Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

It's All About A Glass Of Water

You wanna see something funny? Scroll down.


This is me about to prove my undying love for my husband by crewing for him in today's race since Small Boy has completely piked out. Do you like my life jacket? That was before Himself realised it was still on the tightest setting as determined by Small Boy. I was relieved when he found a buckle on the back to 'let out' otherwise I may have passed out before we even got into the water.

The morning forecasts were for fresh breezes, 13-15 knots.
"Hmm, that might be a bit lively for a first time out," Himself mused.
Cheerfully, I put away my Volley sandshoes. (You know that only three types of people wear Volleys don't you? Sailors, roof tilers and tennis players and I suspect tennis players have moved on.)

Later that morning, thinking I had dodged a bullet, I was quietly procrastinating with the Rubik's cube. There are levels of procrastination you know. The Rubik's cube is pretty high order time wasting! Himself peered out the window and hurrumphed that it was a 'perfect day' for sailing. "Would sailing be a good form of procrastination?" he enquired, obviously deciding the wind would not be as forceful as it had been forecast. Suddenly, writing an accountability report was starting to look good. But I am nothing if not a woman of my word and so I attired myself (as seen above) and prepared myself for the ordeal.

A word on the attire of sailing. Now, I am sure there are tall, tanned, athletic, blonde haired, great looking girls who look stunning in sailing gear. I am equally sure that most of us look RIDICULOUS!!!!! For a fair skinned, delicate flower like myself whose chief allure lies in make-up and a good hair dryer, sailing and its attendant practical wear is anathema.

By the time we got down to the beach, the wind was up. And I mean up. All the seasoned sailors viewed me with guffaws of delight and disbelief as they realised what I was about to undertake. First there were the comments re couples sailing together: 'on-site divorce lawyers', draw a line in texta through the middle of the boat, learn to say Yes Sir!!!. But then they moved on to the more serious issue: 'how many times have you sailed before?', 'do you know how strong the wind is going to be?', 'are you sure you know what you're doing?'

This photo was NOT taken yesterday. Note the relatively calm seas! I was too busy worrying about a number of things to be taking photos.

So, how did it go? Well, I have never spent a longer 2 and a half hours in my life.
I dunno....as we were going round the course I thought to myself, 'childbirth or sailing?, childbirth or sailing?' I still haven't decided which was worse. Both seemed endless and after each one my first words were, 'I'm never doing that again!'

"Did the size of the waves freak you out?" asked the concerned onlookers as I stood on the beach shivering violently with the trauma of it all.
"No, the ROPES freaked me out!!!!!"

The main problem, apart from me having NO idea of what I was supposed to be doing; being totally unaware of anything other than the boat I was in and the water directly in front of me; and hyperventilating constantly; was that I was technically blind. Unwilling to risk my expensive vari-focal glasses, I set sail with nothing but Himself's sunnies. The combination of the darker tint, my lack of optical focus and a frequent face full of salt water meant that when Himself screamed at me to 'let off the purple and black rope', I screamed back at him,"THEY'RE ALL BLACK!!!!!!!!!!' (This was not strictly true as there was a red one and a yellow one which I could see, but they didn't need adjusting! Well, not yesterday they didn't anyway. )

I managed to stuff up every tack by either: failing to let the jib off, failing to pull the jib on fast enough, failing to rotate the mast, hitting my head on the boom, slipping and falling down the face of the boat as we heeled to 20 degrees off vertical, forgetting to let off the barberhauler (I know..I know...WTF is a barberhauler????) or .....no, maybe that's just about it....

The best part of the day came when we finished. The finishing line was out to sea and afterwards we still had to tack (Oh God NO, Not again!!!) and sail back to the beach. But my ordeal was not over. Our boat has a fixed rudder and our beach has a sand bar which means to get back over the sandbar without ripping your rudder off, you have to put the boat up on quite an angle (higher than this at right). At this point the centreboard, or balancing point of the boat has also been raised to prevent the same ripping off scenario and so the boat becomes very unstable. About 10m from the beach, with me too tired to do anything to help, we lost it and put her over. Now in theory this is not a huge drama; I am supposed to swim to the front of the boat, hold the hose and form a kind of human anchor, the boat will turn herself around into the wind (or something...don't ask me) and Himself then hops onto the protruding centreboard and levers her back into upright position. Theoretically.

The first problem was that I went in next to the mast and sail and got myself tangled in all the ropes (see what I mean about ropes?????). I began to swim over the sail towards the front of the boat and heard Himself shouting from behind the boat. Thinking I was making matters worse by going over the sail I reversed and went around to the back of the boat and swam up next to Himself who was not at ALL impressed by my logic. "Get to the front and GRAB THE NOSE," he bellowed, somewhat unreasonably I thought until I swam past him and suddenly realised I had nothing to hang on to and was being swept further and further away from the boat. I swam harder. I kicked harder. I called out to Himself in distress as he shrieked something undistinguishable at me. Eventually I stopped swimming and just shouted 'Help, help' at the top of my lungs. With incredible relief I saw two friends streaking along the beach to help us. With tears in my eyes I rolled onto my back sobbing with exertion as Himself's furious screaming started to take shape in my brain.


We were in waist deep water.

He's still speaking to me. Just. My damaged physical state has rendered it inadvisable to scold.

That's 'boat burn' a combination of grazes and sunburn where my constant resting on my knees wore off my sunscreen. I have spared you the two multi coloured bruises on either side of my upper thigh where I rested against the side stay track... (metal and sharp!)

So will I ever do it again? I don't know. Like childbirth, the memory fades so quickly. When he asked me why I didn't enjoy it all I could think of was a recent email describing stress. Holding a glass of water in the air is easy for a minute; but try doing it for two and half hours. That's what sailing was like for me.

Oh. And we came third. Out of seven!


Laine Moore said...

wow! great story and congrats! (on still being alive) I had no idea that sailing was so... involved and dangerous!

Amy Jo said...

You are a good and brave woman. You couldn't have paid me to get on that boat.

carrie said...

i'm laughing WITH you...certainly not AT you. (or i'll be laughing with you when the sailing amnesia kicks in and you re-read this tale!)

congrats on third though! and no divorce!!

Colleen said...

Wow!!! That photos does make you look quite ready to sail.

You brought back some memories for me. When I was in college I went white water rafting with my then boyfriend. My legs looked VERY much like that by the end of our trip. On top of rubbing on the boat... I had a cooler pressed up on my leg. I thought the scrapes, burns, and bruises would never go away.

Congrats on 3rd!

Andi said...

Oh my! What an eventful day. I was rather concerned, and feeling so sympathetic...up until the comment Himself yelled at you...then I busted out laughing.(sorry) Oh my goodness. What a day! 3rd place? I think you did amazingly well!

Kyla said...

Oh my goodness! You poor brave soul! I couldn't help but laugh . . . although hubby and I know nothing about sailing (thank the LORD!), this sounds like some of the things I go through on a daily basis. Love how you recorded this story and congrats on the third place! WHOOHOO!

Maggie said...

I knew there was a good reason that I lived in a land locked area...I'm pretty sure it's because 1) I could never pull off that outfit quite like you and 2) seeing your ouchy legs makes me hurt!

You are a better woman than I for sure!

Arizaphale said...

Maggie: You think I pull off that outfit????????? hahahahahahahaha

Elisa said...

Oh dear - where to begin?

Like Andi I was feeling great angst at your tale of being swept away - even though you
obviously didn't get too far because you'd posted since then - anyway - I digress. I was with Andi in feeling very anxious about your plight....but likewise almost fell off the chair when I read what Himself was calling out to you. You must know how grand of a tale this is!!!

The legs: ouch. ouch. ouch.

This whole episode is indeed TRUE LOVE!!!

Congrats on 3rd and we are all waiting on pins and needles to see if you forget enough of this adventure to try it again! :)

natalie said...

I love you, dear friend. Your sailing escapade sounds wildly similar to my attempts at helping H build anything. It always results in tears (me) and anger (H) and frustration (H). Yet, every time he asks me to help, I agree, thinking that maybe this time I will prove my competence as a wife. HA!

I am proud of you for third...and that your marriage is still in tact! I'm sorry about your poor legs. I hope they are healing nicely!

Arizaphale said...

Knee update. The chemist told me off today because the grazes are all infected and weepy :-( She says I should have had them covered up. Oh well, they are now. Very attractive I look too with massive gauze pads across my legs!

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

WOW!!!!! When I first started reading I was thinking "Sailing clothing aside, that sounds like a way more fun way to prove undying love than photographing run over squirrels!!!!" But then again, I wear contact lenses. And plus, by the time I finished it didn't sound like even half as much fun as taking pictures of dead squirrels. Congrats though! Both on surviving and the third place!