Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Monday, 15 February 2010

DNF: The Next Sailing Installment

Here is a picture of the correct way to 'right' a capsized dinghy with the assistance of a rescue craft.

Obviously you climb onto the hull, grab the centreboard and attach a rope, then, with a bit of 'oomph' from the outboard motor, haul the boat into an upright position. Simple. Except that it is definitely. not. that. simple.

Now, you remember that Himself has a new boat? And that there is still the issue of crew? You can hear this coming can't you? Yes, Saturday saw me donning my attractive sailing attire and heading out to Brighton for another bite at the sailing cherry. What was I thinking?

I am not a sailor. I think we have established this. I am not a sailor's small, left toe. The most sailory thing I have ever done successfully in my life was singing 'All the Nice Girls Love a Sailor' whilst tap dancing and brandishing a mop. I do not understand wind. I have no concept of the difference between 'on' the wind and 'off' the wind. I thought a sheet was something you put on a bed. I have only recently started remembering that port means left (thanks to the husband of my dear friend Prof J, who taught me that there was 'a little red, port LEFT'...very clever!). When Himself asks me to 'get the telltales flying' or to 'let the sidestays go'.......he might as well be speaking French. I don't think I am a natural.

But, I am a loving wife and I know how much it means to Himself to get out there on a beautiful February day with a moderate 8-10 knot seabreeze and a new boat. I know he needs to see what it can do, to discover it's pecadillos, to test his skills against the equipment and the elements. And so I went.

The weird thing is, I kind of 'get it'. I mean, I don't get sailing per se; but I do get the passion for pitting yourself against the elements. Those of you who know me in real life know that skiing was my passion. These days, my move back to sunny SA has meant that the costs of travelling to the Australian snowfields are prohibitive and so it is 15 years since I last skiied in real snow, with the icy wind in my face and my knees groaning in protest at the rapid procession of moguls slipping beneath my skis. The sense of achievement you get as you finish the 'black run', exhausted, legs like jelly, face blotchy from the cold; I get all that. And my first taste of yacht racing hasn't left me.

After the infamous December 19th experience, I was not able to put the memory of the race out of my head. Like the childbirth I so flippantly compared it to, it haunted me. I thought of things I could have done better. I thought of ways I could have made it easier. I thought of doing it again. The pain, the fear, the exhaustion were forgotten and the thrill of finishing and surviving remained. I felt I needed to give it another go.

But it's getting late and it's school tomorrow. I'm going to leave you with a few shots of the process of 'righting the boat' so that when I tell you all about it tomorrow you'll have some concept of what I'm talking about.............

Step 1: climb onto the centreboard.
Step2: Apply pressure to the centreboard with your weight.
Step 3: The boat will slowly but surely right itself.

Image credits
righting the boat


natalie said...

Does all that water IN the boat cause any damage?

I grew up on the Atlantic Ocean and have never, NOT ONE TIME, been in a boat. Isn't that sad?

Wait. Let me clarify. I've been on three dolphin tours and one whale watching expedition. But not a fishing boat or a sailing boat or a recreational boat.

Arizaphale said...

Al that water in the boat does have an effect. I mean, the boats are designed to be tough as they are often capsised so the hull is ok, but everything IN the boat gets messed up. Sails get wrapped around the stays(wires), ropes get tangled and come out of pulleys....it is NOT cool!
Your tours and expeditions count as 'boats' surely? Getting in one of these little ones takes a certain sort of crazy!!!!!!

HipMomma said...

I understand the passion cuz that's how I am with tennis. I'll play in any condition. But I can't understand it with water sports. For me, if I'm wet the game is over.

A Free Man said...

So you're saying that you broke his new boat?

Maggie said...

I'm with hipmomma -- I'm not sure I could be that excited about a sport that gets you all wet...

I'm such a wuss!

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

I...I...I still don't understand. I mean, I LOVE skiing. Spring skiing, when the snow is going to melt soon enough and you barely need your hat. I'd love it even better if you didn't have to carry all that stuff up to the ski area and walk around in the big, clunky boots. And I like to ride the ferry. I LOVE seeing water. But the whole up against the elements thing escapes me. I already know the force of nature is stronger than I am. There's just no question in my mind about that. I'm glad you had it in you though. I sure hope Himself has great appreciation for your wherewithal or gumption or undying love for him or whatever it is that is driving you forward!