Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Forty Cents a Week

On Friday, the first day of the Buzzards Bay Regatta, the sea breeze eventually came in from the south-west in early afternoon. The race committee sent us off on a five leg windward-leeward course with each leg approximately a mile long. Three long gut-wrenching flat-out-hiking beats, and two long wave-riding runs.

Those three long beats were fun. Always another sailor close by to race against. I was trying to work the waves upwind and as I jabbed the tiller moving up one wave I heard a loud crack from the back of the boat.

Hmmm. What was that? Maybe the rudder hit something?

All was well for a while but then the tiller started catching on the traveler cleat. How can that be? I finished the race and then leaned over the back of the boat to find out what was going on.

Uh oh. One of the stainless steel brackets holding the rudder head to the lower pintle had broken and then bent. The rudder was still attached to the boat but was loose at its bottom point of connection to the boat. The two mile downwind sail in waves back to the beach was "interesting". At any moment I was expecting to lose control of the rudder. Maybe it would jam to one side and I would be unable to bear off down a wave?

Sheer terror. More terrifying even than Edward's fish taco.

So, after derigging I went over to the race office where there was a helpful lady from the manufacturer who phoned a dealer who promised to bring over a new rudder for me the next morning. Yes, a whole new rudder. Apparently they couldn't sell me the rudder head and pintles separately. Oh well.

Conversation between myself and the lovely Tillerwoman on Saturday evening...

Lovely Tillerwoman: So did you get the thingie you needed this morning?

Myself: Oh yes. But I had to buy a whole new rudder.

Lovely Tillerwoman: Was it expensive?

(Note to readers: Tillerwoman is one of the most frugal women on the planet. She is a genius at shopping. She can find ways of buying almost anything for a fraction of its usual price.)

Myself: Mmmm. Well not much really when you think that the old rudder lasted thirteen years.

Lovely Tillerwoman: So how much?

Myself: Mmmm. Well let's see. Over thirteen years it would be about forty cents a week.

Lovely Tillerwoman: I need a calculator to work that out. But it doesn't sound like much when you put it that way.

I am a very lucky man.


Tim said...

What? What kind of daylight robbery is this? Can't sell you the fitting seperate from the rudder?! It is either a stupid design or a cunning way of making money out of customers.

dmarkowitz said...

Sounds to me like you could have gone as low as 17 cents a week but if the truth be known you really wanted a new rudder blade in addition to the rudder head and pintles. APS sells the rudder head with pintles seperately from the "complete" rudder.

The previous commenter has a point though. A practice (non class legal) rudder is about half of what the manufacturers legal rudder sells for. So to some extent there is significant markup if you want to race is ILCA events. (same goes for sails) To those of us that just want to cheat the nursing home and don't need trophies or even an aspiration to acquire them the class legal stuff is way too pricey. But who am I to talk, I just bought a second (used) Laser so my 12 year old could sail with me. Pretty soon I will be joining you in blogging my sons exploits in sailing....

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