Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Perfect Regatta – Ask, Believe and Receive

Written by Brian Camet

It’s been sometime since I won the Youth Champs and got second place to Dean Barker in the Youth Worlds, but I still remember it like it was yesterday – actually I don’t remember it at all – not that I don’t remember it. It’s that doing well just happened. That is what brings me to write this. It’s a feeling that happened a few weekends ago sailing Etchells with my brother and my dad in the Orca Bowl in San Diego...it just a happened. What just happened you ask? Well the prefect regatta...yes the perfect regatta! Straight first places, five races, five first places – not that this has not happened before – it’s the point that something like this has puzzled me for many years. Why is it that some people can just go out and do it and others seem to get lost? Do the winners have something different that makes them better?

What was funny was at the end of the first day Vince Brun asked me what we did differently and I said "nothing". I then joked that it was found in this book called The Secret. We all laughed at what I was saying but the more I thought about what I have read in the book... and the more I spoke about it with my dad... the more I began to believe that maybe this was the secret to winning.

The ability to envision yourself making the perfect start and crossing the fleet on the first shift. In the book it talks about asking, believing and receiving – yes it sounds very corny - but this can be the difference between winning and losing. Ask: being able to have a picture in your mind of where you want to be on the starting line and hitting that first shift. Believe: you must believe that you will have the perfect start and hit the first shift. And finally Receive: you must feel good about what you are about to achieve. Shutting out distractions in your life and being able to focus on what you want to achieve is one of the hardest things that you have to focus on. You have to prepare for this - you can’t just show up and it works – granted I have see this happen, but when the stakes are high, the cream of the crop always rises to the top.

I remember what Dave Perry said at the beginning of one of the Youth Champs. He said that someone had already won this particular regatta. No, it wasn’t me, it was my brother (I came in second that year). Yet these words did ring a bell - both my brother and I had prepared for the event and we had the confidence to achieve what we were there to do. As I sit here and write this I see what is happening in the America’s Cup – I feel that the team that has envisioned themselves winning and believes they will win will receive the ultimate success. I look at Chris Dickson who had the weight of the world on his shoulders - yet what happened was that the wheels came off the bus and a program that was rock solid fell to ruins in a matter of days.

On a team that big you can’t blame the driver - even though he has the ability to turn the wheel - but does he have the ability to pick a team that works well together? The Oracle team may look good from the outside, but when you look at it closely it was a top down management style that ended up costing them a lot! That means the guy at the very top is to blame. This same thing could happen to Alinghi.

This leads me to believe that is why Dennis Conner is one of the best sailors there is. He was a yacht racer before he was a successful business man. Larry was a successful business man before he began to race sailboats. He is not able to ask and envision what he wants to achieve in sailing. I know that some say that sailing is similar to business in the form of having a plan and executing that plan, but in the long run it is the ability to envision the game that will net you the ultimate satisfaction of playing the game well.

Racing against DC in Etchells has taught me that you have to look farther ahead of the game then what you see just in front of your bow. When you race against someone like Dennis, Vince and even Terry Hutchison, you know that you need to play like a world champion chess player - you have to play three or even five moves ahead - or else....checkmate!