10 years ago, in February of 2006, I posted this picture of my granddaughter Emily, who was then a couple of months old.
I was obviously very thrilled at being a new grandfather. In that month I posted an imaginary conversation about Laser sailing with her, Hiking, and also a story about how I learned to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for her on an Octopus.
Well Emily didn't turn out to be a Laser sailor, at least not yet. But I have taken her sailing on my Laser a couple of times, the first time being this occasion in 2012.
But her real passion these days is dancing. She goes to dancing lessons several times a week and competes in competitions sometimes too. Even at home it seems like she is always practicing her "moves."
I used to promise my readers that I would teach them how to "cheat the nursing home - die on your Laser." Lord Damian, who writes the Final Beat, has a much more challenging aim for his blog, promising that it will help dinghy sailors "Sail Faster, Quicker."
who apparently would improve his sailing quicker than me
And if that's not enough there are interviews with top sailors about my feet and even a post by Lord Damian's Auntie Gill on confessions of a failed OppieMum. Brilliant!
There's no doubt about it. The Final Beat is the best sailing blog on the planet about pulling on your elastic and fondling your balls. And Auntie Gill is pretty cool too.
2. Second on my list of top sailing blogs in the Year of the Goat is Improper Course.
What's not to like about a title like that? Someone once asked me which came first, Proper Course or Improper Course. Well that's a great question. Do you have to be improper before you can be proper? Which came first, Yin or Yang?
There's even a video about proper and improper fractions on Improper Course
You don't find that on many sailing blogs
Anyway, Improper Course is written by a guy called Doug who is a seriously good Laser sailor and by his wife /Pam, so the blog is full of a lot of seriously good advice about Laser sailing from Doug and a lot of entertaining stuff by /Pam about Laser class politics and Valentine's Day. I love the variety of Improper Course. All human life is here. From a photo quiz about a stick in Korea to a fascinating post about offshore leaks. Improper Course is by far my favorite blog about sticks in Korea and offshore leaks written by a lady with a "/" in her name.
He went to the RS300 Inlands in 2014 and had a good time because he discovered that the RS300 sailors were "at least as friendly and certainly as alcoholic" as his old mates in the OK class, he achieved his goal of respectfully finishing behind most of them, and he "probably felt less ill than Steve Bolland on Sunday morning."
By April of 2015, Chris had advanced to training to look more glamorous which seemed to consist mainly of trying not to look like "an elderly driver heading the wrong way up a motorway or an old lady at a supermarket checkout suddenly confronted with a request from the cashier to pay for the shopping." He also discovered that he needed to "apply more sex wax to the boat - or the boots."
looking like an elderly driver heading the wrong way up a motorway
Chris is obviously moving up fast in the RS300 class because by October he was asked to write a report for Yachts and Yachting magazine about the RS300 Inlands. He refused and instead wrote a not an event report full of such stuff as insults about the "elderly, tubby, humourless jerks" in the Phantom fleet, complaints about the breakfast at the Bed and Breakfast where he stayed, and musings on what to do when you meet ten Facebook friends whom you don't recognize at a regatta.
This is definitely the best blog in the galaxy about tubby Phantom sailors, feeling less ill than Steve Bolland, and sex wax (whatever that is.)
5. And last, but not least, we have Take the Tiller by Deborah. Now Deborah doesn't sail some new-fangled plastic boat like an RS Aero or an RS300; she sails a Herreshoff Twelve, a design which has been sailed at her club for 100 years - and of course it's made of that stuff called "wood."
But we won't hold that against her because sailing is sailing and racing is racing, and Deborah has written many excellent posts about how to do better in sailboat races, and god knows I need every bit of help I can find in that department.