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The Mooring Minute: The Kobayashi Maru!

Published on January 2, 2019 by Walter Johnson • In The Mooring Minute

The Mooring Minute: The Kobayashi Maru!

The other day I was talking with an old sailing buddy about past races and the list of ones where we came oh so close. We regaled how there was always that one guy who was a half boat length faster, we shared how often it was years or decades later we would learn of that one guy who figured out that one boat modification, that one thing that gave him that “extra edge.” After a sleepless night, it got me thinking about Captain Kirk and the Kobayashi Maru!

The Kobayashi Maru was a fictitious training exercise designed to test the character of a star fleet academy cadet in working thru a no-win scenario. For those who follow star trek, we learned that Captain Kirk figured out how to re-engineer the test so to win at the game and as such became the captain of the most coveted ship in the fleet. Kobayashi Maru defines the foundation upon which a group competes, to follow the rules or to change the rules rather than playing within a rigged game, in business, this is to think like an adversary.

Sailing can be considered a version of a no-win battle, each race measures our ability to work thru each encounter, and our scores reflect our ability to preserve with those having the lowest score being declared the winner. In One Design racing, we are further pinned by racing within a set of class rules, boat specification rules which are also governed by the provisions of sailing, all bundled by the standards of fair play. Meaning we are to play within the rules as administered and self-police our actions and those of who we compete against, all while celebrating the winners and their ability to achieve while following the rules. Kobayashi Maru! The winners are praised for their character by working thru a no-win scenario, or……

As we learned later, Captain Kirk figured out how to re-engineer the test so to win at the game. So when does ingenuity and thinking out of the box advance beyond the rules of fair play?  I always say, “just because it’s not clear nor written, it doesn’t mean we can or just the fact that you can don’t mean we should.” But then how many races have we lost because we played within the rules, had year old sails and a smooth bottom.

In every fleet, Volkswagon’s are paired with those who have opted to have a Porsche or worst yet that old beater which has been rolled faired and who knows what done to it. The lesson here was my buddy had stopped racing one design because in his mind there was no real one design, each fleet he could point too had the haves and the have-nots. Or worst yet a whole pool of people who had no idea that a few had a huge advantage over the many.

I believe that we are all better together, that the needs of a few don’t outweigh the needs of the many. That it’s up to all of us to keep the sport intact by sailing within the rules and if we want to change something that we first seek out and change the law so we all can be better together!

So head out and untie the ties which are holding you back and head out and build your legacy, one race, one leg, one day at a time!

The Mooring Minute

By Walter Johnson

#KobayashiMaru, #Startrek, #Wildoats, #Makeboatinggreatgain