Thursday, June 6, 2013

Silver Fleet, Gold Fleet

This week I've been competing the Kiteboard Racing North American Championship. After two days of competition they split the fleet into Gold (top) and Silver (bottom). There are 75 competitors including most of the top racers in the World. I was expecting to be near the top of the Silver fleet, and indeed after the first day I was on 42nd place. After the 2nd day I moved up the 39th place and thought I had nailed the very top spot on the Silver fleet. I was ecstatic and spoke with the boys about how sometimes it is good not to win. Had I done just a little better I would have ended up at the bottom of the Gold fleet, with the prospect of trailing the Gold fleet for the following two days (as opposed to leading the Silver one).

Ale reminded us of the great Iranian movie Children of Heaven in which a boy slows down to try to come second in a race because the 2nd place price was a pair of shoes he desperately needed. Paco thought of Hunger Games and the benefit of not attracting too much attention early in the tournament. We also spoke about how underperforming early in a competition can have psychological benefits if your opponent is later taken aback by your improved performance and a change of momentum in your benefit.

The boys were familiar with the term sandbagging, which refers to intentionally underperforming. I think sandbagging is acceptable in some situations but inappropriate in others. A good topic for another day... In the case of the kiteracing championship, I wasn't sandbagging. I sailed my best and ended up 39th... Or so I thought. A few hours after our conversation the competitor in 38th place got a scoring penalty which moved me to 38th and the very bottom of the Gold Fleet!!! I have to confess though that it feels good to be in the Gold fleet - even if I am trailing them around the course :-). And, who knows, maybe I'll have a lucky break today and beat a few people...

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