Am I strange?
Is it strange for a 61-year-old grandfather to enjoy sailing a Laser on a chilly February afternoon in Rhode Island.
You would think so to read some of the other blogs...
Tweezerman, who is about my age and writes a blog called Earwigoagin, admits he likes reading my frostbiting posts but says in Frostbiting vs Anything Else that he cannot summon up the enthusiasm to actually do it himself these days...
Frostbiting in small sailing dinghies is something I did in my twenties but now, at this stage in life, I cannot drag up any great enthusiasm for ice cream headaches, complete numbness in hands and feet, and having to pee, all the while encased in a waterproof suit that takes 20 minutes to put on or off. I must be approaching "old codgerism" where it is easier to relate tales of "when I used to chip ice out of the bilge and then brave multiple capsizes in gale force winds and frigid waters" than it is to actually go out and do it.
Even bonnie, the intrepid cold water kayaker from New York who writes frogma, failed to find the Motivation to get out on the water this weekend.
I don't like cold weather, I hate all the extra gear & there's a part of me that really just wants to go full couch-potato in the wintertime.
In the past few winters I've been more couch potato than intrepid frostbiter myself, full of excuses for not going sailing, and skipping sailing even when I had no excuse as in Blah!
But this winter, for whatever reason, I've rediscovered my appetite for frostbite racing and have been blasting around with the Newport Laser frostbite fleet on six of the eight sailing days this year.
Yesterday was typical. I was excited from the moment I woke up. Today is Sunday! A day to go racing! What will the wind be like?
A leisurely morning putting my kit together and then a short drive down to Fort Adams in Newport. I'm usually one of the first to arrive, just before noon. I'm starting to know some of the other regulars and we enjoyed some of the usual pre-race banter as we rigged our boats and changed into our winter sailing gear. One of the women on the race committee introduced herself to me and asked, "Are you Tillerman?" I guess my days of blogging anonymity are long gone.
Then it's the sail out to the race course and a few minutes of warm-up sailing before the first race. I knocked my hat off doing a practice tack and it fell into the water. As I put it back on I thought about Tweezerman's phrase "ice cream headache." Ouch!
This week we had 5-10 knots out of the NW and the race committee started the afternoon with three two-lap windward-leeward races, which I found much more entertaining and rewarding than the usual menu of one-lap races that we have had most weeks. I guess it's because my starts are still pretty awful but I do have decent boat speed in these conditions. So even though I may be well down the fleet at the first windward mark I have plenty of time to pick my way through the fleet and improve my position before the end of the race.
I had three of my best results of the winter in those first three races. I slipped back a bit in the final two races which were one-lap Harry Anderson courses, but the wind was just strong enough to enjoy some planing and surfing on the reaches. I ended up with an overall score for the day equal to my best day of the season.
Sailed back to the beach with a huge smile on my face, exchanging comments with the other sailors about what a great afternoon we had all had, and feeling sorry for all the sad couch potatoes huddled inside watching TV. My limbs and back may have been aching but I was still pumped up on the drive home, going over the races in my head, thinking what I could have done differently, trying to learn the lessons, looking forward to more fun next week -- and perhaps even better results. Can't wait.
Is it strange for for a 61-year-old grandfather to enjoy sailing a Laser on a chilly February afternoon in Rhode Island?
Am I strange?
Is the pope catholic?