Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Southern Cross and Country Roads

Something strange and unexpected seems to happen every time I go back to sailing the Laser after exclusively sailing the RS Aero for a while.

I was originally expecting that the Laser would feel clunky and boring after the RS Aero.

I was told that the Laser would feel like a truck after sailing the RS Aero.

To the contrary, when I jump back into a Laser I feel a surge of pleasure almost as intense as what I felt the first time I jumped into a Laser, here in Minorca 35 years ago.

How can that be?

After five days of RS Aero sailing last week, I decided to do some Laser sailing on Thursday. It was the starting practice class in the morning and the weekly regatta in the afternoon and I thought it would be more fun to race with a bunch of Lasers than cruise around the race course on my own in an RS Aero.

The starting practice was intense. It was clear that there was one very good Laser sailor in the class who would be the man to beat. The start line was biased to the boat end for most of the drills and the right side of the course had stronger wind so it was all about winning the boat end of the line. I didn't always do that very well, but on one memorable occasion I did "close the door" on the "man to beat" who was trying to barge at the starboard end of the line. Poor guy he didn't know what hit him. It felt very mean but I checked with the instructor afterwards and he did concur that what I did was entirely legal. I don't recall ever doing this in real racing before, so now I have a new weapon for racing back home. Watch out people!

The "man to beat" and I had some good close racing in the afternoon. We split the first two races, one of them in a photo finish that I took by inches. My concentration was wavering in the third race so he took his revenge for my start line aggressiveness in the morning, and he won the regatta by one point.

What a day! I came off the water with a big smile on the face and was babbling to anyone who would listen about what an awesome day I had had.

So how come I love the Laser so much, even though the RS Aero is a much better boat?

Is there an analogy that can explain it?

I did think of emulating Steve Cockerill and using a comparison to activities with the fairer sex, but I couldn't think of a way to do it (wife and mistress? sister wives?) that wouldn't get me into trouble with Tillerwoman.

So here's another analogy.

I love to travel, to see new places. Most people do. It's exciting, sometimes challenging, inspiring, mind broadening.

But I still love to come home to my beautiful home with its view of the bay and my own big comfy bed.

The RS Aero is my Southern Cross -
When you see the Southern Cross for the first time 
You understand now why you came this way

The Laser is my Country Roads -
Take me home to the place I belong.

Or something like that.

Does that make sense?

Do you still feel a special affection for the first boat you owned?


Steve Mackay said...

I had gone off to a Scout camp and left my entire savings after the 1965 Jamboree in Brisbane in my father's hands to check out the ads for, ideally, an Australian scow Moth or maybe a VJ.

He checked them out and decided there was no where to sit.

So he checked out what was described as a "gaff rigged" sharpie which I now suspect was a 1956 Olympic 12 metre. It was 20 foot long and 4 foot wide and not the best first boat you had.

We had a lot of fun, two times over meant you had to be dragged to shore.

We still have the rudder with the lead weights.

Steve from Indented Head (It is a real place)

Jay Eveleth said...

Excuse me for being sentimental, but a boat is not a mechanical device whose value is judged by its performance, but a dear friend who supported you when you needed it, challenged you when you wanted to achieve, and stayed with you year after year without complaint.

One of my first boats was a Lightning, by current standards a pathetic performer. But my two older brothers and I raced it many summers. It was the only thing we did together. But, we had to work together to make it go fast, to avoid catastrophes in bad weather, to prepare it for next season. During our mother's last days at 103 we tag teamed to care for her, and then when she passed, we divided the family's treasures gathered over 80 years from the US, China, India, Italy, France, Brazil and other countries, among our wives, children and grandchildren without a hint of dissension. The boat had taught us how.

So in enjoy your old friend, she deserves it.

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