Thursday, September 13, 2012

Knowing Who to Beat

A few days ago was the last racing night for the 2012 kiteracing series. So we discussed sailing tactics. Specifically, knowing who your real competition is. In my case, there were only three competitors I had a chance of passing for the final season standings - and nobody who could pass me. So my focus for the final night of racing was to stay ahead of the three people who mattered. How could I do that? If I happened to find myself ahead of one of them during a race, I would "cover" them. That means staying between them and the finish line, even if that meant letting other competitors pass you (maybe because you were heading to the wrong side of the course or because you were sailing past a layline). I've seen olympic races in which the two competitors with a chance of gold finish last and second to last - because all they care about is beating each other (so everyone else passes them as they match race).

Knowing who you are really competing against, who really matters, is obviously also relevant in other contexts, such as business, academics and politics.

So, how did I do? I beat two of the three people who mattered, and moved my final standing from 18 to 16 for the series ;-).

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