Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Trouble with New England

The trouble with New England is that it has six states.

And six is just the right (or wrong) number to motivate obsessive compulsive types who like to create artificial challenges for themselves or others. Things like climbing to the highest point in all six states on the same weekend, or skiing in all six states in the same month, or spending a year researching your favorite beer in each of the the six states.

I think I like the sound of that last one the best.

Where was I? Where am I? Oh yes, artificial challenges.

The Rhode Island Runners Club likes those. One of their annual awards, the New England Cup, is for any member who completes a race in all six New England states during the year.

And if you happened to be a member of that club you might get attracted to that challenge.

But if you were one of those aforementioned obsessive compulsive types who likes to create artificial challenges for yourself, you might like to make it a little harder and try and do something nutty like run a half marathon (not just any old race like a 5k or 10k) in each New England state during the year.

God knows there are enough half marathons around these days. Here (as just a hypothetical example you understand) is one way you could run a half marathon in each New England state in 2014.

  • April 13 - Moose on the Loose Half Marathon - Nashua, NH
  • May 11 - Swamp Meadow Covered Bridge Half Marathon - Foster, RI
  • June 8 - Lime Rock Park Half Marathon - Lakeville, CT
  • July 6 - Mad Half Marathon, Mad River Valley, VT
  • Sep 7 - Freeport Half Marathon - Freeport, ME
  • Oct 19 - Fall River Half Marathon - Fall River, MA

Doesn't that look easy? Nicely spaced about a month apart. Missing out August because it's hot and that's a good time to go to the beach or go sailing.

Wait. Did he say "sailing"?

What if our hypothetical obsessive-compulsive runner were also a sailor? A Laser sailor, say. Would he also get the strange idea that it would be fun to sail his Laser in a regatta in every New England state in the same year?

God knows there are enough Laser regattas around these days. Here (as just a hypothetical example you understand) is one way you could sail a Laser in a regatta in each New England state in 2014.

  • May 17 - Connecticut River Dinghy Distance Race, CT
  • May 31 - New Hampshire Seacoast Regatta - Dover, NH
  • June 21/22 - John Bentley Regatta, New Bedford YC - South Dartmouth, MA
  • June 29 - Maine State Championship Series #2 -  Portland, ME
  • July 12/13 - Newport Regatta, RI
  • August 16/17 - Chiott Vermont Laser Open - Colchester, VT

Doesn't that look easy? Nicely spaced through the summer. And, purely by coincidence, none of the regattas are on the same weekend as any of the half marathons on the first list.

And the beauty of (or the trouble with) New England is that there are so many half marathons and Laser regattas in a year that even if our hypothetical running sailor didn't complete one of these events because his grandchildren came to visit him one weekend or it was rainy or cold or too windy or not windy enough one weekend (the wimp)…. then he could always substitute another race or regatta later in the year. Or even do a few more running races or regattas not on the above list just for the hell of it (the wild thing.)

Of course, if he had any sense, our hypothetical obsessive compulsive running sailor wouldn't tell anyone that he was thinking of doing any of the above. Still less would he admit that he had set himself anything weird like a "goal" to do any of the above.

That would be totally bizarre.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Where am I?

Where am I?

What used to be here?

What are some people hoping it will be in future?

Clue #1: Harbor.

Clue #2: The thing that used to be here didn't move very far.

Clue #3: Ten foot.

Clue #4: When is a harbor not a harbor even when it's new?

Clue #5: Why is there a fox in the woods even though there are no woods?

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Internet Dating

Apparently 20% of relationships these days begin online.

I'm not surprised. The Internet is embedded in almost every aspect of our lives these days.

But I'm an old-fashioned guy. I met my current love the old-fashioned way. In the real world. It may not have quite been love at first sight. But it was close. At least for me.

We've been together now for over 30 years. We have been through so much together. Moved to a new country. Traveled the world. Grown old together.

She is even better than when I first met her, but for some reason I feel the need for change. Maybe it's a (late) middle-aged crisis but I'm ready for new experiences.

So I went looking for love online.

And a few weeks ago I think I found it.

Wow. I couldn't believe it when I first saw her details on this website I found. Similar in some ways to my current love but not so heavy and way better looking. Very sexy. There were these fantastic pictures. And video. I was blown away.

The way these dating sites work these days is amazing. You can even read reviews from other people who have already dated your prospective partner. Here is what one of those guys said about her…

She is uncomplicated yet sophisticated, she doesn't take forever to get ready, she goes like a train, she has no vices or annoyances, she is an LMB (Low maintenance Bird) as opposed to an HMB, she won't bite you in the arse or take advantage of you when you make a mistake, she will be easy to live with yet rewarding in the long term. She will make you smile.... every time!

Wow. What a recommendation!

She's from England. Like me. I just know we are going to hit it off.

She is planning to come to America this summer.

So last week I took the plunge and made the commitment. She will come to see me this summer and she has already agreed that if I like her, she will come and move into my place around this time next year.

Yes. I really did it. I bought a boat on the Internet. I put down a deposit on an RS Aero.

What did you think I was talking about?

Monday, April 07, 2014

Pretty Gee Destroyed by Fire

My few remaining readers from 2006 may remember that one of the sailing blogs I used to follow way back then was Adrift at Sea, the story of a guy called Dan Kim and his brand new Telstar trimaran which he named Pretty Gee after his deceased wife.

Adrift at Sea was in fact one of the ten blogs in my Boating Blog Roundup which I posted at the end of March 2006.  I wrote about Dan's accounts of how he was fitting out Pretty Gee and all the voyages he was planning -- all over New England, to the Chesapeake, and to Key West.

That same month March 2006 Dan posted a picture of his trimaran on a day when he went to visit her while she was still being built.

I followed Dan's blog for several years but then the emphasis of the blog changed away from sailing and more to his personal life and feelings, so I haven't been following it lately.

Imagine my shock when I heard a couple of days ago that Pretty Gee was destroyed by fire at the Moby Dick Marina in Fairhaven, MA on March 13 this year. Apparently Dan had been working on the boat and had been using a propane heater while doing so. He left the boat to go to lunch and, while at lunch, he received a call from the Fairhaven Fire Department to say that his boat had burned.

There are accounts of the fire on this forum,  and (with some inaccuracies) on South Coast Today here and here.

Such a sad loss. It was obvious from Dan's blog that he poured so much love and care and effort into his boat, and that he enjoyed so much sharing his sailing experiences with his friends. I hope he finds some way to replace her and is able to get back on the water again soon.

Here is a video from happier days of Dan and some of his friends sailing on Pretty Gee.


Sunday, April 06, 2014

Mud Run and Crazy Train

We are babysitting our three eldest grandchildren this glorious early Spring weekend in Massachusetts, because their parents and the baby went off on a trip to Florida where they are sweltering in the tropical heat and humidity somewhere in a hell-hole of a concrete jungle in alligator country. Some kind of "perk" she scored through her blogging activity. I feel sorry for them, poor bastards.

Anyway, always the good old fun-loving grandparents, we decided to take the three kids on Saturday afternoon to a local playground - the North Attleborough World War 1 Memorial Park aka "the one with the big slide."

Unfortunately it was closed, because the whole park had been taken over for a "mud run challenge." Apparently more than 1100 runners were going to be amusing themselves on a 5k mud run obstacle course, with "25-plus obstacles, including monkey bars, walls of different heights, a sandbag carry and rope climbs."

I had heard of these mud runs before.  After taking the kids to a different playground, when we got home I googled about this and other mud runs. Here are a few sample images that I found….

Doesn't that look like fun?

When my daughter-in-law called in the evening to check on her precious kids I told her all about the mud run. Since giving birth to her fourth child a few months back she has started running again and is now in amazing shape. She has been talking about doing a 5k race so I suggested that we should do this N. Attleborough mud run together next year.

Surprisingly, she didn't sound very enthusiastic.

In fact it sounded as if she thought I was crazy.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Captain Andrew

Grandson Andrew.

Coming up to 6 months old.

I think he's ready to go sailing.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Another Ridiculously Easy Photo Quiz

Hello sailor!

Well, this man appears to be sailing, except that wheel looks to be at rather an odd angle, doesn't it?

Who can it be?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Stephen Hawking - Sailor and Rower

Congratulations to LaurenceFL for correctly deducing the answer to yesterday's photo quiz. The young boy sailing on the Norfolk Broads in England was indeed Stephen Hawking.

Did you know that Hawking was also a rower? Or to be more accurate, while an undergraduate at Oxford he did join the Boat Club as a cox. Check out The Clever Cox on Hear The Boat Sing. Would you have found it easier to guess the mystery man from this picture?

The pictures of Stephen Hawking sailing and rowing both appear in his 2013 autobiography My Brief History which I have recently been reading and from which I learned that the first symptoms of Stephen's motor neuron disease didn't appear until his final year at Oxford. He noticed that he was getting clumsy and, after falling downstairs on one occasion, he went to a doctor who advised him to "Lay off the beer!"

Here is a video of the memorable scene from Star Trek: The Next Generation in which Hawking appeared as himself playing poker with Newton, Einstein and Lieutenant Commander Data.

I was planning to use the punch line of this scene, "Wrong again, Albert!" as a clue, but then LaurenceFL worked it out before I had a chance.