Monday, December 5, 2011

The Philosophy of Sailing

The good ship 'Mariner' with a bone in her teeth - That's sailors talk for 'going fast'.

Last Sunday my good friend David and I raced in the Whangarei Cruising Clubs two handed race. David is a very keen sailor and a very good crew. He rings me up and encourages me to keep our date with the clubs racing programme, whatever the weather.

The weather on Sunday was blustery and rainy, with the rain building over the day to a constant deluge - It was the sort of rain that thinks its having an annual job appraisal and wants to show how efficient it can be by finding its way through every microscopic pore of the very sophisticated well sewn wet weather gear worn by the crew.

We got the worst start out of the fleet. We hit the mud at one point. We were last across the line at the finish. We were out sailed and outclassed by a lot of fast flash Harrys in lighter boats with vast arrays of triple nipple back shackles and titainium impregnated gossamer winged trianglulated sails and foodle rigged bifercated zelda masts (none of which actually exists, I just made it all up, but there you are, a skipper needs a scapegoat when part of his ego has been keel hauled).

......... and all the while, down came the rain which led to an after race lunch of warm beer and sodden sandwiches in wet, cold, (did I mention the rain?) wet weather gear (that's us in the wet weather gear, not the sandwiches) as we made our way back up the harbour to the mooring.

"The thing is about these sorts of days" said David, as he bit into the end of a sodden ham roll that drooped like a banana in his hand, "Is that all this makes you appreciate warm clothes, a nice roaring fire and a dry place to sit." ---- "Yes" I replied, ( making a quick mental note to promote him to ships philosopher) "Indeed" I said ..... and feeling uplifted by the compelling nuance of my crews, to date, unrevealed sage like qualities I replied in my very best Socratic voice, " Some observers have said that owning and sailing a boat is a bit like standing in a very cold shower while tearing up $50 notes."
I said this as all the while looking at the fragments of hard boiled egg that had fallen from my limp sandwich into the scuppers sway fore and aft with the motion of the boat ..... "We must do this again.... soon," I said .........

........ and we will .... its the Sail Rock Race next Saturday ..... we'll be there, we'll pray for sunshine and a warm fair wind, but take whatever old Huey throws at us, on the chin (old Huey is sailors talk for the one who controls the weather) ....... its the contrasts that make it all worth while - just ask David, my good mate and philosopher......

.... and if you do ask him he will tell you something else he said on Sunday ...... he said .... " When I come out here and sail ... no matter what the bloody weathers like, I really know and feel I am f..king alive" ...... I couldn't agree more and in fact I think he should be promoted to Ships Poet as well.


Ben said...

Hi Alden,
The description of the weather is very much like the weather exactly 2 years ago, when we first set food on NZ soil in Auckland. It is a sort of nano rain that by the extreme amounts and smallness of the droplets is penetrating through everything, defying every physical chemistry law. The way you are keeping up spirits resembles ours when we biked in icy rain in the Ardennes in June, when it is supposed to be summer. Maybe I could be a sailor as well, mmm … first have to check for motion sickness!
I am glad that your blog production is going up

Alden Smith said...

Sometimes the feelings of pleasure and achievement are on the day, within the moment, especially in outdoor activities when the weather is great. Sometimes the pleasure is delayed and becomes the sense of achievement from winning over obstacles such as bad weather and physical discomfit. The Sunday sail was definitely the latter.

Yes, my blog production has increased and will continue I hope - and I hope your good self will continue to read it and comment :>)

Evelyn said...

Goed post skipper,
You make it sound almost a cheerful event.
Makes me envious.... not!

Alden Smith said...

Goed is spelt G-O-O-D in English and any more comments like that and I shall ask Hans Brinker to pull his finger out of the dyke and flood your living room.