Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bermuda Ocean Race

By Julie Rahm

            My husband John, with our sailboat, has entered the Bermuda Ocean Race. This sailboat-only race starts in Annapolis, Maryland and ends 753 miles later at the British island of Bermuda. Our neighbor Jim, who has competed in the race nine times, is going to help John captain our boat. Jim has gathered his crew and like the movie Blues Brothers has gotten the “band back together again”. I’m not sure if John or Jim is Elwood or Jake. But, I do know they are on a mission. The race is longer than both the Newport and Marion to Bermuda races. And, sailing down the Chesapeake Bay can be quite challenging. There will be a crew of six men on our boat. It may be a bucket list thing. I am not sure. However, I am sure about the preparation. The preparation has been extremely disciplined. John has prepared for the race in three parts.
            First, we have prepared the boat. In order to compete, our boat must pass a safety inspection conducted by the race officials. The race officials will board and inspect the boat in Annapolis before the race starts. The inspection checklist is twelve pages long and oriented towards the worst case scenarios. In addition, we have purchased some extra safety equipment that was a good idea but not required. As an understatement, we now have a well-equipped boat.
            The second part of the preparation was training the crew to manage the boat. John and Jim held a training weekend. Two of the crew flew in from Massachusetts. The other two flew in from Pennsylvania. During the recent training weekend, John and Jim conducted school on the boat systems. There were man overboard drills, storm sail handling drills, and of course some practice racing. John has written some exhaustive guides to help familiarize the crew with our boat. It is important that all understand the expectations and are good teammates.
            The third part of the preparation has been the personal training. John has joined the Village Health Club and hired Mary Beth as his trainer. John trains hard in the Club and Mary Beth pushes him to go even further. In three short months, with Mary Beth as his trainer, the change has been dramatic. John has lost weight and is now in excellent shape. His body is now suitable for an extended open ocean race.
            Through all this, it has occurred to me that John’s preparation for the Bermuda Ocean Race is a microcosm for a successful life. We have prepared our boat, our crew, and ourselves for the race. Even more important, for a happy and successful life, we must prepare our household, our friends and each other. Read my column next week. I will expound on this preparation philosophy and give you some keys to unlock your success.
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