I suspect that almost everyone in the world interested in sailing has by now seen the video of Ham-It-Up! Capri 25 Sailing Round Down, an absolutely hilarious film of a crew at the Capri 25 2006 Nationals demonstrating a broach, an unintentional gybe, a man (actually woman) overboard, and all sorts of other good clean mayhem and total incompetence.
It was featured on Sailing Anarchy and picked up by various sailing blogs. Of course the know-it-all armchair sailors on the Sailing Anarchy Forum were all over it, ranting about the numerous mistakes made by this crew, insulting their intelligence, and making various derogatory comments about the physical attributes of certain crew members. (Since when was there a rule that said that people with over-developed buttocks can't go sailing?)
One has to wonder about the motivation of Mr Hammett in making this video available to the world. Is he proud that his team survived these events with nothing worse than wounded pride? Or is it some twisted form of self-deprecating humor (an art form that is occasionally attempted by the writer of this blog)?
Personally I like to think that the video is a celebration of G.K.Chesterton's famous paradox: If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly. Most of us that love sailing know what that means. I know that I am not immune from making a few mistakes every time I set foot on a boat. I know I sail badly (or at least far from perfectly) but I still think it's worth doing.
And some of us are not afraid to tell the world about our botched up sailing attempts. Two of my favorite sailing bloggers, Carol Anne at Five O'Clock Somewhere and Edward at EVK4 Bloglet, write blogs that are so fascinating partly because they do not shy away from sharing with us their bad sailing experiences as well as their good days. Bravo to both of you. (But I'd love to see the videos too!)
But what about you? Would you go sailing today if your own inexperience, or unfamiliarity with the boat, or crew shortcomings, or weather conditions mean that you are probably likely to sail less than perfectly? Do you challenge yourself to try new things in sailing, knowing that at least initially you will be making plenty of mistakes?
In other words... is sailing so worth doing that it's worth doing badly?