Monday, December 26, 2005


My younger son gave me the "Boat Whisperer" for Xmas - two DVDs of Laser sailing instruction, although I haven't had a chance to study them in detail yet. (If Grandad sits in the corner staring intently at his laptop computer with headphones on his head, looking like a 1950s radio ham, he is not exactly contributing to the family's enjoyment of the Xmas spirit.) But, on initial examination, they appear to be a pair of excellent training videos presented by someone who is not only a champion sailor but is also an articulate teacher, Steve Cockerill of Rooster Sailing fame.

But Steve, why oh why did you choose that cheesy title? You admit on the video that Boat Whisperer is a reference to horse whisperers, those gifted people who know how to make horses do what they don't want to do. But for me, the title will always remind me of the book and movie of that name.

Prior to this year, I had managed to avoid the "Horse Whisperer". (Always thought novels about horses were for girls.) And as for movies with no action and a past-his-sell-by-date pretty boy like Eastwood or Redford playing some laconic dude who for mysterious reasons totally unrelated to his non-existent personality is incredibly attractive to a lonely middle-aged woman ... Pardon me while I throw up.

But for our long drive to Florida in April to attend the Rick White Sailing Seminar, my wife and I decided to grab some audio books to while away the long hours in the car. So I picked up some tapes from the library and threw in one chick flick tape to balance out the five male oriented spy and action novel tapes that I borrowed for myself. That's the kind of guy I am!

For anyone in the western world who hasn't yet succumbed to the megahype around the Horse Whisperer phenom, the plot is basically about a spoilt teenage New York City little princess who causes terrible injuries to herself and her horse in a riding accident, after which she is dragged to Marlboro country by her tightly wound over ambitious mother who is trying to persuade some cowboy equine Zen master with a talent for dobbin lingo to cure the, by now, totally psychotic horse. The mother is a self-absorbed bitch, the kid is a whining brat and the horse is just asking for a massive dose of sodium pentobarbital. Yee-haw.

OK - I won't reveal the rest of the plot except to say that it fills up six whole cassette tapes and not a hell of a lot actually happens. I-95 never seemed to be quite so long before.

In spite of the title, I do plan to study the DVDs in depth; I am hoping they will help with my ambition in 2006 finally to master sailing in waves. That is if I can ever get the discs back from son #1 who is currently behaving antisocially by ignoring the rest of the family while he stares intently at Boat Whisperer on his laptop, headphones jammed on his head looking like a 50s radio ham ...

Happy Holidays.


hobbes said...

thanks for the heads up - I think I'll stick to my original plan of Totally Avoiding the horse whisperer.

Anonymous said...

Steve Cockerill's brother Dave Cockerill instructs my sister. As he is the coach of the squad she is on "GBR RYA National Junior Topper Squad".

Also I have some Rooster clothing- hikers and an aquafleece, and they are brilliant.

Claire (England)

Carol Anne said...

You want to avoid the Horse Whisperer if at all possible. The book is even worse than the movie.

If you want the same plot but much more skillfully done, check out D.H. Lawrence's St. Mawr. You still get the mother and daughter and horse and mysterious horse trainer, but the characters are much more sympathetic and realistic, and the sex doesn't descend into pornography.

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