Saturday, April 02, 2005


I am newsletter editor for my sailing club. Every month I edit and publish an 8 page newsletter of sailing news, announcements of upcoming events, advice, pictures, ads and so on. I've been doing this for 3 years and have established a tradition of using the April issue to perpetrate an April Fools joke on my readership.

In 2003 I wrote a spoof article on how to do race committee - but it was actually a list of all the awful things that a race committee can do to screw up the racing and ruin all the sailors' enjoyment. The in-joke was that one poor guy had actually managed to make every single mistake on the list on one memorable Wednesday evening the previous season. He must be very thick-skinned because he's still talking to me.

Then last year I stole an idea I found on the web about this terrible substance in our lake called DHMO. The article was full of dire warnings about how it causes death if inhaled in small quantities, that some athletes are actually ingesting it to improve performance, that it causes thousands of deaths per year etc. etc. DHMO stands for Di-Hydrogen Monoxide. I didn't think you'd need to be a chemist to recognize the jokey name for water, but it fooled a number of club members.

I'll try and post those two article to this blog.

This year for my April 1 edition of the newsletter I included 3 short jokes. One was asking members to look for some propeller cleaning fluid called Prop Wash. Another was a spoof tuning tip about negative mast bend complete with a picture of a boat with extreme mast bend (which was actually an ice boat). And another was bizarre advice about how to avoid infringing the illegal propulsion rule which including such absurdities as holding the tiller in the central position while hailing "One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, Three Mississippi".

I mailed the newsletter on the last day of March and am awaiting the reaction.

Yesterday I received a desperate email from an out-of-state sailor who had won a trophy at a local regatta. Apparently he took the trophy to an engraver to have his name added to it, and in the process the trophy had been damaged beyond all hope of repair. As the trophy is actually a memorial to a deceased sailor he was devastated and he wants to see if he can replace it without the family and host club finding out about the breakage. He was asking me if I knew where the trophy had been bought originally.

Unfortunately I don't know the history of the trophy so I sent him a short, sympathetic reply with a suggestion of who else he might ask. Aaaaaaaagh. Of course it was all an April Fools joke and I was well and truly fooled.

Guess it serves me right.

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