Saturday, April 30, 2005


There's no escaping the fact: Laser sailing hurts.

When my sons were teenagers and just starting to sail Lasers they used to complain about the minor bumps and aches associated with sailing. I used to tell them, "Laser sailing is mainly about pain". An exaggeration of course and, looking back, a scary thing to tell kids. But I don't seem to have caused them too much psychological damage and they are both fine young men now. And they both still enjoy sailing. Or perhaps the pain.

At the sailing seminar I recently attended, the guest instructor, Brad Funk, confirmed my point. He was telling the class one evening that most of us weren't hiking hard enough. "How do you know when you're hiking hard enough? If it hurts it means you're hiking properly!"

The publicity for the course promised "fun and torture". It was accurate on both points. After 5 days of such torture I have the following injuries...

A bruise on my head when it was bumped by the boom. Too tired or too stupid to remember to duck in time.

Aching shoulders.

A nagging pain just below my right shoulder blade that doesn't respond to Tylenol. It gets worse if I sit in the car for several hours. The only cure seems to be Laser sailing. When I sail it goes away.

Bruises on both arms. I think these are caused when I do a capsize recovery. Certainly when I was learning to sail a Laser over 20 years ago I used to get more of these bruises.

A sore on my right finger caused by a hole in my full finger gloves. Sores on both index fingers caused when I switched to my 3 finger gloves. Just can't win.

3 sores on my left knee and 1 sore on my right knee caused when I used my short hiking pants. They got worse when I switched to my 3/4 length hiking pants that cover my knees. Go figure.

A bruise on my thigh caused by walking into a boat on the land. Just shows I don't look where I'm going enough on the land or on the race course.

A very sore big toe. Never had this before. My theory is that in this warm water my feet swell a bit and my hiking boots are too tight for these conditions. The love of my life says it will drop off. I'm not exactly clear whether she's referring to the toe, the toenail or something else.

So if hurts so much why do we do it? Are we all masochists?

No. I think we do it for one reason and one reason only. In the words of the song we do it because...."the pleasure is worth all the pain".

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