Friday, June 13, 2008

Top Three Things I Hate About Sailing

Regular readers of this blog (all four of you) will have gathered by now that I am somewhat passionate about the sport of sailing. But there are some things about the sport that I totally abhor. So here are the top three things that I hate about sailing...

  1. Waiting. I am a very impatient person. I hate to wait in any situation. My wife doesn't like going shopping with me any more because of the various highly embarrassing (to her) ways in which I display my impatience if we have to wait in a store checkout line for more than thirty seconds. Apparently deep sighs, rolling of the eyes, and glaring fiercely at the enormously overweight, painfully slow checkout clerk are not acceptable husbandly behavior at our local Stop-and-Shop.

    But the waiting I hate most of all is the waiting I am doing when I think I could be sailing. I think one of the reasons I am enjoying all the sailing alone that I have been doing lately is because there is no waiting. I look out of the window and see wind; I hitch up the boat and drive to the launch site; I launch; I sail.

    Whereas if I travel to a regatta I might have to...
    • wait on shore for the wind to come in, sometimes all day
    • wait on the water for the wind to come in
    • wait on the water for the race committee to get their act together and start racing
    • wait on the water in between races while the race committee try and square up the course and the line because of a two degree wind-shift
    • wait after racing for the results to be published and trophies to be awarded.
  2. Breakdowns. Why do things break on my boat on the rare occasions when I'm doing well in a race? The classic example is the day at my old frostbite fleet when my gooseneck broke on almost the only occasion I was leading a race by enough to have a legitimate chance of still being ahead at the finish.

    I suppose I shouldn't really complain. The Laser is a pretty tough little boat and if I only took the trouble to check fittings for corrosion more religiously I would have even fewer problems. In twenty-five years of racing I can only recall one example each of breaking a mast, breaking a boom, pulling out a traveler fairlead, and pulling out a boom block. Of course that could be a case of the old geezer losing his memory. In any case, however infrequently it happens, I hate it when bits on my boat break.
  3. Injuries. And the third thing I hate about sailing is when bits on my body break. Actually it's not so much a problem of stuff breaking but of stuff hurting too much to allow me to sail. It never seemed to be a problem when I was in my thirties, but now I am pushing sixty various body parts seem to be complaining more often about the treatment they are receiving. The back seems to have all sorts of excuses for saying it's hurting too much to go Laser sailing. There was the time I hurt my back shoveling snow and missed a frostbite season. There was the time I hurt my back putting on my socks of all things and missed a frostbite season. Currently I'm trying to pretend that the twinges in one ankle (probably caused by running) and one elbow (probably caused by too much digging in Tillerwoman's garden) are not really serious and not good enough reasons to miss any Lasering.

    Wait. All these injuries were caused, not by sailing, but by other pursuits such as shoveling snow and putting socks on. There's a lesson there somewhere.
I did think of adding a fourth thing that I hate about sailing. Cheaters. People who blatantly break Rule 42 and think they need to rock and roll and pump their boat around the race course to beat an old geezer like me. Or the guy who fouled me in a clear port-starboard incident on the starboard tack layline at that regatta a few weeks ago. (You know who you are.) But I don't really hate these cheaters. I pity them. If they really feel they need to cheat in order to win a cheezy plastic trophy then I feel sorry for them. I really don't care enough about winning a race or a regatta to want to do it by cheating. If you beat me by cheating then you didn't really beat me, did you? I know that. You know that. Everyone else in the fleet knows that. I don't hate you. I feel sorry for you, you worthless scumbag.

So that leaves three things I hate about sailing. But wait. All those things are just obstacles that prevent me from sailing. Whether it's waiting to sail, or not being able to sail because a bit broke on my boat, or not being being able to sail because a bit broke on me... I only hate them because they are stopping me from sailing. I guess I really like everything about sailing, after all..

What about you? What do you hate about sailing?


Anonymous said...

I also hate when people do tacks and jibes that are blatantly illegal, but they think there is nothing wrong with it. There is no point in doing well if you lose the respect of your competitors in the process.

But the biggest thing I hate is that the price of Lasers and parts have been rising at an alarming rate since it became an Olympic Class.

bonnie said...

Getting to the club on time.

Boy, we had a spectacular equipment failure on Sunday. Holly the Sailing Co-Chair has been pushing herself, taking her Laser & doing some racing at The Dinghy Shop, going out in heavy conditions - Sunday, conditions weren't heavy, but all the sudden the deck around her mast just sort of gave way.

It was so sad, she had to be towed home by one of the other sailors. Perfect breeze in the afternoon too.

It was also a bummer for me as she was going to let me mess around with her boat during lunch.

I'm actually really glad it broke for her, though, not me.

Although an equipment failure of that type, I think I would have known that this was something that the boat had been building up towards for some time, not something I caused.

Still, glad she was driving when it went!

Unknown said...

I have been doing some skiff sailing. The last 2 regattas I have been in, we have had to sit on the beach the whole weekend or worse still, get a great days racing in then get told that open boats are not allowed out the following day because of a strong wind warning. Strong wind (25kts) is good conditions to sail in in the bay here.

That's my major dislike of this sport I love.

Zen said...

Happy Father's Day!

PeconicPuffin said...

My top three things I hate about sailing:

1. Being unable to sail when it's windy. That is hell on earth.

2. Lack of wind when I am able to sail. I feel empty and hollow.

3. Missing sailing due to injury. I feel as if I'm marooned in a useless body, and have much less reason to look forward to living.

Pat said...

It's tough living a long distance from sailable water and from reliable sources of boat parts. Breaking something, then having to wait a few days for parts ... or paying big bucks for expressing the parts ... and not being able to look at the parts to make sure they're the correct ones are all hardships.

Anonymous said...

How about our Sailing Buckeyes Yacht Club. AKA The good old boys club! Why? Beacuse the rules are only enforced if it benefits our racer/cruiser division! What a joke these guys are! Not to mention they set everyones PHRF through their Phrf-al committe! How fair is that! The guys we are racing against and dock with setting our Phrf. Wow great design guys! And they wonder why everyone leaves and never returns to race with them!

Dan said...

I hate racing. I have done it for so many years and I much prefer just sailing about. Stuff all the rules and handicaps and I have better equipment than you bullshit etc etc. I do very well in the races, I just don't enjoy it.

I hate talking about races with all the know-it-alls after the race. "oh did you get that lift too?", "i was stuck in that hole for ages" I DON'T care. I love getting out on the water in my boat but I think I am finished with racing forever.

No need to wait when you sail for fun. who cares if you are going fast. you're out on the water having a nice day cruising about.

Breaking things is still annoying however.

Ari Viderchi said...

childhood hates....really simple and IMO big factors with kids "getting it" or not......if your kid gets cold they won't enjoy it and if they are going slow same applies. Perhaps finally having nowhere to go; kids need an adventure, racing comes later with skills but just being able to learn to handle your vehicle in that great big parking lot and go somewhere on adventure is a massive incentive....