Monday, November 17, 2008

Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

Yesterday morning the wind was howling across the bay and whistling around our house. The surface of the water was covered in whitecaps and streaked with wind-driven spray. And it was the third day of the Laser frostbiting season.

I went to the computer and checked out the weather forecasts. To sail or not to sail, that was the question. NOAA had a gale warning out for Narragansett Bay for the whole day. Weather Underground was predicting 40 mph gusts. Hmmm.

I could have had one of two reactions...
  • Yeehow. A chance to go and have a blast on my Laser in big winds and kick some ass on the race course.

  • A chance to hunker down inside and catch up on some chores.

Being a born prevaricator, I continued browsing around the Interwebs and checking out various weather sites for more information. For some reason I stopped by the New York Times website and saw a link on the front page for an article titled Gonna Need a Bigger Boat, so I clicked on it.

What was I thinking? Have I subconsciously conceded that to enjoy rough weather on the bay I need something bigger than a Laser? Have I started to suffer from four-foot-itis that well know disease of boat owners, the main symptom of which is always coveting a boat that is just a few feet longer than the one they currently own?

Maybe. But I was intrigued that the article was by
Thomas Friedman, the Pulitzer Prize winning foreign affairs correspondent and author. Friedman wants a bigger boat? Is he a sailor too? I didn't know that.

Of course the article wasn't about sailing at all. It was about the global financial panic and what to do about it. Friedman was arguing that the time has come for desperate measures to deal with the crisis, and that we need to throw everything we can at this problem.

He used an analogy to illustrate his point...

If you want to know where we are right now, rent the movie “Jaws.” We’re at that moment when Roy Scheider first sets eyes on the Great White Shark and comes back and says to the skipper, with eyes wide with fear: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

I guess he's right. We are gonna need a bigger boat.

Where was I? Where am I? Oh yes. Whether to go sailing on Sunday.

The phone rang. It was my son. I told him about the weather forecast. He said I should get a Radial rig so I could go and blast around and have fun on days like this when it's gusting 40. Trust my son to think laterally. Gonna need a smaller boat!

Then he invited us over to his new house for the day so we could look after our grandkids while he and his wife did some unpacking and shopping for essentials for their new home. I hung up before he had finished talking, and my wife and I almost fell over each other in our haste to head for the car.

Grandkids trump a bigger boat any day.


O Docker said...

Don't worry, you'll get over this very natural fear of difficult conditions when you get younger.

Greg and Kris said...

What's the matter, Mr. Tiller, don't they have Air Command there in Rhodachusetts Islandicut?

Team Gherkin said...

"Grandkids trump a bigger boat any day." You've got that right! Amen!!! heh heh.

I see "sailing" snuck past the final post and won your Poll? Yay! Enjoy your blogging, matey :)

I'm frustrated that I haven't even taken the covers off my Laser this season yet, dagnammit.

Mal :)

Anonymous said...

Any chance the boat leading the Volvo Ocean Race online game is associated with Tillerman.

The moniker is "Rhoderunner".

Just curious.


Tillerman said...

Isn't that one of those video games played by guys in pajamas living in their parents' basements? Why would you think I was one of those guys? Just because I am a road runner and I live in Rhode Island? Come on!

rockislandtadpole said...

After various boat owning adventures including dinghies, small racing keelboats,30 foot multihulls and a Grand Banks trawler. I have arrived at a serious conclusion about boat desire. It became obvious to me when, this year, a mate of mine rang up asking if i knew where he could get a replacement carbon mast for his 30 foot cat. " Why?" i asked. "Because i capsized and broke the original" he said. Hmmm.I had just been out surfing with my 8 year old son and naturally enquired after his family, hoping that they were OK. Fortunately they were not on the boat as it was a delivery trip, but his brother and brother in law were. He could have wiped out the family line in one go!
After estimating the cost of a new carbom mast, i was struck by the comparison between this and the £12 we had just spent at the local surf school to hire 2 boats and a child's wetsuit for a (very long) hour. Then came the Eureka moment. The fun you have in the water is inversely proportional the the waterline length of your boat. This is now called, "Spooners Law". And for all you people who want to test out this theory, take your kids kayaking, oppy sailing and surfing for the day, then have them sit on someone's yacht for a day and see what they tell you.

Tillerman said...

Mr rockislandtadpole - you are a very wise man.

Greg and Kris said...

I think Spooner's Law is pretty smart. However, I have to offer O'Shea's Reversal Axiom which reduces enjoyment in equal portions until an actual reversal occurs, based on factors including weather, captain's knowledge, experience, and decision-making skills, and a confidence v. tippy-ness corollary. I tested all of this out here:

and here:

Anonymous said...

Anonymous says...

"Dunno where I got that mistaken opinion Tillerman..."

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