Cheers to Canada & to Frosty (David Frost DN5358)!!!
Karen Binder & David Frost at 2020 Canadian Nationals
Last weekend’s 2020 Canadian Nationals had great sailors, great wind, and great ice for mid- March. The weekend also provided me with a lot of opportunity to reflect on how far I have come in a year’s time. Some of my posts have mentioned my hiccups last year. In my first ever regatta, I was lapped in several races and I got pulled around by my plank after a bad start. On a practice day in VT I flew out of my boat at the leeward mark and during another day of scratch racing in MA I was in a significant collision which resulted in my hull being shattered and painful whiplash and headaches for weeks.
Last year’s 2019 Canadian Nationals was about eight weeks after my collision. Those weeks were spent recuperating and working with T to get a new boat ready. When they called everyone to the line that morning I was overwhelmed with nervousness and I quickly decided I was going to sit out and watch the first race. I soon saw how on bigger ice with a big course the fleet spreads so by the second race I felt safe enough to join in for the rest of the regatta, but I finished in 21st place. Not great. But I had gotten back on the proverbial horse and that felt good.
I guess one would say I don’t give up easily on things and I am pretty sure my competitive nature started in third grade. My teacher held a "multiplication bee" for our classroom. It was single elimination and it came down to me and this very cute boy with brown curly hair and blue eyes. His name was Andrew Keegan. I’d liked him since Kindergarten. I literally asked myself, "Hmm, I like Andrew. Should I let him win?" Something took over and I won the multiplication bee on 12X9 and went home with a real Silver Dollar as my prize.
So, last winter during a very nice dinner in Augusta, Maine during the Easterns T, "Frosty"/David Frost, his lovely daughter, Audrey, and I were talking. I’d never met Frosty before. I asked the usual questions…where do you live?…what kind of work do you do?…when did you start ice boating?
We were all having a great time. THEN DAVID SAID IT…."It takes TEN years to get good at this sport."
I let Frosty’s statement sink in. It was my first regatta and I was clearly awful. Later that night I asked T in a shaky voice, "Is it really going to take me ten years?" I am positive he said something encouraging and supportive, but honestly I can’t remember it. I just kept hearing "Ten Years… Ten Years… Ten Years." I was 49 years old. At this point, who has ten years to get good at anything?
So, I came to a decision. It was not going to take me ten years. At the start of this season I used Frosty’s comments as a source of inspiration and motivation.
Last weekend, at the 2020 Canadian Nationals, in two different races I was third going into the windward mark. In one race I was rounding right behind Ron Sherry and T. Sure, I totally BLEW IT downwind, but I was behind Ron and T going around the first windward mark rounding in a race! And, then in another race Ron was behind me at the first windward mark rounding. He said at dinner, "Karen, I saw you up there at the windward mark with us. Griffin and I passed you to windward and leeward just as we were rounding, but you were THERE."
I gulped. That was a huge compliment in my book.
I have shared my progress and challenges this season as a way for me to process this difficult sport. I am still struggling downwind and at the leeward mark roundings, but with more practice I know those things will get better. I am breaking this sport into chunks and working on certain elements at a time. It seems to help.
When the final results were posted, I chuckled a bit and found it ironically funny that I tied with "Frosty" David Frost for 11th place at the 2020 Canadian Nationals. The guy that said the magic words that motivated me all season. He got me in the end, but well done, David!
Frosty, Eben, Me, and T (congrats on the win T!))
As we were saying our goodbyes on Sunday in the parking lot, I did mentioned to Frosty that his new nickname from me might be "Decade Dave." We laughed. I have sincerely appreciated his support, his good nature, and his encouragement this entire season. Thanks Dave!
Maybe one more weekend of ice ahead..Bill B has scouts looking at Moosehead Lake in Maine and South Twin in Millimocket. His words…"We’re on it like hawks."
Cheers again to Canada and to Frosty!