Friday, April 18, 2008

So Where the Bloody Hell Are You?

Thurs Apr 10

So where the bloody hell are you?

Yes you, you Rhode Island boaters. I moved here last May naively thinking that a significant proportion of the residents of this state have some interest in boating and that I would see you out on the water with me. I was encouraged in this view
because you describe your little state as the Ocean State and because every time I had been here to sail before there were usually a gazillion boats out on the water. Apparently I overestimated your commitment to the boating life.

On the day after my lonely sail off Bristol on Wednesday last week, I launched my Laser off Fogland Beach in Tiverton on Thursday for a blast on the (quaintly and inaccurately named) Sakonnet River. Supposedly Fogland is a popular haunt of windsurfers but there was not a single one out there with me on a sunny spring day with plenty of wind on Thursday.

Not a windsurfer. No fishermen. No motorboats. No kayakers. No other sailboats. (I could see on my drive down to Fogland that all the hardy recreational cruising sailors of Tiverton still have their floating leadmines tucked away in shrinkwrap on the hard at various marinas.)

So where the bloody hell are you? Is it the cost of gas that is keeping boats off the water? Have your boats all succumbed to the dreaded ethanol gas tank corrosion? Perhaps it's not the right season for the fishermen to be out... I don't have a clue about that sport so it's quite possible.

Or is that you are all spooked by the scare stories you read about boating in cold water such as Bonnie's annual warning on the topic? Sure it's good to take precautions when boating in cold water. I was wearing a drysuit and a PFD and had told Tillerwoman where I was going so I didn't feel too exposed to unnecessary risk.

Oh yes, I know that many of you have jobs. But many of you must also be retired, unemployed, independently wealthy, shift workers, whatever... or sufficiently excited about this sunny spring weather to be prepared to steal an afternoon away from that boring office job.

So where the bloody hell are you?

I sailed around on my own for a while. Upwind and downwind. Did some practice tacks and gybes. Enjoyed riding the waves that were somewhat longer than on the previous day. Towards the end of the afternoon around 4pm a jetskier came out. Whoo hoo... another boater... sort of. He zigzagged around the river and then came straight at me as if to ram me, but he just gave me a cheery wave and roared off. Geeze, things are getting really bad when I'm pleased to see a jetskier.

So Where the Bloody Hell Are You?

In the interests of full disclosure, the title of this post was originally the slogan of an advertising campaign by the Australian Tourist Board which caused some controversy in certain countries. Apparently the sensitive souls in my homeland decided that the word "bloody" could not be used on British TV before 9pm, the Canadians had issue with the word "hell", and the strait-laced Singaporeans were not allowed to hear the words "bloody hell" at all.


bonnie said...

Cripes, if my posting has deterred the entire state of Rhode Island from starting into their spring boating plans, I'd feel terrible.

JSW225 said...

Perhaps you don't realize this...

But the water's freaking cold!

Anonymous said...

Where? ... watchin teevee.

Anonymous said...

Man not a good idea to be all alone this time of year drysuite and float plan not withstanding.....

Gery O

Mal Kiely [Lancelots Pram] said...

I was scuba-diving! I swear! [Mental-note to self---put my bung in next time! lol]
Mal :)

Anonymous said...

My son and I were out in our Lasers, South of Gould Island on the Sakonnet on Tuesday afternoon last week. If you're out in our waters and see a sail # in the 10's in company with a sail # in the 18's it's us and we would be happy to bid you "What Cheer,Netop".

Unknown said...

Drysuit??? Whats that! I was sailing on the weekend - preparing for a Classic 18' Skiff Nationals to be held next weekend here in Brisbane (QLD, Australia).

Keep warm guys ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Phil, good to know there are other Lasers out on the Sakonnet this time of year. I'll look out for you.

Andrew said...

Hallo Tillerman [and all readers],
We've had 12, 14, 16 Lasers racing the last three weeks - and all of them quick. This is my first season racing for 29 years. I'm back on a Laser and it's partly thanks to you and your blog. Keep writing - and I need to know where my feet should be downwind [two deathrolls in three weeks!]

Andrew -

Tillerman said...

Hi Andrew. Pleased to hear you're back in a Laser.

Aaaah, what to do with your feet downwind... another piece of Laser minutiae that could take several posts to discuss. Watch this space.

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