Thursday, April 17, 2008

Holy Fahrenheit

Dear Fellow Boating Bloggers,

I need your help.

We've had some discussions before about how hard it is to write an interesting post about a pleasant day's sailing. I think Edward from EVK4 Boatname Superblog and Adam from Messing About with Pigs on Sailboats agreed with me. If nothing bad happened during the sail what is there to say?

Last night I wrote a draft post about my first sail in Rhode Island this year. Here it is. Pretty boring, I think you will agree...

Wed Apr 9

January in Cabarete, February in Australia, March in Florida. What a winter! It was special to be able to escape from the wintry north-eastern US to sail in these venues, and I probably did more warm water Laser sailing this year than I've ever done in the winter before.

But now it's time to "enjoy" the sunny days but cool, cool water of Rhode Island in April. My first sail in home waters was Wednesday of last week. I launched out of Colt State park in Bristol and practiced on my own for a while.

Reaction #1. Holy Fahrenheit Batman, this water is cold. Did I really sail in March and April around here in other years? And those hard-core frostbiters in Newport sail all winter.

Reaction #2. Hmmm. After the big ocean swells of Cabarate and Terrigal, and the comparatively flat water of Clearwater Bay, I'd forgotten what Narragansett Bay chop was like. All these speed bumps up wind.

Reaction #3. Where is everybody? I didn't seriously expect to see any other dinghy sailors out on a weekday afternoon but one reason I like to come here for solo practice is that there usually is plenty of other boat traffic around. Recreational fishermen and other boaters. Working fishing boats. It used to give me some sense of comfort that if I got into trouble somebody would probably spot me and provide assistance. But not this day. The only other boat I saw on the bay all afternoon was a commercial fishing boat heading up towards Warren just before the end of my session. And I don't suppose he would have even seen an upturned Laser and a head in the water if it was more than a quarter of a mile away from him.

But I didn't get into trouble. Not this day. Just cruising up and down the bay in the sunshine, stretching out the endurance a little, working out some of the kinks in my technique, enjoying the solitude of a sunny afternoon on the bay.
So please help me with suggestions. How can I sex up a story like this to make it more interesting?

I did try exaggerating how cold the water was to make it sound more exciting. I tried a bit of my usual self-deprecation by talking about what a wimp I am to be complaining about the cold when the frostbiters around here sail all winter. I even tried to introduce a hint of danger with that evocative (but imaginary) image of my little head bobbing in the water as my upturned Laser drifted away from me.

But none of it works does it?

So what to do?

A technical discussion about some esoteric aspect of Lasering technique such as where exactly to put your feet during a tack to avoid getting the sheet in a tangle?

A note about the names of all the other boats I saw? Didn't see any.

A picture of a pig on a boat? Done that already this week.

So help me please. If I don't work out how I'm going to make posts about practice sails more interesting I might have to resort to writing about what I had for dinner or a review about the smell of my clew strap.

Suggestions pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!


Anonymous said...

This is going to sound like a massive cop-out but I am not sure there is. Sometimes the muse catches you and you look at the ordinary in an unusual way. This is when I surprise myself. Other times it's about having the discipline to just write. Many readers just enjoy hearing what you're up to, however mundane it might seem to you. Hence the bizarre success of Twitter

Litoralis said...

How about some photos? I bet you could get a waterproof enclosure for your camera.

EVK4 said...

Ditch everything but Reaction #3 and focus the entire post on "where is everybody?" Make it a treatise on the lameness of the boating public or a rant about rising gas prices or a glowing endorsement of your incredible dedication to the sport of sailing. I'd read any of the above.

EVK4 said...

Can you sail one of those little mini-boats and take pictures at the same time? Do you even have cleats?

EVK4 said...

You could see the blackjack idea what you'll do for 22 but I have some ideas for 23 and 24. Looking forward to that more than anything else on the blog I think.

Tillerman said...

Anyone should be able to catch 22.

23 might fool some people.

24 will be for Tillerwoman.

25 and 26 will be obvious and boring like this post.

27 will be mathematical.

Edward should be able to guess what 28 will be.

Haven't decided on 29 yet...

Christy ~ Central Air said...

I love ya just the way you are, TM, but I will second Litoralis' suggestion of having accompanying photos. It also might be interesting to read an account of a day of "cruising" on your Laser, where you take along a crew member and have a relaxed little picnic out on the water or something.

Tillerman said...

Photos? Take along a crew member? Relaxed little picnic out on the water?

These are all things that don't naturally spring to mind when I think of sailing a Laser in 15 knots in 40 degree water. But maybe I'm missing an opportunity.

EVK4 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EVK4 said...

I'll try this again.

A lot of people can fit onto a Laser.

Derek said...

Here is an extension of the suggestion Litoralis made.

You should get one of those mast and stern mounted cameras like they have in Rulo's and the Rooster laser videos. I bet it would even make the practice sessions more productive and useful for you. The comments and analysis you receive from third parties could also provide excellent feedback.

EVK4 said...

I have another one to make your sailing blog more interesting. Make stuff up.

Come up with something like a rival Force 5 gang is trying to move in on your Laser territory. You're forced to defend you windward mark with winch handles and bungee cords.

It could end up with an epic battle where you split their line using Nelson's Trafalgar tactics!!!

Tony said...

I'd prefer the esoteric discussion about the minutiae of Laser technique. But somehow, I think I'm in the minority. Oh well.

tillerman said...

Thanks for all the great suggestions guys.

Special thanks to Edward for reminding me that a secret of success in writing a good blog post is to focus on one aspect of the day's sail such as "where is everybody?" He's a master at this art and his comment reminded me that I had drifted away from this style of writing lately.

I like Tony's suggestion too. I don't see any reason why posts about the minutiae of Laser technique can't be written in a way to be of interest to a wider audience.

Next two posts will follow up on these ideas. As for photos, picnics, videos, fictional fights with Force 5 sailors... maybe later.

EVK4 said...

The fights with the Force 5ers don't have to be fictional. Joe and I could get the old gang back together and take a road trip out to RI. Apparently you don't have a lot of comrades out there to back you up. It will be an easy win in the perpetual F5 v. Laser war.

Tillerman said...

Bring it on.

Pat said...

Carol Anne recently met a Force 5 sailor, who was peddling meat and noticed the most of more than Laser that Gerald has sitting in our front lawn.

Marie said...

How can you spruce it up you ask? How about some real life adventures... check it out with a rad book about sailing stories.... This has got it all and MORE! Don't be left in the water!

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