10/25/12

Life advice from a powerboat journalist


As an international powerboat racing commentator and journalist, I'm used to being approached by people everywhere I go asking me for answers to some of life's most difficult questions. Where is my life going? What does it all mean? What is the secret to happiness? I'm not saying I have all the answers, but, being a powerboat journalist, I think it's clear that I have one or two things to say on such matters. So, with an aim to sharing with others the life wisdom that naturally comes with any form of professional involvement in maritime motorsport media, I've compiled for you a list of questions that I typically encounter when I'm away on one of my powerboat Grand Prix weekends. I have answered each one as best my humble powerboat journalism skills and experience have served me.

Dear Powerboat Journalist,

I'm 37 years old and I feel like I'm stuck in a dead-end job, although I can't complain about my salary, and I also have a 401k along with medical coverage, including dental. But I've been in this company for ten years now and I wonder if I shouldn't pursue my dream of becoming a documentary filmmaker while I'm still young. What do you think I should do? - Dave, 37, Selena Heights, OH.

Dear Dave,

I'm glad you asked me this question. With over five years experience in Class 1, F1H2O, Aquabike and F1 Nations Cup world championship series media coverage, I like to think I've learned a thing or two about this crazy aquatic motorsport race we call Life. Basically, from what I understand, you have a successful and longstanding career founded upon a tried and true propeller and gear set-up that guarantees a well-balanced acceleration-to-top speed ratio around the average seven-to-twelve lap race circuit that I will use as a metaphor for life, if you don't mind. The problem is -- and correct me if I'm wrong here -- this: Do you choose a smaller prop to pick up acceleration, forsaking overall speed in the process, or do you go for a larger prop that may not be so fast around those sharp 45-to-90 degree turns that life throws at you in the form of yellow and green buoys, but which will guarantee high top speeds overall as you cut the distance down gradually with those boats -- or "colleagues" -- up ahead and maintain a comfortable lead from those chasing you from the back of the pack? Look, every powerboat driver (and person in general) has the same dilemma in life. You just have to pick the prop and gear ratio that's right for you on the day, depending on water, wind and weather conditions, and whether or not you're racing on a lake, an inshore circuit, or an offshore course. Each is a challenge in its own right, and each is very demanding on your boat... of life. The boat of life. So my advice to you is to take it day-by-day, if not hour-by-hour, and keep trying and changing different prop-gear set-ups that best suit you in life. Good luck.


Dear Powerboat Journalist,

I'm a divorced 43 year-old mother of three. As I've gotten older and the kids of grown and gone off to college and moved out of the house, I've found myself feeling like my life has no meaning or purpose anymore. I've tried hobbies, but I just find myself picking up a pastime half-heartedly and then quitting in frustration or boredom a few weeks later. I feel like there's just a big gaping hole inside me and sometimes I think there's no point in living anymore. What should I do? - Jane, 43, Plimpton, NJ

Dear Jane,

I know exactly where you're coming from, and I think I can help. I like to think of life as a super-fast dual-hull two-ton fiberglass powerboat catamaran. At some point in life we all find ourselves strapped into a powerboat canopy gliding gracefully along the surface of the water at average top speeds of over 160-170 kilometers-an-hour, depending on how choppy the conditions are, and they can be pretty choppy, as you well know. Sure, everything seems to be going smoothly as we race along without a care in that inertial bubble of bliss. But when you think about it, at the center of every catamaran is a big gaping hole, much like the hole you may sometimes feel inside yourself. But Jane, remember: you need this hole, because this hole is not just a hole, it is a wind tunnel. The air that passes over your hull when you're hitting speeds as high as 200 kilometers an hour keeps the boat from flying off into the air, and the air that passes under the boat gives you an air cushion that provides significant lift with which just a few inches at the very back of your hull touches the water, enabling you to glide smoothly over the surface of the water of life, buoyed by that emptiness that you once thought was a curse. The trick in life is to find the right speed where you can get into "the zone" that enables you to glide along as if you were floating in the air. So use that hole inside you, Jane, use it, and increase your own chances of making it to the podium of life where they will play your national anthem and hand you a trophy as the reward for a race well-raced. Remember, what you find inside you is not a hole at all... it is an air tunnel to success, a success that may even win you the 2013 UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship title (although probably not, because you're a 43 year old housewife who's never raced before, so realistically your chances of becoming a Class 1 world champion, or champion in any motorsport really, are zero-to-slim, but I'm just using that example figuratively to indicate that you can do anything you set your mind to... almost anything, anyway). Hope that helps!


Dear Powerboat Journalist,

My eight year-old son has recently developed a fascination for trains. Everything is train this and train that. He's now in third grade and I'm worried he's not paying enough attention to his schoolwork. Also he's having trouble making friends as he's often off playing with his toy trains by himself instead. The only thing he ever wants us to buy him are train sets! Help! - Elena, 36, Wingham, Mo.

Dear Elena,

This is confusing. Why would anybody be into trains when they could be into powerboats? It doesn't make any sense. How fast does a train go, honestly? Definitely not as fast as a powerboat. I ask you, has your little boy ever seen a Class 1 boat? We're talking aerodynamic catamarans with fighter jet canopies powered by twin 1500 horsepower Lamborghini V12 bad boys. Meanwhile, your kid's fascinated by something that requires coal being shoveled into a furnace. Have fun with that. Also, powerboats don't need tracks to move around on. They can go pretty much anywhere AND they can do it on water AND they can do it really fast. That's why they wear helmets in powerboats. The only person wearing a helmet anywhere near a train is your retarded son clapping moronically every time his choo choo train passes a miniature tree in Loserville. I suggest you and your nerdy son move to someplace with a sea, quick.


Dear Powerboat Journalist,

When are you going to find a real job, get married, and give me a grandchild? - Your mom, Istanbul, Turkey.

Dear mom,

This is so embarrassing, and not cool at all. This is an ADVICE COLUMN, not a griping board. So my advice to you is to stop griping about that stuff all the time, and especially here, OK? Just because all my friends are married and have kids and proper jobs doesn't mean I have to as well. Life is not a race. OK, yes, I know that sounds confusing considering how I'm always comparing life to a powerboat race, so when I now say life isn't a race it sounds like I'm being a hypocrite, I get that. But in this case it really isn't a powerboat race. You know why? Because in powerboat races, when the team manager is constantly yapping away about when to do the penalty lap or take the long lap or relaying important tactical advice regarding the race at hand through a wireless receiver connected to the racer's helmet, he's not throwing in shit like "Oh, by the way, are you planning on having a kid some time soon so we can see some grandkids in our lifetime?" So as you can see, this is one of those rare cases where powerboat racing is NOT like life AT ALL.


Dear Powerboat Journalist,

My girlfriend and I have been together for three years now, and although we love each other, I'm not sure if I want to continue with this relationship. I feel like the spark is gone, but I'm also afraid that I might regret it if I broke up with her. Maybe I'll be throwing away a good thing, but I just don't realize it now? What should I do? - Eric, 29, London, U.K.

Dear Eric,

This is quite a conundrum, and one I am all too familiar with. Basically you're asking whether you should stick with the two-pilot throttleman-driver combo in Class 1, or whether you should go solo and try your luck in a single-seat F1H2O or F1 Nation's Cup powerboat. On the one hand, you have a relationship built on trust, where one partner is in complete control of throttle and trimming duties, while the other's job is to steer the boat; but on the other hand, you can throttle, trim and steer the whole thing yourself in a single-seat F1H2O boat, despite knowing that you're all alone out there, with no-one to share a cockpit with. Powerboat offers many examples of those who have either left their partner to pursue a solo career, or who have been ground down by the loneliness of life racing in a single-seater, seeking instead the warmth and companionship of a racing partner to share those precious racing moments and memories with. For example, take multiple F1H2O world championship-winner Guido Cappellini of Italy... yes, THE Guido Cappellini. We're talking no less than ten world championships, which makes him the most successful F1H2O racer of all time. He was a star on the single circuit, partying it up on podiums all sticky with champagne as the Italian national anthem blared from loudspeakers following every one of his grand prix wins. And yet he grew sick of it all, leaving the F1H2O tour behind to take up a partnership in a cozy DAC Racing Team cockpit alongside his Poliform Spirit of Gabon teammate and throttleman Giampaolo Montavoci. But then, on the other hand, consider Norwegian sensation Marit Stromoy, also an accomplished F1H2O racer, who tried her luck on the Class 1 tour, only to leave after just one grand prix and return to single life in an F1H2O cockpit again, where she was obviously more at home. Of course, there are others who manage both Class 1 and F1H2O duties, like Majed Al Mansoori or Rashed Al Tayer from Abu Dhabi. They are among those lucky few who have managed to balance single life in F1 with a long-lasting and rewarding partnership in Class 1. So, all in all, there is no one correct answer to this question, everyone has a different path to success. Good luck with your choice Eric, whether it be F1 or Class 1, or both.


Dear Powerboat Journalist,

WTF?! In my last email I asked you for advice regarding my 13-year-old child's schooling and whether my taking up a job in another city would be too disruptive to her at this stage in her life, as it would mean she would have to leave behind her friends and the place she's grown up in all her life while having to start again in a new place and adjust to a whole new environment. But instead of addressing that question, you wrote back telling me some shit about how there is no significant difference between the performance of V12s and V8s in Class 1, although the V12's have a higher torque range, even though V8s have superior RPM!!!?? What does that even mean?! - Frustrated Dad, Brisbane, Australia.

Dear Frustrated Dad,

First of all, nice name you've got there. Secondly, what's not to understand? The ampler torque range means those V12s get in and out of turns a couple split seconds quicker than the boats with V8 powerplants, and while that might not seem like much, if you add up how many turns there are per your average ten-lap race with about an average of eight turn buoys per lap, you'll realize why most of the boats out there in Class 1 use V12s, and why they have been significantly more successful than the V8s, especially in the last ten years. Honestly, I don't know why you're making me repeat this when my previous email was quite explicit regarding this crucial aspect of Class 1 engines. I hope we're finally clear on this point!


Dear Powerboat Journalist,

I am an avid Class 1 follower, and I'm especially a big fan of the greatest Class 1 racing duo of all time... I am of course referring to Bjorn Gjelsten of Norway and Steve Curtis of the U.K. They won no less than six world titles together in the Spirit of Norway team. What I want to know is why Steve Curtis is always referred to by you as the "most successful racer of all time" when he won all his world titles alongside Gjelsten, yet has failed to achieve any world titles with other drivers. Should we not then consider the greatest Class 1 racer of all time to be a tie between Steve Curtis and Bjorn Gjelsten? - Anonymous, 60, Oslo, Norway.

Dear Anonymous,

Come on Bjorn, this is obviously you again. You've been sending me the same email every week. Stop it. Also, like I keep having to remind you, Curtis won the 2005 world title with Bard Eker, so that disproves your point that he could only win a world title with you in the driver's seat. If you can't deal with this, then boo-fucking-hoo. By the way, I found a picture of you I thought would be nice to share with readers:


Dear Powerboat Journalist,

What makes you think a powerboat journalist is in any way, shape or form considered capable of answering questions usually reserved only for trained psychologists? - Ahmad, 24, Doha, Qatar.

Dear Ahmad,

If there's one thing I've learned from my years of powerboat journalism, it's that powerboat racing is ALL ABOUT PSYCHOLOGY. That's right, it's all in the mind. Commentating and writing about it? Doubly so. It's a mental game out there, and if you don't have the right mindset, that's the difference between winning and losing. As a powerboat journalist, my job is to get into the mind of the racer. Once you get into the mind of a racer, you think like him, and once you think like him, you can BE him. And let's face it, once you ARE a racer, how hard could it be to get into the mind of, say, a troubled housewife, or a confused teenager? Pfff that would be easy as fuck compared to getting into the mind of an awesome steely-nerved powerboat daredevil. The latter is hurtling over an undulating liquid surface at 200 kilometers an hour risking life and limb... what's a confused teenager or a housewife doing? Worrying about math? Stressing over what dinner to prepare their husband when he gets home? Yeah, that sounds like a challenge!


Dear Powerboat Journalist,

Race boats are very big and heavy. How do they float and not sink? - James, 4, Surrey, U.K.

Dear James,

That's a great question, but I'm a powerboat journalist, not a scientist. I am also not Albert Einstein, nor am I God. So I don't know by what magic a big huge two-ton boat can float around on water. How did Jesus walk on water? We'll never know. I will, however, forward this question on to some kind of water and/or boat expert.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading the world's most popular advice column by a powerboat journalist!

10/10/12