply be taking its bye instead of a DNC. What’s up with that? So what does it take to win ‘The Cup?’ Charlie Pendleton was spot-on last month when he talked about goal-setting. One reason Christina and I keep winning it is because we set that as a goal. Sure, winning requires competitiveness, but less so than you might think. The key ingredient is participation. As Woody Allen said, 80% of success is showing up, and that applies in spades to winning ‘The Cup.’ Take the Spring Series for example. Last year’s turnout wasn’t bad, but that’s atypical. Mike Lane and I have consistently gotten a jump on the fleet because we have most consistently sailed the Spring Series when most did not (one year it was a match race). Why should that be? Spring Series is part of our season. It’s on the schedule. It’s not like it sneaks up behind us. Hey, Spring Series points count just as much as MRA points. Why give them away? Boats that missed the Spring Series last year started more than 30 points in the hole on overall scoring. That’s no way to win ‘The Cup.’ Same goes for Twilights. For boats that don’t typically crack the top five on Saturdays, Twilights can get you back in the game. You get the idea.

The other key ingredient is communication and emphasis. We as a fleet haven’ really emphasized ‘The Cup’ for a while, so it’s no surprise folks aren’t focused on it. And unless you track the scoring on your own, how would you know what the season rankings looks like? Well we’re going to fix that. Once the season starts, we’re going to post the season scores on the back of this newsletter under the heading ‘Road to the Cup.’ We might even do weekly email blasts (but don’t hold me to that as I haven’t checked with my bosses). We also plan to go five deep in the season championship trophies. So who is going to do it? Which of you will win ‘The Cup’ in 2010? Who will end the madness?

A few other quick notes – Fleet 5 has put together a fantastic spring clinic, featuring Jud Smith, Jack Slattery and Bill Lynn. That’s a lot of sailing talent on one stage. They plan to walk us through a race, and share their priorities at each phase. What a great way to kick off a Nationals season. We’re opening the event to the broader racing community, so try to get there early to get a good seat. Also, Jerry Blouin’s dance card for spring measurement is filling up fast. If you plan to sail Nationals, you should give him a call. Finally, the registration meeting is just around the corner. It will be held on April 15th at the Shoreman residence. In addition to registration, we have a few bits of fleet business to take care of, so please show up. I look forward to seeing everyone there.

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