The choice of a J/30 sail insignia as my "days sailed counter" in the sidebar yesterday reminds me that I meant to tell you the story about my being invited to be a tactician on a J/30 in the class's 2008 North American Championship. Or maybe it wasn't tactician. Maybe it was strategeriser. Is there a difference?
Regular readers of this blog (all three of you) will know that I am about as well qualified for such a role as I am for being John McCain's choice for vice-president, or the US representative in the marathon at the Beijing Olympics. I mean when I look at the picture above the questions that occur to me are...
- Is that a J/30? I stole it off the website for their NAs but I've no idea if it really is one.
- What are all those people doing? How can it take so many folk to drive one little boat? Don't they get in each other's way?
- Which one is the tactician? Is it the guy in the snazzy red dungarees bending over? Or the guy in the tasteful yellow pants apparently clapping his hands behind his back? And what is all that about anyway?
- Why are there three holes in the back of the boat? Won't it leak?
Anyway this is how it happened. Back in February, my wife and I were having dinner in Sydney with a fellow US Laser Master sailor and his wife prior to the Laser Masters Worlds in Terrigal. The conversation rambled around various topics as the wine flowed and vast quantities of seafood were consumed. It turned out that my dining companion has a half-share in a J/30 and is planning to do the NAs in Rhode Island this September. I asked polite questions about J/30 sailing trying to sound interested while not displaying my total ignorance of the subject. My friend then had what I can only describe as a brainfart. I think his logic went something like this.
- We need a tactician, someone with local knowledge of winds and currents in Narragansett Bay.
- Tillerman lives in Rhode Island and may have sailed on some parts of Narragansett Bay.
- Ergo Tillerman would make a great J/30 tactician.
The invitation was proffered. I humbly explained my total lack of qualifications for the role, not least that I know nothing about sailing a boat with more than one sail, I know even less than nothing about Narragansett Bay winds and tides, and moreover I don't play well with others. There's no me in team.
I wasn't sure how serious the invitation was. After all, this was the same guy whom I was with at one of the "social" evenings at the Laser Masters Worlds in Spain last year when we both bullied various New Zealand sailors into agreeing to host us for a pre-Australia-Worlds Laser training campaign in Kiwi-Land. Nothing came of it, not least I suspect because when I sobered up next morning I couldn't even remember which New Zealanders we had been talking to.
Anyway the topic was not raised again in Terrigal so I assume he also sobered up after our Sydney dinner and made other plans. But perhaps I am missing something? Maybe I should get some big (well bigger) boat experience so if such an invitation comes up again I could legitimately accept it. Maybe sailing in yellow pants with my hands behind my back would be fun?