McKee Minute: No Pain, No Contend

At the Melges 24 Worlds, there's no doubt that sailboat racing is a cerebral and physical sport.

Melges 24 Worlds
Pierrick Contin
Turning the corner and planing downwind is the easier part of Melges 24 sailing. It's when you turn the other corner and hit the lifelines when life gets uncomfortable. It's just part of the game.Pierrick Contin

It turns out the Melges 24 is quite a physical boat.

After sailing for six days in a row (one more to go), I think everyone here is a little dinged up. I can see a lot of bruises similar to mine when I walk down the dock. My crew has been counting down the beats. It started at 24, now down to 4.

The hiking is a little brutal on the Melges 24, requiring you to bend over the lifeline and extend your upper body out. But while I may complain about the physical toll it is taking on my aging body, I also think having an athletic aspect to the game is really good. I think it is healthy that you can work harder, whether hiking upwind or working the boat downwind, and your physicality can make a big difference in the result.

Sailing is thought of as a cerebral sport, and that is true and a good thing, but it is also a real sport, certainly at the Melges 24 Worlds, and I’m happy about that, too, even if I have to go to physical therapy next week. We intend to leave it all on the race course on Saturday, physically and mentally. Maximum effort, here we go.