Friday, October 05, 2012

The Harbor Report: Superstitions are serious business

                                                                                                  Mark Gaudio talking home the Gold

Over the last couple of weeks you might have started to notice that I am a superstitious  person when it comes to my routine before and while I am boating. Before a big sailboat race or stepping onto any type of boat I have my routine/superstitions. 
It starts when dressing, which shirt, pants and hat has the right mojo for the event I am attending that day? The right song in the car as I leave my driveway and change my watch. This year my song has been the theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Once on the boat my sandals are taken off and placed in the back of the boat. This is only a small part of my routine that I can tell you about without giving away my secret mojo.
The people that I called and tried to interview are all sailing and fishing champions that are well recognized throughout our harbor. We all know that banana's are not allowed on fishing, racing sailboats, or even on delivers and it was mentioned with everyone I interviewed.
When I approached Chris Raab and asked him if he was superstitious and what his routine was he walked the other way. I missed the name of his wife, but she laughed when I asked and commented " oh yah, he has quite the routine". Chris never returned my calls the following day.
Next I spoke with Bill Menninger during last weekends Harbor 20 Fleet Championships, and yes the Menninger's won their 4th championships last weekend. Bill informed me that he try's not to put much thought into his superstitions but did tell about how he prefers to wear dark colored shirts to present a more  competitive attitude.  
I obtained much more information from Mark Gaudio when I called him over the phone. He to was a little reluctant in revealing his routine at first. " I start by picking socks for the day, if I won an event I will place the date and the event name on the inside of the sock and will only wear them the following year for that event" he told me. "I have big boat socks, dinghy socks, I am not sure were a Harbor 20 fits in, is it a big boat or a dinghy? So I don’t wear any shoes when sailing Harbor 20's" he explained. Mark also had a pair of blue sailing shorts that he would only wear on Sunday's if he needed them. He will never attend the skippers meeting, he always sends his crew, and if he is leading after the first day he will wear the same exact cloths for the rest of the event. 

Dave Ullman described his routine by explaining his superstitions as a form of a comfort level. "once the race starts all my superstitions are disregarded and I will focus on sailing logically" he said. Although before the race Dave described himself as being very carefully about his routine. Never stepping on cracks while walking to the event, lucky hats and shirts. Never wearing the shirt from the regatta you are racing in and if you are winning always wear the same clothes from the day before. Dave went on to explain that you never win the practice race before a big event and explained he has turned around and not crossed over the finish line on those types of races.

I wanted to reach out and get a better idea of what some of our local fisherman routines are before leaving the docks. This group was a lot harder nut to crack because I don't walk the walk and or even come close to talking the talk. When I approached JD from JD Tackle on Balboa Island, next to the ferry, I had to drop a few names before I could get a good response from this old salt. He went on to explain "bananas on board is one of the biggest crimes, big game tournaments have fellow competing anglers hanging A bunch of them under the bow pulpits of rival boats. Women on board- causes problems to no end. Bring a camera- it's like reverse karma. Mourning with the wind out of the southeast, the fish bite the least. I find that commonly so, they( offshore fish) bite better when there's a westerly breeze.

I also had a chance to talk to Chris Webb he explained it's always wise to have a pink jig in the water and he has his lucky fishing spots he always returns to. He told me he listens to Bob Marley " the fish like Bob" he told me. "You also need to make sure you take down your catch flags from your privies trip before you leave the harbor and yes I have my collection of lucky hats. 

So do ever find yourself saying that one of these champions found a lucky wind shift or got lucky by finding the fish over and over again? I do and still wonder how Ullman passed me when I pushed him to the left side of the course during BYC Club Championships this year and he went on to win that one race  and the Championships. Could it have been the fact he is a also a  world champion or was it that crack in the side walk before you walk into the club?

Sea ya

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

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