Saturday, July 31, 2010


"Why cats are not olympic any more?"

Friday, July 30, 2010


Esteemed blogger O Docker has decreed that this week is Dork Week. I was a bit confused when I wrote yesterday's post. I thought the blogmaster said Dirk Week. Oops. Maybe I can make amends with this post and write about dorks instead.

So what is a dork?

According to Wikipedia (which is never wrong) dork is "USA pejorative slang for a quirky, silly and/or stupid, socially inept person, or one who is out of touch with contemporary trends. Often confused with nerd and geek, but does not imply the same level of intelligence."


Well, O Docker did make a good attempt at portraying himself as a dork in his
More Dork story. Some nonsense about sailing around in circles while playing with the backlight button on his GPS.

Quirky? Yes.

Silly? Yes.

Stupid? Indubitably.

But O Docker is not a dork. He is one of the cool kids.
More Dork is clearly pure fiction and I, for one, don't believe a word of it.

Sadly, in our superficial society, we are quick to label people based on their appearance. If someone's clothes indicate that they are "out of touch with contemporary trends" they may be called a dork. And in sailing it seems that fashions change as quickly as in any other walk of life.

You can often spot a sailing dork by his headgear. There are a lot of dorks in Laser frostbite sailing. Fleece-lined caps. Hats with earmuffs. Peruvian llama herder hats. Very dorky. I probably look pretty dorky myself in my knitted blue and red ski hat with snowflake patterns on it.

But, according to the Google, the champion #1 sailing dork, first on the list of 727,000 results for a search on "sailing dork" is....

Thursday, July 29, 2010


On 26 October 1616 Captain Dirk Hartog set foot on what is now known as Dirk Hartog Island, just North of Shark Bay in Western Australia. It was the second recorded landing of a European on Australian soil, and the first on the west coast of Australia. Hartogh's ship was the Eendracht, a 200 tonne vessel with 32 guns and a crew of 200, and it was on the way to the East Indies from the Netherlands.

He recorded his position, now called "Cape Inscription", and left a pewter plate nailed to a post standing upright in a rock cleft on top of the cliff, inscribed with the details of the date, ship and crew. That plate, now held in the Rijksmuseurn in Amsterdam, is the oldest known written record of a European landing in Australia - Australia’s first known piece of writing. The plate was found 81 years later by another Dutch mariner Willem de Vlamingh.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Moth Sailors Are Bad People

I used to like Moth sailors.

Certainly I respected those amazing sailors in the International Moth Class flying around on their foils.

And those dudes that sail Classic Moths seemed like a pretty cool bunch too.

But no more.

I have discovered their dreadful, dark, evil secret.

Thanks to Earwigoagin's exposé at Frankenboat the truth is out...

Moth sailors have been sawing up Laser hulls and turning them into Moths!!!


This is sooooooooo wrong!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Champagne Sailing

It is now abundantly clear that the Olympic sailing organizers got it all wrong with the "medal race" concept - the idea that they would make the last race of the regatta more exciting by allowing only the top ten sailors to race in it, awarding double points, and not allowing that score to be thrown out.

Sailing should instead learn from the immensely popular sport of cycling and copy the Tour de France format where, for reasons I have not been able to discover or understand, the last stage is largely ceremonial. So, this year, Alberto Contador, who was leading Andy Schleck by the slimmest of margins, cruised along in the final "race" sipping champagne, shooting his friends with a squirt gun, and sticking his fingers in the air to indicate how many times he had won the Tour. Apparently Mr. Schleck was too much of a nice guy to pedal a bit harder and beat Mr. Contador while he was performing these antics. Or something.

Fantastic. Let's do it, Olympic sailing organizers. Scrap the medal race. Go for the ceremonial race. A bottle of champagne and a squirt gun on every boat and let's party.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Have They No Grandchildren?

I make no apology for posting again this picture of my three grandchildren... Emily 4, Aidan 2, and Owen 0 (well actually 1 month and 2 days.) It's a scary thought that, unlike most of my generation, they should all live to see the second half of the 21st century, and given future advances in medical care they probably have a fighting chance to celebrate the turn of the 22nd century.


Yes scary, because of the current predictions of what the world's climate will be like when they are in their 40's... never mind their 90's. There's an excellent article on the NY Times website today by Thomas Friedman We're Gonna Be Sorry in which he castigates Democrats and Republicans alike for, once again, failing to take any action "to pass an energy/climate bill that would begin to cap greenhouse gases that cause global warming and promote renewable energy that could diminish our addiction to oil."

As he says, "We’ve basically decided to keep pumping greenhouse gases into Mother Nature’s operating system and take our chances that the results will be benign — even though a vast majority of scientists warn that this will not be so."

He follows up his criticism with some related news items about what is happening in China and Russia, comments from a utility CEO and a general, and ends with a quote from the contrarian hedge fund manager Jeremy Grantham.

Conspiracy theorists claim to believe that global warming is a carefully constructed hoax driven by scientists desperate for ... what? Being needled by nonscientific newspaper reports, by blogs and by right-wing politicians and think tanks?

I have a much simpler but plausible ‘conspiracy theory’: the fossil energy companies, driven by the need to protect hundreds of billions of dollars of profits, encourage obfuscation of the inconvenient scientific results. I, for one, admire them for their P.R. skills, while wondering, as always:

"Have they no grandchildren?"

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pessimist Optimist

My post on Wednesday The Last Time betrayed my somewhat pessimistic mood this week, probably caused by suffering from The Man Cold which has meant no running, no sailing and no playing with my three wonderful grandkids all week. What else is there once you get to my age?

But I was cheered by the wisdom of my readers who helped me to put things in perspective and to see life in a much more optimistic way.

O Docker counselled...

In time, life starts making more decisions for us than we make for ourselves. We often won't get to decide when will be the last time we do something.

But if you take every exciting thing that happens to you as if it were the last time, you may find things in the moment that you would have otherwise missed.

Sail every sail, write every post, drink every beer as if it were your last.

Some day, it will be.

And Panadabonium philosophized...

There is only now. The past is gone, the future is not here...

When you sail your Laser, sail. Be in the present moment. Don't worry about "last sail". Just sail. When it ends, it will end. Nothing is permanent. Without ending there is no beginning. Without death, there is no life. These are not opposites, but two sides of the same coin.

Blog, sail, be happy.

And on Thursday, Simon Payne reminded us in Perspective that even a champion sailor like him knows how to be "in the present moment" and enjoy an evening of sailing for sailing's sake.

Today you have to race sailors who are bred to win world championships until the end of time, so given the need to make every second count it was a surprise when I experienced a wonderful evening in my Mach 2 on Tuesday night. I was the only Moth out, like I had been years before, and the harbour was empty. I was pleased that I wasn't too far gone to be reminded of the soulful beauty of foiling and occasionally low riding across the harbour...

It was just fabulous actually, I could have stayed out all night and very nearly did... it was great to briefly get away from the constant communication that evades our lives... Facebook... the constant news barrage... blogs... I swear one day it will be possible to die from binary exposure.

Mothing takes on many forms, and its "pick me up" ability is never lost on me...

Thanks guys.

And here are three more people that make me glad to alive.

Friday, July 23, 2010


It seems like every few days now I receive an email from some commercial website or other that suggests they would like to "sponsor my blog." Usually they request that I put a text link on my blog to their site, or sometimes they offer a link exchange.

Wait. Sponsorship involves some flow of funds or other resources from the sponsor to the sponsoree, right?

For a while I ignored these requests.

Then I started fending them off with replies such as...

Thank you for your interest in sponsoring my blog. Our standard rates for providing text links to other sites on Proper Course are $12,495 per year for a minimum commitment of three years, payable in advance.

Usually that shuts them up but one site did come back and offer something like a $100 discount on their advertisers' products, which as I recall were luxury cruises in the Med.

Sometimes I write back and ask them what compensation they have in mind. Usually they offer one or two hundred bucks and then I write back and say that my CFO (aka Tillerwoman) is insulted by their derisory offer.

I don't really want to clutter up my blog with text links to commercial sites that have little or no relevance to the subject of this blog. (Me.)

I don't really need the kind of money most of these people are offering.

On the other hand I am sometimes tempted to reply with a detailed budget for my 2011/2012 Laser "campaign" including new boat every year, new sail every major regatta, travel and living expenses for regattas in Florida, California, Europe and Australia, costs of "training camps" in Caribbean and Mexico, private coaching etc. etc. and offer them a more comprehensive return in exchange for 100% commitment to covering my campaign costs.

Are any of my readers receiving similar requests?

Do you have any creative ways for dealing with them?

Would you like me to forward future offers of "sponsorship" to you?

My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Last Time

An excellent post by the young fellow who writes Open Container II at Time of My Life in which he ponders the issue of whether we appreciate the happiest times of our lives when they are happening, "bucket boats" as in Bucket List, and whether his current boat will be his last boat.

It reminded me that I've meaning to write a post for some time on the subject of "the last time." There has to be a last time for everything we do in this life. The last time to run a marathon. The last time to go skiing. The last time I saw my father alive.

I don't mean "last" in the sense of "the last time I did it but one day I might do it again" but rather "the last time in this life I will ever have that experience."

As you grow older the chances are that you experience more and more of these "last times" but usually you don't know at the time that it is the last time, and sometimes you don't even know now.

For sure I will never see my father alive again. But will I go skiing again or run another marathon? Probably not, but you never know.

If you know it is the last time when you do it, does it change the quality of the experience? I think so. This is the last time I am ever going to sail at this club (before I move away.) This is the last time we will all enjoy a Christmas together at our old family home (before we sell it.) There's a certain poignancy when you know.

Will I always be a Laser sailor? Or will there be a time for the last Laser sail? Of course there has to be a last Laser sailing day, even if it is the one when I finally cheat the nursing home.

How will it happen? Will I decide one season that it's time to hang up my hiking boots and then choose one favorite regatta as my last Laser sailing experience?

Or will I come out of hibernation one winter and realize that I am finally too decrepit to hack it any more and that I have already had my last Laser sail?

Which would be the best way to finish it?

Will there be a last post on this blog? Inevitably, yes. It can't go on for ever. Will I just lose interest, run out of ideas for things to write about, stop for a few days, and then the days extend to weeks, months, years... ?

Or will I make a positive decision to end the blog?

I wonder what would be a good title for the last post?

Monday, July 19, 2010


Etiquette is a weird subject.

Different customs often mystify me.

For example...

Let's say you are sailing in a long Laser regatta. Currently you are trailing the leader by one point. In the final beat of one race you are sailing just behind the regatta leader in about 10-12 knots of breeze when he capsizes.

Do you...

(a) wait until he recovers from the capsize and then continue racing

(b) sail past him to gain at least one point on him in the overall regatta score.

(Note - there is no safety issue. Your competitor is in no danger.)

Of course the answer is (b). Capsizes are one of the risks of the game. Maybe he had some equipment failure or maybe he was clumsy or maybe it was just bad luck. Whatever the reason, you have every right to continue sailing and secure an advantage over him. You might need that point later in the regatta.

But... apparently in cycling the answer is (a). The cycling world is in uproar today because Albert Contador took the lead in the Tour de France when he didn't wait for Andy Schleck after Mr. Shleck's chain fell off. From what I can gather there is an "unspoken rule" in pro cycling that you don't take advantage of a fellow competitor's misfortune.

How strange!

I don't get it.

Can somebody please explain the reason for the different etiquette between the two sports. Is it because cycling is a kinder, gentler, more "gentlemanly" sport than sailing?

PS. No need to explain why George Bush is kissing that Saudi fellow in the picture. We all know exactly why he was doing that.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Noodling Around the Hog

A few days ago I wrote a post trying to explain why I like Laser sailing so much. I contrasted it with cruising in larger boats, those boats on which you can sleep, do the washing-up, maintain your winches, sand down your teak, and have a good shit if the mood takes you. I've never really wanted a boat on which I can do the washing-up.

I guess one of the commenters to that post misunderstood what I was saying. It wasn't meant to be an argument for racing vs cruising. It was really trying to explain why I enjoy little boats rather than those bigger boats on which you sleep and shit and do the washing-up. My confused commenter wrote...

Sometimes I like just noodling around, with maybe only one sail up and no particular place to go - something I think would drive most racers nuts.

For me, there's something magic about just being out there, just making a sailboat go - something very primal that I still don't quite understand.

Actually I agree with him. I like "just noodling around" too. Last Thursday I took my Laser over to Bristol (again) and just noodled around. Actually I sailed around Hog Island which is the island in the mouth of Bristol Harbor. It was downwind all the way until I rounded the lighthouse and then a nice long beat all the way around the south side of the Hog and back to the beach.

There was no purpose to it. I wasn't consciously working on any racing skills. It didn't drive me nuts. I was just making a sailboat go.

Very primal.


Does this mean I am not a real "racer"?

Or does it just mean I don't like washing up?

Jesus, It's Hot

Saturday, July 17, 2010


One of the best books ever written about the mental side of sports performance is Timothy Gallwey's The Inner Game of Tennis. It's not really about tennis; it's about how to overcome such obstacles as anxiety, self-doubt, and lapses of concentration, lessons that are applicable to almost any sport. It's hard to credit that the book was first published 35 years ago. It was sports psychology before anyone knew there was such a thing as sports psychology.

Maybe his ideas would be useful in sailing? Let's see.

One of Gallwey's concepts is that there are two voices in your head, Self 1 and Self 2. Self 1 is that voice is that is always telling you what to do. "Hike harder." "Sail it flat." "Don't pinch." But who is Self 1 talking to? He is talking to Self 2, the doer, the self that is actually sailing the boat.

Actually Self 2 is a pretty good sailor. He can do it unconsciously if Self 1 would just let him. But Self 1 is always shouting at Self 2 and telling him what to do and making him feel stupid. (Sounds to me a bit like some married couples who sail together.)

Self 1 doesn't trust Self 2. Self 1 tries too hard. Self 1 distracts Self 2 from doing what he can do perfectly well, sail the boat.

So what to do? We need to find some way to stop Self 1 from interfering and shouting at Self 2 so much. In his book, Gallwey writes about a coaching session where he he told a tennis student, who was having difficulty hitting the ball on the strings of the racket, simply to concentrate on the seams of the tennis ball. Don't think about your feet, or your swing, or where your racket is hitting the ball. Don't think about making contact. Don't even try to hit the ball. Just concentrate on the seams on the ball and let your racket hit the ball where it wants to.

Her ability to hit the ball cleanly improved dramatically.

Is this relevant to sailing? I think so. Especially for a single-handed racer sailor, the ability to sail the boat unconsciously is vital. You need to be able to make the boat sail fast in the groove without having to think about it. Then your conscious mind can concentrate on strategy and tactics and what the wind is doing and where the opposition is and how to beat that guy.

Is this why sailing coaches tell us something like, "Look at the water two boatlengths ahead and one boatlength to windward"? Maybe it's so we can see waves and puffs coming. Or maybe it's more like watching the seams on the tennis ball.

Wednesday afternoon last week I went out and did just that. Sailed a long, long beat doing nothing but concentrating on that spot on the water. Not telling myself anything about how to sail. Just staring at the water. Seeing the ripples on the wavelets on the chop. Seeing the light patterns. Losing myself in the concentration on the water.

Did I sail better? Is this how you achieve that elusive goal of a tenth of a knot more boatspeed?

Who knows?

I live in hope.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's All BP's Fault

On Sunday, Jimmy Buffett performed a free concert that drew thousands of people to the Gulf Shores of Alabama. Jimmy even sang a very special version of "Margaritaville".

Whose fault is it again Jimmy?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Coming up Next

Looks like Narragansett Bay is in for some rain and thunderstorms early this evening.

Hmmmm. Not too good for Tuesday night Laser racing in Bristol.

To go or not to go. That is the question.

Fish on Tuesday

A 15-foot great white shark was spotted at 5 p.m. on Sunday chasing seals into shallow water south of Nauset Beach on Cape Cod, a popular destination for local mermaids. As of now, none of the nearby beaches have been closed to swimmers but a notice suggests that "beachgoers and swimmers pay close attention to their surroundings while in the water and to not venture too far from shore."

The U.S. Coast Guard has also warned that a great white shark could easily capsize a small boat or kayak and could find a splashing paddle or dangling hand inviting. The agency advised against paddling near or through concentrations of seals and seal colonies.

Today's Mermaid

Monday, July 12, 2010

How to be British

We British are famous for our reserve, our modesty, our tendency to apologize a lot, our propensity for understatedness. You may have noticed some of that here on my blog... although I'm really not very good at it.

Check out this post for some superb examples of how to be British. The author is summing up an event in which he has just sailed. He says he felt "back in the groove a bit", but concedes that he has "some work to do on some less than perfect aspects" of his game. He says "you never stop learning", and apologizes to the harbour master - "I may have called him a Knob Head."

Oddly, the author doesn't mention how he finished in the regatta. It is current Moth World Champion Simon Payne and his post is actually about the recent UK Moth Nationals - which he won convincingly.

Hope that was OK. Not much of a post really. Sorry.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Leaves You Satisfied... and Wanting More

The problem with Laser sailing (at least for me) is that every time I go sailing I come off the water feeling satisfied with my day... and yet... and yet I still want more.

I guess it's not really a problem. It's a feature.

But the observation got me pondering about the different kinds of experiences...

First of all there are the bad ones. Like breaking your leg, poking yourself in the eye with a stick, getting stung by a bee, or listening to Barry Manilow. Nobody ever says after doing one of these things, "Hmmm, that was fun. Now I wonder if it would be even more fun to poke the stick in my other eye?"

Then there are two kinds of good experiences: the ones you are quite happy to experience once and be done with it; and the kinds that leave you satisfied... and yet wanting more.

In the latter category are such things as having sex, drinking beer and playing sudoku (not necessarily simultaneously.)

Most people don't say after having sex for the first time, "Hmmm, that was OK I guess. Well I've done it now. No need to do it again." No, most folk think, "Wow! Why didn't anybody explain it was this good? When can I have some more?"

Beer, in some ways, is even better than sex. Nobody expects you to stick with the same brand of beer your whole life. Nobody calls you depraved if you drink three beers every day in different places with different people. Nobody thinks it weird if you have a beer on an airplane. It leaves you satisfied... and yet wanting more.

Sudoku... well, I wouldn't say it is better than beer or sex. But I am always satisfied when I solve a sudoku puzzle... and yet I always want to do another one. I guess it's not for everyone though.

But there are some good(ish) experiences that do generate that response of, "Gee, that was pretty OK, I guess. I'm sort of glad I did it. Don't really feel the need to do it again though." In this category I would place such adventures as watching the New England Patriots play at Gillette Stadium, visiting the Great Wall of China, and staying a weekend in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is a very fine city if you like that kind of thing. It has a lot of history and museums and stuff. It has a rather fine old cracked bell with my name on it. It has some major professional sports teams, including a baseball team that lost to my favorite team in the World Series last year. It has a sandwich containing steak and melted cheese that some people say they like. It has a couple of rivers. It even has a Laser fleet. Tillerwoman and I spent a weekend there a few years back. It was good. But it left me with no urge to repeat the experience in this lifetime. Not at all like sex, or beer... or even sudoku.

I have to say that the sort of sailing known as "cruising" is in the same category as visiting Philadelphia for me. By cruising I mean going for a sail on a boat of length in the 30-50 foot range on which you cook and eat and do washing-up and sleep and shit and pee with a group of close friends and/or family for a period of more than one day and in which you attempt to sail from point A to point B and perhaps back to point A without racing other boats and with no other purpose in mind other than to enjoy going from point A to point B and perhaps back to point A and to do some boat maintenance along the way.

I've done that. I had a friend who was a serious ocean-going cruiser who had crossed the Atlantic in his boat a couple of times and retraced Viking routes etc. etc. He took me and some other friends out on his boat one weekend. It was very kind of him. It was an interesting(ish) experience. I learned a lot, such as what a winch looks like when you take it to pieces and how to shit on a boat. But it didn't leave me wanting to do it again. Any more than I particularly want to see that bell in Philadelphia again. Been there, done that.

Laser sailing, on the other hand, is more like sex or beer than Philadelphia. Even an iffy sort of day like the racing last Tuesday evening leaves me satisfied... and yet wanting more.

So I went sailing again on Wednesday. But that's another story for another post.

Honey... are you in the mood for a bit of sudoku?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Spot On Perfect

At the Wickford Regatta a few weeks ago, the chairman of the jury came up to me and said, "I need to thank you."

"Uh oh!" I thought. What have I done now? Have I accidentally volunteered to serve on a protest committee, or act as a witness, or made some other terrible faux pas?

Apparently not. He had worked out that the old geezer thrashing around at the back of the Laser fleet was the same person as the venerable Tillerman, and he wanted to thank me for writing this blog.

This blew me away. I find it amazing, but very gratifying, that anyone would want to "thank" me for the drivel I write here.

Then today I received an email from someone who calls himself or herself BlueVark. As well as another totally undeserved thank you, the letter lays out the case better than I possibly could for why folk in mid-life should take up Lasering.

There's nothing in your face about it, but the balance ... is spot on perfect.

Thank you BlueVark.


Thank you for your blog - it has been an inspiration to me.

I used to sail a Laser in my teens, and have recently got back into single handed sailing after many years (I did not sail at all for 20 years). Unfortunately I listened to the whispers, both in my own head and from others:

- "The Laser is a young man's boat"
- "You are too old for a Laser (mid-40's)"
- "You want a boat you can sit 'in' not 'on'"

And so I tried other boats. Most recently I have been sailing a Solo. I found myself floating around at the back of the fleet, I was not enjoying my sailing, I was close to packing it in.

I had found and read your blog so, when a month or so ago the Solo was briefly out of commission I decided to get the Laser on the water - the same Laser I had sailed in my teens and kept stored in a garage for years. I went out on a windy (but not overpowering) day and... What a blast! What Fun!

I came off the water more tired than I can remember, a bit sore and bruised, but with a great big grin on my face. Yes I capsized on a reach to reach gybe, but righted quickly and off again. Screaming along on a broad reach I simply whooped for joy.

I have now started racing the Laser at my club. My results are already better than in my Solo and above all I am enjoying my sailing again. I am looking forward to getting fitter, sailing better and improving my race results, but above all I look forward to having fun.



Quirky Enough to be Unique

Wallpaper* Magazine wanted a boat and it had to be a design classic. So they called on ocean-loving designer Marian Bantjes to produce plans for a graphically enhanced Laser, and she delivered a stunning design that references the cubist patterns of the First and Second World War 'dazzle' naval camouflage.

You might think this Laser is "quirky enough to be unique". But actually, twelve of these works of art are available to order for £10,000 each. See Wallpaper* for more details.

PS. It was my birthday this week. Just in case you were wondering what to buy for the man who has everything.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Myth Busted

The popularity of Tuesday night Laser racing in Bristol Harbor is based on a myth. The myth is that, just like in Lake Wobegon, on Tuesday nights in Bristol all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and the winds are always above average.

Well, I'm not going to argue with the first two claims... but I do have reason to question the last one. Those who are supposedly in the know have been telling me that every Tuesday night last year it blew like stink, blew dogs off chains, blew koalas off trees... (insert own favorite metaphor for 40 knot winds here).

I suppose it may have been true last year, but it wasn't true yesterday. It was the hottest day of the year (so far). My lawn was visibly turning brown as I looked at it. Windsurfers were putting ice cream in their hair to stay cool. Kayakers were fantasizing about something called "cold". It was bloody hot.

So I went sailing.

As usual, I was first to arrive at the beach and was ready to launch before all the poor sods that have to work for a living showed up. So I went out on my own and played around in about 5-8 knots from the south. I'm pretty sure that the informal SIs say we meet outside the the moorings at 5:30pm but at that time I was still the only one out there.

By about 6:00 pm, the wind had swung round to the SE which was not a good sign, and 7 or 8 other refugees from the air-conditioning had joined me. I volunteered to be the rabbit for the first race to get things moving along. I was called back twice because the other weren't ready (they said) but eventually we were racing and I came third in the first race.

We race windward leeward courses with the finish being a rounding of the leeward mark as if starting another beat. One of the things I am gradually getting wise to (I'm a bit slow on the uptake on such matters) is that the good guys in this fleet are very aggressive at that finish/ leeward mark. My attitude in the first few weeks was kind of, "Ho hum, if I happen to be outside at the finish mark it's no big deal." But the talent treat it just like a real leeward mark and tend to pull off one of those last minute tricky tactical moves to secure the inside position. It's good practice for the real thing after all. So on that first race I did the same and surprised the sailor inside me by gybing, heading up fast across his transom, and securing an inside overlap just as we entered the zone. Woo hoo.

Then things went pear shaped.

I was feeling lazy in the heat and made a poor start in the second race. Rounded the first mark somewhere in the middle of the fleet but then got all discombobulated on the run, chasing all over the course for reasons I totally forget, and sailing into a hole, and then aiming for the wrong mark... and... and... to cut a long story short I was dead last. It was the heat. Must have been.

And the wind had died. Less than 2 knots. Totally crapped out.

I was kind of hanging out waiting for wind, when I noticed everyone else sailing off towards the shore, almost as if they were racing. Had they started a third race while I was asleep? I never did find out but I did get some excellent light air practice trying to catch them and succeeded in passing a couple of boats.

The wind never improved.

Myth busted.

We "sailed" back to the beach. I did win that race. Beer is a great motivator.

Then off for burgers and beer at the upstairs outside deck at Aidan's Pub.

The conversation ranged far and wide over such topics as the foibles of all the other sailors who didn't show up this week (fair game after all), the relative merits of Aidan's and the other restaurant we frequent, why soccer and cycling make good TV and sailing doesn't, and the big question of the evening....

"Did Lance do drugs?"

I was surprised to discover that almost all the members of the party except me had strong (and conflicting) views on the "Did Lance do drugs?" matter based on, as far as I could see, almost no evidence whatsoever. I felt like I had stumbled into a religious debate.

Anyway, the myth is busted, I still have no idea whether Lance did drugs, and there is no doubt that Aidan's Pub makes great burgers.

And so to bed.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Beer is Better

We sailors knew it all along.

It's part of our tradition.

But now some Spanish scientists have proved it.

Beer is better for you after a workout than water.