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

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Severely Short-Handed

A perfectly warm, wall-to-wall steady 15-plus knots. And I have 60% of my hard core crew missing. Thank God, Surfer Dude showed up with his dad. And LS. And ex-Mainsheet Trimmer. But I knew they wouldn't be enough. The trouble was, a perfect breeze showed up and promised to be wasted.

WTF was I supposed to do to save the day?

Well, impatience was the first impulse: Rushing around to prepare the boat, taking care of all the details that regular crew see to. In a hurry to turn to wind & hoist in the harbor, I barely missed crashing into an end-tie. Severely shaken, I passively elected to follow the Beneteau across the start line. Curb my impatience by letting him run interference was my rationale. Learning: that guy is too conservative. If you're not on his bow, you're not in the race.

Thereafter, it was passivity at mark roundings. I took discussion of a spinnaker off the table.

At the tailend of a parade around the leeward mark, I tacked off to get some clear air just to see what Das Boot could do for itself, mano a mano, unencumbered by her deficit in crew. After a decent interval, I tacked back on to port for an enjoyable beat, finally, without having to look at sterns that shouldn't even be in my water. I relaxed into my own personal zone of wind, water, hull and sails. Suddenly, Trophy Wife was shouting at me. Some asshole had also broken off and tacked on to starboard. WTF was he doing this far off his "proper" & rational course? What point was he trying to prove? We avoided a T-bone collision with a slam-dunk tack, nailing this idiot in a classic lee-bow position. Later on, I tried to provoke a J-24 into a tacking duel at the end.

Left the docks & harbor in a complete rage: how can such a perfect windy day be allowed to pass so horribly wasted?


  1. Every owner wants a crew with the dedication and discipline of the USA national soccer team. But it ain't going to happen.

    1. Just give me my Jozy Altidore & Landon Donovan and I can win a frigging race. Is that too much to ask?

    2. Day in and day out I used to ask myself why did I ever retain a boat too large for me to do everything I could do when I bought her as a much younger man. I hated being dependant on others to go sailing. Assembling, training, and maintaining a regular crew was like herding cats. They won't commit to the program. They feel free to bring their friends. They feel free to take vacations. They feel free to call in sick. But not me. I arrange my schedule around race schedules. I can't get sick. I'm the only one in this committed relationship. In the end, I arrived at the point to where I said if I can't get three of you together, I won't sail. I'll sell. And I sold.

    3. There's only one way to have a crew with the dedication and discipline of the USA national soccer team - sail a Laser.

    4. I was waiting for that shoe to drop!

    5. Didn't want to disappoint you Doc!

    6. Even without watching these, I know that my Laser stage of life has passed, too.

  2. A top skipper in another class is quoted in local newspaper as:

    "We always sail to win. We take it seriously and competitively, but I think sailing is one of those sports where you plan on doing it for a lifetime and the learning opportunities are limitless. We expect that if we are smart, self-critical, make good decisions and continue to learn, then the results will take care of themselves."

  3. Wait! Two near crashes the same day? Maybe the skipper has reached burnout!