Friday, January 20, 2006

Ask the Tillerman #2

By special request for one of the commenters to De-Lurking Day here is another in the series of Ask the Tillerman advice columns.

Dear Tillerman, I often hear that there are very few people between the ages of 22 and 35 active in sailing. Kids, teenagers and college students do a lot of sailing; old geezers over 35 dominate your average yacht club. But the twenties and early thirties age group is missing.

I can believe it. I'm one of that group. And it's tough.

First of all there's the time pressure. We're busy getting started on our careers, finding a mate, getting engaged, getting married, buying a house, buying furniture for the house, maintaining the house, mowing the lawn, having kids, looking after kids. Where the heck are we going to find time to sail?

Then there's the money problem. What with student loans, clothes, dating, engagement ring, wedding ring, wedding, mortgage, mending the roof, clothes for the kids, car loans, car repairs, etc. etc. where are we going to find the money to afford to join a yacht club, buy a boat and enter regattas?

All of the above applies to me. Not only do I have a mortgage, a wife, a car loan, a new baby, a long commute and a full-time job, I am also going to law school in the evenings. On top of all that I've put on a bit of weight since I was a competitive college sailor. OK -- a lot of weight. And I'm not as fit as I used to be.

But I really want to take up sailing again and recently someone offered to lend me a Laser. But I'm sure I'm too heavy for a Laser and at this weight I'd be really slow in light airs not to mention a total klutz in the boat. And I'm not fit enough to sail a Laser in heavy airs. I could join a gym but when would I find the time to work out? And then the weather in New England is freezing cold and the drysuit I had in college won't fit me any more and the nearest frostbite fleet is 50 miles away. And in any case, I'm always busy at weekends with various family commitments and church and doing chores and spending time with my new baby.

So Mr Tillerman, what do you think? Should I accept the offer of this Laser and go sailing again?

Yours Sincerely, Without a Clew.

Dear Without a Clew,


EVK4 said...

Over 35 = old geezer....interesting. Is it my daughter writing this blog?

Litoralis said...

Thanks for answering the question I should have asked. See the first of my 2006 Sailing Goals here.

Anonymous said...

Gee I must be old, I'm over 45!

Anonymous said...

I just turned 38 and am about to go sailing long-term. I've also decided to spend the next five-to-six months getting into shape to do it... :D

Carol Anne said...

evk4, I think it may be my son.

Anonymous said...

it'd true re the age range, if we drink lotsa rum we always wake up next to some ol shagger next end up with some old shagger, where that 22 to 35's ?

EdShift said...

As someone firmly in this rare age group and furthermore having only just got into it again after ten years and with the long commute and the (Albeit very understanding) partner and the seemingly constant out of hours company funded courses to attend(HOW IS IT THAT WE FALL FOR THAT ONE TIME AND AGAIN???) I think this is the time when sailing and racing competitively is really positive and thereputic and and a complete antidote to losing it with stress and it's associated ills.

When I am sailing I am there. 100%.
There is nothing else on my mind. In fact unless I force myself everything I have learned in books about sailing and as apposed to that which I have drummed into my subconsious experiantally during the previous sails is gone.

Sailing has an amazing ability to induce Zen like trance states where you can spend an hour on a long windward leg staring at a couple of inches of wool on a sail whilst similtaneously balancing the boat.
Nothing else.
Zen calls this positive Samadhi.
It can be likened to the buddhist novice being told to sweep the yard
as the first step to enlightenment.

Once he can reach the stage where there is nothing except the brush and the dust he is that much closer to his goal.

That may soon a bit pseoudo-mystical and I'll quite willingly admit to elucidating it very well however I have spent many an hour sailing during which I have had no more thought in my head than "inside luff fluttering-bear away slightly.
It's an odd sport in that way but there is no other which is better for providing a condensed three hour escape from everything else in your life and there have been timees this year for me where that has made the difference between it all getting too much and it all being put in to perspective.


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