Thursday, July 14, 2011


I was in two minds whether or not to do the Newport Regatta last weekend. I kept checking the weather forecast all week. It changed every day but one thing did not change. The winds would be light on Saturday and Sunday. There would be a prevailing northerly and the wind might change to the south some time during the day and then again it might not. Sounded like the recipe for a frustrating regatta.

My wonderful wife finally lost patience with my procrastination. "You need practice in light air, don't you?" asked the Tillerwoman. "Just go. You will have a good time hanging out with your friends even if you can't sail all the time."

Isn't she brilliant? Of course she was right. Sailing in light winds presents its own challenges, and I certainly need practice in all kinds of conditions. And sailing is about the people you meet, the friends you make too.

So I registered for the regatta and drove my Laser down to Newport on Saturday.

The weather forecast was right. The winds were light. The sail out to the course area between Goat and Rose Islands was slow, but the good news was that I arrived in the start area only a few minutes before the announced time for the first warning signal, and the RC started racing bang on time.

We raced in a light northerly for a while.

Then in one race the wind switched from north to west to south during the race causing all kinds of havoc in the fleet order. You don't expect to have to beat to the leeward mark.

We raced in a light southerly.

The wind totally died during one race and it was eventually abandoned.

We waited around to see if the wind would fill in again, and eventually the northerly beat the attempts of the sea breeze to establish itself and we completed two more races making five for the day.

I hit a buoy in one race and took a penalty. I hit another boat in one race and took a penalty. There was tide and variable wind speeds and shifts and I never really figured it all out. I was in the top ten in one race and DFL in another.

It was hot and we spent about seven hours on the water in all. But I did drink lots of Gatorade and I didn't get cramp so that was good.

All in all a very frustrating day.

But it was also fun in some strange, masochistic way. How did Tillerwoman know that it would be? She doesn't even sail.


Fred said...

Tillerwoman knew because with all this weather checking and looking out the window you probably behaved like a tiger in a cave. She had to let you loose. Have you happily driving down the motorway, listening to the music, meeting likewise people and to have a good time ashore. And to come home, being relaxed and tired. And I guess she wanted you to be away from the bloody compie...

It is all speculating, I know, but believe me, the "other" text which I had written was even more speculative and ended in the bin. Did you not ask for an answer?

Tillerman said...

I did indeed ask a question Fred. The other 399 people who read this post will probably think it was rhetorical but I wonder if you may right in assuming it wasn't?

And I think you hit the nail on the head. Tillerwoman knows that getting out of the house and going sailing is good for me, and probably makes me easier to live with afterwards.

Pat said...

Sounds like it still beat a great day at the office.

Verification word: Crotord ... I don't even want to know.... but it probably shows up in a French cookbook.

PeconicPuffin said...

Perhaps you should install bumpers on your bow.

Frankie said...

Why don't you guys actually name your wife by her name? Is she just an extension of yourself? Hasn't she got a personality of her own?

Tillerman said...

Good question Frankie. You may have noticed that I hardly ever name any adult members of my family, or the people I sail with, by their real names. I guess I started this practice in the early days of the blog as a way of preserving the confidentiality and privacy of my friends and family. I also made up the name Tillerman for myself and for a while nobody knew my real name either, though people who read the blog and knew me soon worked it out.

I don't know who first named my wife Tillerwoman. Don't think it was me. She knows we call her that here and quite likes it.

Funny how traditions get establlished!

Pandabonium said...

"I'm gonna wash frustration outta my hair, I'm gonna wash frustration outta my hair, I'm gonna wash frustration outta my hair, and send it on its way."

Sam Chapin said...

We learn from our mistakes and not by staying home.

Tillerman said...

I like the theory Sam. But I'm pretty sure I've made more mistakes in the last 30 years than any other Laser sailor on the planet. So why aren't I the best Laser sailor on the planet by now?

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