Liberty is being free from the things we don't like in order to be slaves of the things we do like.--Ernest Benn

Monday, June 7, 2010

Not a Schadenfreude Moment!.

Actually, I feel empathy.

I do not take pleasure in the grief of others as a general principle. All of us who take our recreation on or in our local waters share a kinship, brotherhood, or sisterhood. I even include some fishermen in this community. (That's a subject for a future post!) Each of us would willing come to another's assistance.

That said, when Trophy Wife shared the following story from the local press this morning, I confess a Schadenfreude nerve was touched and sent twitch through my body. It passed, but I still have to make a comment.

First, the story:

Poor visibility may have contributed to a 37-foot sailboat running aground late Sunday evening on the beach ... in the vicinity of an automated U.S. Coast Guard lighthouse, according to authorities.

The two crew members on board, both men, were not hurt, according to a City Fire Department firefighter at the scene.

The two men, who were adamant that they not be identified, told the firefighter that this was the vessel's first landfall since leaving Hawaii four weeks ago.

Reports of a distressed vessel ... were first reported about 9 p.m. on police scanner frequencies. During a 90-minute period, personnel from city fire, City Harbor Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard were monitoring the situation and attempting to locate the vessel and assessing crew members for any potential injuries, tasks which were made difficult due to dark and foggy conditions.

Harbor Patrol officials at the scene had no reports of damage sustained by the vessel, which was resting slightly on its side. The name of the sailboat was also not visible.
Right off the top I have to say there's got to be more to this story. I won't go there, because the list of technical details is potentially endless. But as it is, this story provides me grist for what I say (all too often) whenever my lips are lubricated with Coronas.

These two guys are cruisers. Their boat looks like an out-and-out cruiser. To have come all the way from Hawaii, they have got to be accomplished cruisers. Anything I say can't take anything from them.

Cruisers deserve their dais at the top of the food chain of recreational sailors. Sailors who race are a close second. Especially, the racing I have done, all of which is in the sight of land. Not that I haven't done a little Island cruising. What little cruising I have done has taught me a firm axiom.

You cruisers out there have to be perfect while us racers just have to be good enough.

Cruisers are on their own resources. They have to be able to plan courses and fix things that break. I can't do that. Racers just have to follow sailing instructions and finish the course delineated for them by a race committee, before turning on their auxiliary. (That last is also a major difference.) I can do that.

But I don't mind finding my station in life somewhere inconspicuously located in the second echelon, so long as it is above motor boaters and fishermen. I don't mind that at all - not so long as I can keep my boat off the local beaches and its name (and mine) out of the local papers.

That there's the rub.


  1. Some people would say that to safely navigate one's route from the Hawaiian Islands to the mainland in strong winds, only to miss the harbor entrance in the dark and foggy night, ending up with the boat resting on its side "aground", was not too shabby an accomplishment.

  2. The 'technical problem'? That's obvious: there were no women aboard!