Do we need a new set-up? What about the sails? The rig? How do we get better? Do we need new goals? A lot of questions were asked rounding up last season, but we decided it´s better to invest our limited time, focus and energy on building habits rather than specific goals. Normally, people don´t focus on habits because goals sound sexier in our minds. Habits on the other hand are long-term and repetitive, which make them seem boring. You don´t get this rush of inspiration imagining yourself eating dried fish for lunch everyday. But habits are an investing mindset. And they take time. And patience.
Dubai – The habit builder.
With that in mind, how can you turn down one week a month from November to February in perfect sailing conditions with some of the best sailors, sailmakers and boatbuilders in the world gathered together at the same venue working to get quicker? The answer is simple: you don´t.
So after The Hans-Dieter Wetmar Cup at Lake Garda in October (where Sophie Racing with good boat speed pulled off a second place) we shipped our PCT-Dragon back to Dubai for winter training. During the first two sessions we felt that we brought our speed from Garda and had an edge on the rest but with names like Marcus Wieser, Jochen Schumann, Theis Palm, Werner Fritz putting their heads together, we knew it was only a matter of time before all the boats would be similar in speed and height. Which was the whole purpose of going to the land of sand and The Arabian Sea in the first place. But overall we developed a habit, we were sailing higher and faster than before. And out of 30 days we sailed 28. Hard to beat elsewhere.
Back to Europe and the Grade Ones.
Coming back to Europe in March was exciting. Would the teams training in Dubai with their PCT-Dragons be quick compared to the guys that stayed in Europe over winter? Would all the rig and sail testing pay off? Well, during Juan Carlos in Cascais, Hendrick Witzmann, Henrique Anjos and Theis Palm proved that the Arabian winter had been beneficial scoring a second just shy of first. We scored a 6th but felt we could do better with the boat behaving well in the breeze and the waves.
One month later, almost 50 Dragon Teams met up in France for the third big event of the year, The Grand Prix Guyader in Douarnenez. We sailed almost immaculately to take the lead after the first day with a 1 and a 3. Then we had to wait. And wait. And when the wind finally decided to come back we had an absolutely cracking race, constantly moving up through the fleet, finishing first. The youngest miudo onboard, Bernardo, just couldn´t fail. He even had time to throw in a couple of words of wisdom during racing: Guys, just shush and be patient! For the last race we just had to make sure to finish no less than four boats behind our fellow training partners from Dubai Stephen Link, Frank Butzmann and Michi Lipp to win the event. We chose to finish ahead and won our first Grade One event in the Dragon class in style.
We´re happy. Happiness occurs when you decide to pursue what´s in you. And if winning becomes a habit in this competitive class, we will be even happier.