Sunday, December 10, 2006


Check out One Year Later ... an account by Carol Anne of Five O'Clock Somewhere of her transition during the last year from "a cruising sailor with a MacGregor 26, middle aged, dumpy" (her description not mine) to an avid racer, Etchells owner and Adams Cup competitor. She credits this blog as at least partly responsible for her new approach to sailing -- "Tillerman, it's all your fault" -- but if you read the full story you will discover that her inspiration really comes from the support of some wonderful sailing friends, the backing of an amazingly generous husband (a racing keelboat as a gift for Valentine's Day Pat? What were you thinking? How are we other husbands supposed to match that?) and the special charms of her Etchells, "the sexiest boat on the lake".

Carol Anne's post set me to thinking. Who inspired me to take up sailing? And for those of you reading this post (most of whom are boaters of some kind, I suspect) who inspired you to take up the sport or to follow your current direction in boating? It might be a parent or other role model, a friend, a famous sailor, a writer, maybe even a fictional character.

So I thought it might be fun to develop a composite post with links to stories about all the folk who have inspired others to take up sailing or other watery sports. Please help me to achieve this by writing a post on your blog about the person that inspired you (with or without their real name -- it's up to you) and send me an email at telling me where to find your story. A week from now, on or around Monday 18 December, I will write a post with links to all the stories you send me and then we can all compare the diverse sources of our inspirations to take up water sports.


Anonymous said...

gee! you're a squadron leader, Tillerman!

Zen said...

Hmmm, that will require some serious thought...

Pat said...

My childhood was spent in part on South Padre Island, near where the Rio Grande limps into the Gulf of Mexico between Texas and Mexico. Mostly as a child I watched boats and ships passing the the Brazos Santiago pass, eventually getting the courage to hop a ride on a neighbor's aluminum jon-boat, "Chatauqua".

Later, during some of my high school summers, I worked on a party fishing boat that took anglers out into the bay, and a couple of times I even did go sailing, on a 35-foot sloop, "Traipsing". That was even though sailboats other than Hobie (TM) cats and windsurfers were uncommon on the island, backed as it is by a shallow lagoon.

An attempt at becoming a sailor my freshman year in college didn't quite work out. Only later, after I'd moved to the seemingly dessicated wilderness of New Mexico, did it happen.

has three posts describing some of my shady past associations with things that float:

"How We Got Our Boat",
"Not Quite the Making of a Sailor", and
"First Boats and a Heavy Cross - South Padre Island"

Carol Anne said...

Yeah, any time I tell about how I got a boat for Valentine's Day instead of flowers or chocolates, if the person I'm talking to is a guy, the initial reaction is "don't let my wife/girlfriend know about that."

Another interesting phenomenon I've noticed is the reactions of strangers to the boat. Guys tend to drop their chins and start drooling, even guys whose main excitement is things that go fast while at the same time going vroom very loudly. Gals generally have some remark along the lines of "Oh, that's pretty," and then they walk on by.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Tillerman, I'm not a sailor (in fact, I spent my last and only sailing trip just throwing up overboard) but I am middle-aged (ugh), which interests me in this woman you are writing about.

bonnie said...

omg...I've had so many inspirational teachers I wouldn't even know where to start, and I'd inevitably leave out somebody important.

But I guess the real culprits for all my water activities would be my mom and dad, cause they were the ones who joined the Navy (well, Dad joined & Mom married him, not that much difference in commitment when you come right down to it), had me and my sister and then were clever enough to pack up the whole crew (including the cat) and move to Hawaii, and mostly stay there.

Of course my earliest recollection of being in water was falling into the deep end of the swimming pool at the apartment complex where we first stayed. I must've been 4 or 5, couldn't swim a stroke. Mom had her eye on me & fished me out in plenty of time, but I think that had something to do with the fact that I wasn't very confident in deep water for a long time. Loved going to the beach or the pool, but wanted to know that if I put my feet down, I'd be able to stand. Rather limiting.

I got over that quite entirely on one sunny weekend day. All it took was a little involuntary assistance from a bunch of Marines.

Anonymous said...

Have posted something on LSD Tillerman!

Also sent you the link to your emai.

OG :)

Anonymous said...

My soon to be husband explained that he was going to buy a sailboat someday. Even though I grew up in San Diego,I hadn't ever been on a sailboat.
My first experience was in Hawaii and I spent the entire trip hanging over the side. Not a good omen.
We bought that first sailboat when I was in my 40's. I struggled with sea sickness and a sense of panic when the boat healed over.
So now almost 20 years later I look forward to the Wednesday night races, the weekend regattas and an occasional crusing opportunity. I still not the best of sailors but I do enjoy it.

Zen said...

The Zen saga is posted

Zen said...

Hmmm, maybe I should have said
pre-Zen tales

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