Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year Resolutions 2012

Drink less wine, drink more beer.
Sail less alone, sail more with friends.
Be a fanatic.

Sit less, move more.
Blog less, sail more.
Let go.

Eat less broccoli, eat more bananas.
Think less, play more.
Never grow up.

Plan less, dream more.
Focus less, explore more.
Amaze myself.

Friday, December 30, 2011


They scoffed at me when I wrote about Safety for solo Laser sailing and suggested that carrying a praddle might not be a bad idea. But bonnie from frogma went Sunfish sailing in the chilly waters off Brooklyn today and what's that we see on her foredeck? A praddle!

Good for you bonnie.

Funny Old Year

It's been a funny old year...

In January I didn't do any Laser sailing but I was blogging up a storm. The month started with a post about my friend Antolin sitting on a toilet holding a toilet plunger and ended up with some nonsense about how I would like to be a jellyfish. In between I did write one or two serious post about the state of Laser sailing in the world including a much commented post on the topic of Fairness.

In February I didn't do any Laser sailing but was blogging away like crazy on such diverse topics as Coarse Sailing and debating the pros and cons of whether I should go to the 2011 Laser Masters Worlds in San Francisco. We also had fun with one of our most popular group writing projects ever, this time on the topic of Navigation. You can see all 25 entries here. You the readers voted the entry by Bonnie of Frogma as the one you liked the most. As we all know she is Buoy Crazy.

In March I didn't do any Laser sailing, and you can see from my blogging that month that the deprivation was beginning to affect my mind. I went on a wild spree of writing over twenty consecutive posts inspired by titles and lyrics of Simon and Garfunkel songs. What was I thinking? One of the few serious posts that month was about a major issue facing the Laser Class that might force us to split into Three Laser Classes. In spite of the best efforts by our class leadership, this issue is still unresolved today.

For the first three weeks of April I didn't go Laser sailing. By this time my Laser sailing withdrawal symptoms were getting serious and I was even crabby to one of my dear online friends, who kindly recommended a dinghy fix as treatment for my crabbiness. God it was good to get back in the boat again, even if I was pretty Rusty. One of the most popular posts in April was a post about Safety in which I discussed all manner of possible safety equipment that might be carried by anyone who is crazy enough to go off sailing his Laser alone on the ocean wide.

I only sailed my Laser once in May and my blog suffered even more from the mental distress this lack of dinghy fixes was causing. I rambled on about extinct Olympic sports and Pippa Middleton's bottom, until in the middle of the month I turned the blog post writing function over to my readers by starting a group writing project, challenging participants to write boating related posts inspired by the titles or lyrics of Beatles' songs. This time there were 34 inventive, amazing entries - 28 here and 6 more here.

In June I blogged less and sailed my Laser more. About bloody time! With the Laser Masters Atlantic Coasts coming up at the end of month I got in several days of practice sailing, including my famous (well it will be one day) cameo appearance in the movie Moonrise Kingdom. The Masters regatta turned out to be a bit of an anticlimax for me after an attack of the dreaded finger cramps. Damn! Damn! Damn!

In July I went Laser sailing on 13 days. Woo hoo! Life is back to normal. Or what I wish "normal" was. I practiced a different technique aimed at avoiding the dreaded finger cramps as recommended by the wise old man of Lake Eustis. I played in the waves off Little Compton. I did the Newport Regatta and found my groove (well I did in one race!) I sailed in the Lipton Cup in Quincy and discovered the joys of not playing the Red Sox. I played Lake Sailing Roulette at Lake Massapoag.  Sometimes I went for a bit of a yot on Tuesday evenings in Bristol, including the evening we went searching for the mythical Red Can. And then at the end of the month I sailed the three day Hyannis Regatta, perhaps the most rewarding regatta of the year.

After Hyannis, I enjoyed a few days with my grandkids on the beach on Cape Cod, and then the first weekend of August I did the three day Buzzards Bay Regatta. There was a frustrating light wind day when you had to remember to Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, a classic Buzzards Bay hikefest day, and a day that was a washout. That's sailing for you. After Buzzards Bay, I took it easy in August with a bit of local sailing and some Tuesday evenings in Bristol, while some of my buddies were off in San Francisco performing all sorts of heroics.

In September I went off to Europe and had a couple of marvelous weeks at Minorca Sailing. I had one very productive week working with an excellent Laser coach who helped me fix various flaws in my technique, and in the second week I got to play in some of my  dream boats such as the Laser SB3 and the RS100. I could have blogged a lot more than I did about the whole experience... but I didn't.

The first weekend in October I sailed in the Last Blast Regatta at Quannapowitt YC and surprised all my buddies and myself by winning the first race! Woo hoo! I guess that coach in Menorca knew what he was talking about? Later that month I ran the Newport Half Marathon.

In November I went out racing with the Newport Frostbite Fleet on the first week of the season, and made a lot of my male readers very happy because that was my 43rd day of Laser sailing this year. The next weekend I ran in the inaugural Citizens Bank Newport Pell Bridge Run, and a few days later celebrated the happiest event of the year. After a few posts stirring up some debate about helmets for sailors, I wrote a Thank You post to all my readers and decided to stop blogging.

In December, Tillerwoman and I had a wonderful vacation at the Bitter End Yacht Club in the BVI. There was Laser sailing. There was racing. There was rum when I won. There was lots of sailing and kayaking with Tillerwoman. There was beer can racing, and there was beer even when we didn't win. I didn't blog about any of it.

It's been a funny old year.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Thank you to all the people who have read this blog at some time or other since I started it almost 7 years ago. There wouldn't have been much point in writing 2,143 posts if nobody ever read them.

Thank you to everyone who has left comments on this blog, even to those of you who chose to remain anonymous and even to those of you who chose to insult me. Hey, at least I got a reaction. But a special warm "Thank You" to all of you who entertained me with your helpful suggestions and amusing comments and provocative arguments.

Thank you to all the people who have subscribed to the blog in one form or another. It has amazed me that so many people have wanted to read my drivel.

Thank you to all the people who write the blogs that I read. Some of you have been acknowledged in my blogroll. A few of you were even honored in one of my occasional Top Ten Blog lists. I have learned so much about boating and blogging and writing and life generally from reading your blogs.

Thank you to those who have become friends over the years. I've met a few of you, but there are so many more that I only know through our online interactions. Maybe we will meet in person one day soon.

Thank You.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Larry Looking Cool

Even Larry Ellison wears a helmet when they let him steer the boat!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dreaming About Laser Sailing

I have been searching for a while for a photo to illustrate what I was talking about a few days ago in my post about how to hold your hands when sailing a Laser upwind. The recommendation from my instructor in Menorca was to keep your hands in front of you, with the sheet hand high so that you can easily dump the sheet in a puff by straightening then arm while still holding the sheet.

My friend Antolin pointed out that this picture of my new granddaughter Isabel Grace (born on Wednesday) illustrates it perfectly. She is a natural! She must be dreaming about Laser sailing!

If the Laser Class doesn't self destruct in the next 20 years I see a bright future for her on the Laser Radial scene.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Tiller Extension

The suspense is over. A new tiller extension was delivered just after midnight. Heading down to Connecticut this morning to check her out. Details and photos will be posted later.

Update: Isabel Grace. Born 12:18am 11/16/11. 8lbs 3oz. Mother and baby doing fine. My second granddaughter and fourth grandchild.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Oh The Suspense

Photo credit: Bird's Eye View Helicopters

The Newport Pell Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in New England, and perhaps one of the most recognizable landmarks in Rhode Island. It spans the Eastern Passage of Narragansett Bay between Jamestown and Newport. According to Wikipedia, which is never wrong, its overall length is 11,247 ft, its main towers reach 400 ft above the water surface, and the roadway height reaches as high as 215 ft. Didn't know that, did you?

It's not usually open to pedestrians or cyclists but today, very early today, it was open for the Inaugural Citizens Bank Newport Pell Bridge Run, a 4 mile road race from Jamestown to Newport. I signed up for this run almost as soon as it was announced, for three reasons I guess...

  1. I thought it would be cool to run the bridge.
  2. It would be a chance to cross the bridge without having to pay those damn tolls, and, as I am a mean old bastard, that appealed to me.
  3. If I signed up very early I would get a low bib number and all the pretty girls doing the race would wonder if I was some superfit elite runner and would come and chat me up.

So I got up at o'dark thirty this morning, ate some breakfast (a banana, a bagel and some coffee) and said goodbye to Tillerwoman...

"Sorry to wake you up so early, dear. You must be crazy for putting up with me."

"No. You're the crazy one."

She was right. As usual.

Drove down to Newport in the dark on empty roads. Took the shuttle bus to Jamestown in the dark. Stood in queue in the dark for porta potties. Used porta potty in the dark. Grabbed another coffee in the dark. And it was time for the start.

According to Newport Betty, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse addressed the 2,500 runners before the start of the race and told us that, "Anything worth doing is worth getting up in the middle of the night for," or words to that effect. Somehow I missed those words of inspiration. Maybe that was when I was in the porta potty doing what I usually get up in the middle of the night for. Or perhaps when that pretty girl was asking me why I had such a low bib number.

I was so far back in the pack, I hardly heard the starting gun, but eventually we stragglers ambled across the start line and started jogging up the approach road and up through the toll booths (no charge today - woo hoo!) and up on to the bridge and up to the crest of the bridge. There did seem to be a lot of "up" involved.

Photo credit: Newport Betty

I kept a steady pace up with no walking and passed a lot of fat girls walking up the bridge and a few fat boys walking up the bridge. It must have really hurt to see this old geezer, three times their age, jogging past them with only the occasional wheeze and snort.

The sun was rising as we ran and was shining in our eyes. There were spectacular views of the natural amphitheater of Narragansett Bay and the iconic Newport waterfront. You never really get a chance to stop and smell the roses and admire the view when you are driving over the bridge. Actually I didn't spot any roses today either.

After what seemed like only about 13 miles of uphill we were at the top.

Photo credit: George Ross Sports Photography

Woo hoo! It's all downhill from here.

Photo credit: Newport Betty

Actually it wasn't all downhill from there. There was another small hill after we exited the bridge, but then it was round a bend to be welcomed by the massive cheering crowds on the ironically named Farewell Street. There must have been dozens of spectators. I was overtaking other runners again on this stretch. I guess I must have saved a bit of energy for the last mile, and the finish came up faster than I expected. Always better than the other way round.

Grabbed a bottle of water and walked the few yards back to the car which was parked opposite the Brick Alley Pub, the traditional location for the Newport meet-ups of watery bloggers. And so home to see the beautiful Tillerwoman (who was just getting up) and a second breakfast of a bacon and mushroom omelet.

Life is good.


I don't know much anything about rowing... but isn't there something wrong here?

What's It All About Alfie?

Sometimes in all the discussion on this blog about disputes among Laser builders, and class rules, and Racing Rules, and tactics, and strategy, and boat-handling tricks, and fitness etc. etc. it's easy to forget what sailing is really all about.

This picture (which I stole from the Facebook page of a friend of a friend of a friend or something) reminds me.

My first Laser had a sail just like that.

I never had a yellow Laser but I did have an orange one.

I used to take my sons and random kids we met on holiday for rides just like that.

Though I never took a dog on a Laser.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Am I Nuts?

Am I nuts?

A few months ago I signed up for the Inaugural Newport Pell Bridge Run, which is a four mile run from Jamestown to Newport across the East Passage of Narragansett Bay via the two mile long Newport Pell Bridge (which is normally not open to pedestrians.) It seemed like a pretty cool idea at the time. The bridge is one of the best know landmarks around here. And the views from the top of the bridge of Narragansett Bay and Newport are spectacular (not to say iconic.)

I guess I didn't read the small print very closely. The start of the race is at 6:30 am, I have to pick up the shuttle bus from Newport to the start at 5:30, which means I will have to leave home around 4:45, which in turn means I will have to get up around 4:00 am.


But wait. It gets worse.

The race is tomorrow. A Sunday! A Sunday during the Newport Laser fleet frostbiting season! I never thought of that complication.

So let's see, if I can run the race and get back to the car by 7:30 say, I can be home and showered and ready for (a second) breakfast by 8:30-9:00, rest for an hour or two, and then head back down to Newport at 11-ish to be in time to rig and launch my Laser in time for the first start at 1:00 pm.

Not a problem.


Let's see. What's the weather forecast for tomorrow?

SW winds 10 to 15 kt with gusts up to 25 kt. waves 2 to 3 ft.

Pretty good Laser sailing weather. But it's sure to be a little... ummm... strenuous, to say the least. Not exactly a relaxing Sunday afternoon's doddle round the bay. And I will be doing it after getting up at 4am and slogging across that bloody bridge. That bloody, iconic bridge.

Is this a good idea at my age?

Am I nuts?

Friday, November 11, 2011


Quote of the Week

"I sat down and wrote the two versions of my own obituary, the one that I wanted, and the one that I was heading for, and realized that working in an office cubicle was definitely not the legacy I wanted to leave to the world."

Roz Savage - explaining why at the age of 33 she decided to give up her humdrum life as a management consultant and go break all kinds of records for solo rowing across oceans. From this article by Tim Zimmerman.

Three Weeks From Now...

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Captions Please

I know that many of my readers love to make fun of Laser sailors. So here is your chance. This photo is just asking for a snarky caption.

Go for it.

Sunday, November 06, 2011


Today was the first day of the Newport Kirby Sailboat Fleet frostbite season and my 43rd day of sailing my Kirby Sailboat this year. (I guess that's not strictly true. For the first 41 sails of the year I thought my boat was called a Laser, but apparently it's really a Kirby Sailboat. At least that's what Bruce Kirby, the boat's designer says, and I guess he should know.)

We had a crack race committee headed up by Moose McClintock so the start line was just the right length, the beat was square to the wind, and the courses kept changing to maximize the fun.

It was windier than I expected. The mark roundings were just as crowded and as chaotic as I expected. There wasn't as much shouting as I expected. I had more fun than I expected.

I had one really good race, at least one other really good start, and one really stupid capsize... and I didn't hit anybody else or any buoys, but there were one or two close misses in the latter category.

I packed it in before the afternoon was over. I wasn't totally exhausted but I was physically tired enough that I could feel myself losing the necessary focus, concentration and aggression to keep racing properly so I quit, I wimped out, I called it a day. Hey, I'm 63. I'm allowed.

The day of frostbiting left me satisfied but wanting more.. like sex, beer and sudoku and not at all like cruising and visiting Philadelphia.

This post is called Ida because our start line was just off Ida Lewis Yacht Club. The lady in the photo with 43 on her chest is not called Ida, as far as I know. She is there because a lot of my male readers get excited every year when I do my 43rd sail and I wouldn't want to disappoint them by not posting the photo of the lady who isn't called Ida.

And so home for a soak in a hot bath and a delicious meal of lamb chops and fresh veggies and gravy with Tillerwoman, whom I met 40 years ago today. Life is good.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

And They Are Off!

Woo hoo! Spanish shoe company leads German shoe company and Spanish telecommunications company as the fleet heads for the Straits of Gibraltar.

Mushroom Goes Kirby Sailboating

I wrote a couple of posts, Three Laser Classes and Messy, six months ago about the battle currently raging in LaserWorld between some of the boat builders, the class and the designer. I won't bore you with all the details but things haven't gotten any better since then.

To try and extricate itself from the mess, the class leadership proposed to change our Fundamental Rule which, depending on who you believe, was necessary to prevent the end of Laser sailing as we now know it... or would actually cause the end of Laser sailing as we now know it. The debate raged on and off for months in various forums. From my perspective we poor Laser class members were never told enough to know what the hell was really going on, and what we were told often later proved to be wrong or in conflict with other information. One of our number (a chap who is usually well informed and sure of his opinions) posted on the Laser Forum in exasperation a few days ago...

That which I thought was going on, that which I currently believe is going on, and that which is actually going on are almost certainly three different scenarios.

My sentiments entirely.

The designer of the boat, Bruce Kirby, had a letter published on Scuttlebutt a few days ago to argue his position on the issues in which he announced, totally out of the blue...

The official name for the Laser is the KIRBY SAILBOAT.

What? What the hell does that mean? Our boat has been sailing under the wrong name for the last forty years? Or you have just decided to rename it? And, if so why? No doubt it's all tied up with this complicated dispute about who owns what rights, and who owes who what, and whether a Laser by any other name would smell as sweet... or something.

Then someone posted...

We are all mushroom sailors.

Kept in the dark and fed on bullshit for anyone who doesn't get the allusion.

We sure are. So on Thursday this mushroom took his Kirby Sailboat over to Bristol Harbor and went sailing. The wind was blowing out of the SW at 10-15 knots and the water temperature was... ummm... refreshing. The spray definitely stings a bit more in November than it does in August. I played in the waves for an hour or so and tried to forget about the disaster that is happening in LaserWorld. Worst case, if the sky really does fall and Lasering as we know it dies an ugly death, I can always buy an RS100.

And so home to Tillerwoman and a steaming bowl of clam chowder. Life is good.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sea Sail

Fornells Bay (bottom right hand corner of map above) the home waters of Minorca Sailing, must be one of the best locations for dinghy sailing on the planet. Two and a half miles long and about three quarters of a mile wide at its widest point, it is big enough for serious fun without being so big that you are ever out of sight of Minorca Sailing's rescue boats. And when the wind blows from the north - I think they call it the tramontana in those parts - and you can surf the waves zigzagging down the full length of the bay - well it's just dinghy sailing heaven.

But it is a bay. And sometimes even we dinghy sailors crave to sail on the open ocean - or the Mediterranean Sea in this case. Thankfully, Minorca Sailing recognize this and usually organize a group "sea sail" out of the bay once a week. I remember on one of our first visits to Minorca Sailing 30 years ago going out of the bay in 470s and encountering swells that made the other members of our fleet disappear from view in the troughs. What's the height of a 470 mast? As a newcomer to sailing I was blown away by the experience, not realizing I would never sail in such waves again for many years. And on our visit last year, we sailed out of the bay and over towards Cala Tirant and the wild headland to the northwest.

Of course, Minorca Sailing only allow their clients to go on the sea sail when conditions are suitable. Not on a day like this, for example...

I don't think I would want to sail a Laser through the narrow entrance to the bay in those waves!

On the Wednesday of the first week of our vacation in Menorca a sea sail was scheduled. Tom, our instructor, gave our Laser class a lesson on all those tricky back and forth shoulder movements that Laser sailors do in waves, but it was all to no avail. The winds were very light. There were no waves. We did enjoy a long sail in patchy light winds to just outside the bay entrance. But as soon as we poked our noses out of the bay it was time to sail back for lunch.

The winds were light for the afternoon racing too. I won the first race because of my superior wind sense and tactical ability not to mention my amazing light wind boat-handling skills... and lost the second race to some kid who was 55 pounds lighter than me which made him about 5% faster on every offwind leg. Well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. It could have been luck in both races, I guess.

On balance it was the least interesting and least blogworthy day of the whole vacation, but back home a day like this would have ranked as one of the most enjoyable sailing days of the year.

After lying down for an hour or two to demonstrate my amazing willpower not to do too much, Tillerwoman and I walked to Fornells where we enjoyed a langosta paella washed down with some local wine I would guess. Mmmm.

And so to bed...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Knees Up

As I was saying before I got diverted to blogging about half marathon running and fantasizing about big wave sailing that never happened, I spent two weeks at Minorca Sailing last month and had only got as far as telling you about the third day there.

On the fourth day, our regular instructor in the Advanced Laser Class, Tom, was back on the job and we were joined by a couple of renegade students from the Advanced Asymmetric Class. The forecast was for Beaufort 5 and 6 gusting to 7, which in terms more familiar to knotty sailors is 17-27 knots gusting to 33.

Woo hoo! What did I just say? 33 knots? OMG!

Tom gave us a briefing about heavy air technique, most of which I knew before but had never been very good at executing. He also spent more time explaining something he had mentioned two days previously: how to sit in the boat when sailing downwind.

Anyone not interested in reading 3,000 words about how to sit in a Laser may want to skip to the end of this post for the food section...

I thought I knew how to sit in a Laser, but apparently not. For many years my downwind technique has been to have my back calf tucked under the toestrap, my back knee on the floor of the cockpit jammed against the leeward cockpit wall and my front knee alongside the daggerboard (at least in light winds.) I held the tiller extension so it ran along my forearm. This always felt very stable and locked-in.

But apparently that is all wrong. Kurt Taulbee at SailFit a few years back tried to encourage me to keep my weight on the soles of my feet but I never really got the the hang of that. It felt terribly unstable.

Now Tom returned to the thankless task of teaching Tillerman how to sit properly in the boat. Tom described it as the "knees up" style, but that's pretty much the same as what Kurt was saying. Feet on the cockpit floor =  knees up...

(I never knew Petula Clark and Noel Harrison were Laser sailors.)

Tom had another twist on downwind technique. He recommended putting the tiller extension down on the leeward deck and holding it there, so that you are not waggling the rudder about so much as in the extension-under-the-arm style. And he was big on sitting sideways in the boat, rather than facing diagonally forwards as I used to. His logic for this is that you need to be frequently looking back when sailing downwind because that's where the wind is coming from. And it's much easier to look back if you are facing sideways than if you are twisted around facing forwards. As Sam Chapin would say LASERS LOOK BACK.

All very logical, but did I want to experiment with a different style in 33 knots? So I took the easy way out and asked to sail a Radial rig (as did the rest of the class.) We sailed up and down and back and forth all over the bay and gybed and tacked in the heaviest wind of the holiday and I did sail with my knees up and I didn't capsize. Tom was right - of course - it is easier to balance the boat and avoid the dreaded death roll when you have your weight over your feet. Holding the tiller extension on the deck felt strange at first but I could see how it avoided unnecessary rudder movement. And I did look back.

In the afternoon racing I won both races using the knees up style (in a full rig Laser.)

After lying down for an hour or two to demonstrate my amazing willpower not to do too much, Tillerwoman and I walked in to the local village of Fornells where I enjoyed a plate of assorted grill fish washed down with some local wine. Mmmm. And so to bed...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Third Beach Wave Fest This Weekend?

The 2011 Laser New England Masters at Third Beach, Newport happened while I was in Europe but, by all accounts, I didn't miss much. There was fog and light winds and they only managed to complete three races.

But.... check out the wind forecast for the end of this week. Heavy winds from the south and the south-west starting Wednesday night and continuing into Friday.

Should be enough to build up some big juicy swells in the mouth of the Sakonnet for Friday and they could well still be there on Saturday morning. Classic Third Beach sailing conditions.

Might even be as good as that late October day three years ago that I wrote about in Fat Boy and Little Man.

I wonder if I can persuade any of my friends to join me for a Third Beach Wave Fest followed by a pitcher of beer, bowls of chowder, fried oysters and clams at Flo's?

Newport Half Marathon

On Sunday I ran the Newport Amica Half Marathon. What a glorious day! And what a spectacular course!

We started at 8am at Easton's Beach as the sun just poked over a bank of low cloud that had obscured it at sunrise. Just after mile 2 we were at the southern end of Newport Harbor and the course carried on past Ida Lewis and Newport Yacht Clubs before taking a detour down to Brenton Cove at Fort Adams for another splendid view of the harbor. At mile 6 we passed Castle Hill and were treated with breathtaking views across Narragansett Bay to Point Judith. The next 3 or 4 miles snaked along Ocean Drive, surely one of the most magnificent ocean roads in the country. Then it was up Bellevue Avenue past all the Newport mansions and down the back roads through Salve Regina University before a most welcome downhill jog down Memorial Boulevard to the finish back at Easton's Beach. Wow!

The course was wonderful. My performance... not so wonderful, mainly because I hadn't properly trained for this event. My first half marathon in 2007 was only about a month after I ran the London Marathon so 13.1 miles was a piece of cake after doing over 26+ miles so recently. Then when I did two half marathons in the spring of last year I had religiously followed a half-marathon training program doing long runs of successively 8,10,12,14 miles on alternate weeks prior to the first half-marathon.

This summer my training was a bit more sporadic and a lot more random, partly because I let sailing interfere with running. If I did a hard 3-day Laser regatta at the weekend I didn't feel up to a long training run only a few days later... and then the next week I had the same excuse... and the next week... and so on. I did complete a 12 mile and a 13 mile run during the summer but I fear that any training effect from those runs has long worn off by now. Then I only did a few short runs during our recent 3-week trip to Europe (see terrible warning about old dudes avoiding over-exertion on sailing holidays.) I have done one 10-mile run since that vacation (and a few shorter ones.) I feared it wouldn't be enough for me to run yesterday's half marathon at anything near the pace of any of my other efforts... and I was right.

Things were going good for the first 8 or 9 miles. I was relaxed and running a slightly slower pace than my last half-marathon. But mile 9 was hard... and mile 10 was even tougher. Then I totally lost it. I just couldn't run more than 2 or 3 minutes at a time, and I must have walked as much as I ran during the last 3 miles.

Oh well. I guess it just proves that the recommended training programs really do work. As Sam Chapin might have said RUNNERS TRAIN.

This morning I have a few aches and pains and was feeling a bit sorry for myself until I read this story about a 100-year-old guy who finished a marathon in Toronto yesterday. Yikes!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lasers Tie It Down

On the third day of my vacation in Menorca, we had a different instructor, Joe, in the Laser class. Must have been Tom's day off I guess. The topic of the class was reaching and running and, after some instruction on tactics and strategy for offwind legs we headed out to practice the same.

I thought the most fun part of the morning was when we practiced going downwind with the tiller tied in a central position. I knew I could steer the boat on a run by varying the heel of the boat but I don't think I had ever done gybes without touching the tiller before. I'm sure it was a very good drill for curing me of the problem that Tom had identified on the first day - my tendency to oversteer in gybes. LASERS TIE IT DOWN as Sam Chapin would say.

After a leisurely lunch with Tillerwoman, followed by a short power nap, I headed out for the races in the afternoon. I didn't notice it until I sheeted in at the start of the first race, but my sail had a tear in the foot, on the seam for the luff patch. I suspect it happened at the start. I'm sure it must have caused at least a 0.001% reduction in boatspeed, but in spite of that I managed to win both races. Woo hoo!

On returning to the the hotel later that afternoon I discovered that one of my fellow sailors had badly injured his knee. After much protestations that he would be OK after a good night's sleep his wife insisted on immediately taking him to the hospital in Mahon to have the knee checked out. The staff of Minorca Sailing were very helpful to them, arranging appointments, transport etc. and magically producing a pair of crutches. (I wonder how many pairs they kept in reserve for such incidents.) The poor guy wasn't seen again until the next day when he appeared with his knee all strapped up and a diagnosis that basically meant he had screwed up everything in a knee it was possible to screw up. I took it as a personal warning not to overdo things on this holiday. The knee guy had been doing lessons every morning, racing every afternoon, and then going out with instructors or more advanced sailors on various fast, sexy boats in the late afternoon. Another guy who had not windsurfed for years came to Minorca Sailing that week to windsurf, hurt his back, went windsurfing with his hurt back and then really hurt his back. The combination of over 50 years on the planet, a Y chromosome, and way too many cool toys to play with in one week seemed to be a dangerous combination for some. I spent the rest of my vacation preaching this sermon to any other over-achieving middle-aged guys who would listen to me...

Where was I? Oh yes, Monday afternoon. After lying down for an hour or two to demonstrate my amazing willpower not to do too much, I staggered off to Ca Na Marga with Tillerwoman for some Sobrasada (Menorcan sausage) followed by grilled lamb chops. Mmmm. And so to bed.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lasers Lift Weights

The second day of my Advanced Laser Course at Minorca Sailing was all about upwind sailing. Tom, the instructor, gave me a lot of tips on upwind technique of which the most important, I think, was to hold the sheet with my sheet hand in front of my chest (close to the tiller hand.) With the hand this high, and arm bent, it is then relatively easy to ease the sheet in the gust by straightening the arm. If you sail with the hand closer to the block, the only way to ease the sheet is to let go of it, which is somewhat lacking in control and may end in disaster.

We did some long upwind speed testing, and Tom said he thought my upwind speed was pretty good. (I think he was being polite.) We ended the morning with rabbit starts and wind sprints and some drills designed to cause maximum mayhem at windward and leeward mark roundings.

A huge thunder and lightning storm blew across the bay during lunch and we set off for the afternoon Laser races in a wind of 18-21 knots gusting to 27. I won the first race when my closest competitor capsized downwind. He won the second race when I capsized twice attempting heavy air gybes. On both occasions I ended up in the water and reminded myself the hard way that I am sorely lacking in arm strength for pulling my fat old frame on to the daggerboard. Along with Tom's recommendation about how to hold the sheet (which is also tiring on the upper arms) I now know I do need to get back to some more serious weight work this winter. LASERS LIFT WEIGHTS as Sam Chapin would say.

There was a video debrief of the racing which thankfully didn't dwell too long on my ignominious capsizes and painfully slow capsize recoveries. Then it was off with Tillerwoman for pizza and a bottle (at least) of Rioja at Ca Na Marga. And so to bed...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hand Up Lasers

The first week I was in Menorca last month I signed up for the Advanced Laser Class in the mornings and raced in the Laser races every afternoon. The coach, Tom Hayes, was a young Englishman who had represented Great Britain at the Laser 4.7 Worlds in Rhode Island as a boy, been a training partner for members of the UK Olympic Development Laser Squad, and had more recently been coaching some of the top British Laser Radial sailors. I couldn't have asked for a better teacher.

On the first day the topic was tacking and gybing. We did many drills as I demonstrated my usual total ineptitude at roll tacks and roll gybes. Tom gave me much helpful feedback about steering less in the tacks and gybes. I guess he was just pointing out my most egregious faults and overlooking the rest. We finished off doing 360 turns around Tom's RIB until our arms dropped off. Tom suggested to me that a faster way of sheeting out in 360s and at windward mark roundings is to lift the sheet hand over the head and then quickly dump several feet of sheet at once by dropping that hand to the mainsheet ratchet block, a technique I hadn't heard of before.

Tom joined the other Laser sailors for racing in the afternoon. I did lead him around the whole first lap in the second race but he got past me eventually, of course. At 6:30pm there were welcome drinks on the beach and then it was off to Fornells with Tillerwoman for a delicous dinner of sea bass and grilled sardines. And so to bed....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Are Sailors Dyslexic?

Are sailors dyslexic?

Of course not. What a stupid question.

But on my recent vacation at Minorca Sailing, someone posed a more subtle question about sailors and dyslexia. She was at Minorca Sailing to learn to sail and by profession she was a tutor for dyslexic students at a well-known British university. After a few days of sailing lessons she expressed the opinion that sailing was a skill that might be easy for people with dyslexia to learn and wondered if, as a result, dyslexics are over-represented among sailors.

Dyslexia, if you're not familiar with the term, is a learning disability that impairs a person's fluency or comprehension accuracy in being able to read. Most people don't learn to sail by reading a book, or at least not by only reading a book (although there was one client at Minorca Sailing who was doggedly studying a sailing textbook in between lessons and he was having more difficulty than most at mastering beginner dinghy sailing.) Ultimately you learn sailing, especially dinghy sailing, by hands-on practice and experience. Instruction is often given verbally, so difficulties with reading are no real barrier to learning to sail. Perhaps my tutor friend was on to something?

A quick Google on dyslexia and sailing throws up some supporting evidence for her theory. "Pull the Tiller Toward You" is an article about a sailing school and especially about how well dyslexic kids respond to sailing.

“We found a curious thing along the way with learning disabled children, particularly dyslexic kids,” Mrs. Parry said. “Sailing is an absolute natural for them. There is no reading. It’s all hands on. It’s all auditory.”

And here's another example. Jessica Watson who became the youngest person to sail non-stop and unassisted around the world last year at the age of 16, is apparently also a dyslexic.

Do any of my readers have experience on this question? Are sailors dyslexic?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


About the only sport I really enjoy watching on TV is baseball. And I have noticed that, in that sport, there is much attention given by commentators, coaches and players to something called "mechanics."

No wait. This post really is about sailing. Please bear with me.

So what is this "mechanics" thing? Well, I guess it refers to the whole physics of the sport. How to use a machine, the human body, to transfer energy to the baseball in the most efficient and effective way, whether you are batting, pitching or throwing. Go to any website about baseball mechanics and you will find much discussion about angular momentum and torque and similar mechanical concepts. And they are full of advice to the player on exactly what to do with their hands, their arms, their legs, even their toes; and when and how to move all the various body parts in unison to achieve that perfect swing or pitch.

It all sounds very analytical and... well, mechanical. Nobody can possibly remember all that advice about what to do with every body part in the fraction of a second they actually have to hit the baseball. So that's why they practice. Tweak the mechanics. Practice it until it's natural.

No really, this post is going to get around to sailing soon. Don't go away.

At the highest levels of the game, coaches still seem able to fix a player's "mechanics." A batter will be in a slump. He takes a few days off from playing and works with a coach to fix something mechanical. A longer stride perhaps. A shorter swing maybe. Then, as soon as he's fixed it, his performance improves dramatically. There are even rare occasions when a pitching coach will correct a pitcher's mechanics in the middle of a game.

"Mechanics" is not a word that I've heard much of in sailing. But during my recent vacation I was lucky enough to work with an excellent British Laser coach, Tom Hayes, who gave me much helpful feedback. And it dawned on me afterwards that a lot of the things he was telling me about were the "mechanics" of sailing (although he never used that word.) How to sit in the boat on a run and where to place the feet. Where to hold the hands on a beat. How to use the hands to sheet out most effectively when rounding the windward mark. All about using the machine of the body in the mechanically most effective way.

But is there a right way and a wrong way to sail a Laser... or to hit a baseball for that matter? Look at baseball players. They all stand at the plate in different ways. They all hold the bat at different angles. Some like to crouch. Some stand tall. All the different ways seem to work at times. (Except when they don't.) Isn't the same true of sailing? Aren't there lots of different ways to sail a Laser and still win races?

Well, I guess there probably is a standard model of how to perform in both sports. And if you are a beginner or a mid-fleet mediocrity like me it's probably a good idea to listen when a coach tells you how to correct your mechanics. If you are a Derek Jeter or a Ben Ainslie and you find something works better for you than the standard method, then good luck to you. We mere mortals are better off sticking to the textbook style.

But it's hard to change your mechanics, especially when you've been doing something the "wrong" way for the best part of thirty years. But that's what I was trying to do in Menorca. Picking up tips from Tom in the lessons in the mornings in the first week, and then trying to sail with different "mechanics" in the races in the afternoons. (I could only do that in fun races like that which didn't really count for anything. In the excitement of a "real" regatta I would forget the lessons and revert to my bad old habits.) Then in the second week I would sometimes take out a Laser in the afternoons on my own and just sail up and down the bay, working on those mechanics, trying to make the right mechanics part of my "muscle memory" (if there really is such a thing.)

So why don't people talk about "mechanics" in sailing? Is it just a different word for "boat-handling"? Not really. When people teach you boat-handling they inevitably focus on the boat. "Sail the boat flat." "Roll the boat to windward as it passes head to wind." They don't always talk about what you need to be doing with your arms and legs and feet and hands and butt to make the boat go fast. Perhaps it's really only an issue in light little boats like the Laser where bad mechanics can have such a large impact on performance?

I seem to have been rambling on for more than long enough on this topic - which may not even be a real topic at all. What do you think? Is there room for a new book on "The Mechanics of Sailing" (that wouldn't be about winches and pulleys and swing keels)?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Last Blast

Something very strange and unusual happened to me on Saturday...

As planned, I went to sail in the Last Blast Laser Regatta at Quannapowitt Yacht Club. To be honest, the wind wasn't exactly a blast, but it wasn't a drifter either. Nothing strange so far.

I wasn't going with any great expectations of doing well in the racing. I was motivated more by meeting up with some old friends and catching up with them about sailing plans this winter. I also had fond memories of the excellent hospitality at Lake Q from the only other time I sailed there back in 2008. And I've always wanted to learn how to spell Quannapowitt. Nothing unusual here. Let's move on.

The first race was scheduled for 11am, and at 9 minutes to 11 I was still on the land, talking to my younger son on the phone and wishing him Happy Birthday. My baby is 31! How did that happen?

Somehow I managed to launch and sail out to the course in time for the first race, even fitting in a quick recce of the winds up the race course. It looked to me as if the stronger puffs were coming in from the right side of the course. I sailed over to that side of the course and, as expected, all the puffs were starboard tack lifts. So that was the plan: start near the right end of the line, tack over to the right side of the course as soon as possible, and try to stay in those gusts.

I pulled off a decent start near the boat end of the line and was sailing high and fast in clear air. As soon as the opportunity presented itself I went right towards a juicy looking gust, tacked on the expected header and was looking good. A little while later there was another gust coming in from the right, so I tacked over to take advantage of that one too. Lake sailing often is a game of "connect the dots."

I was pleasantly surprised to see that my plan had worked and I arrived at the windward mark in first place! Woo hoo!

The second place sailor was close behind me and started heading straight downwind until I reminded him that there was an offset mark to round first. (Actually I almost forgot that myself.) The other guy did a better bear-away around the offset than me and was soon ahead of me on the run. (Still need to work on that bearing away thing.)

He was still leading me at the leeward mark, but the wind had shifted further right so he tacked fairly soon after the mark. (Sail the long tack first, I guess.) But I carried on a bit further before tacking, still liking that right side of the course. And once again it was the correct choice. I was to the right of the fleet and with all the lifts from every little gust I was being progressively lifted above them. I arrived at the windward mark the second time with a much bigger lead than on the first leg! Woo hoo again!

I gybed around the offset mark, led the fleet down the run, still had a safe lead at the leeward mark, and crossed the finish line first by a healthy margin. I let go off the sheet and tiller, and turned to the race committee with palms up and an astonished expression and asked, "How did that happen?"

How did that happen indeed? It took a while for it to sink in how unusual this win was for me. I have won Laser races before, even won the occasional regatta, but never done it in a fleet that had more than 15 boats. There were 24 Lasers at Lake Q on Saturday. I've also beaten more than 23 boats in a Laser race many times before, but never combined that with crossing the finish line first. So this wasn't just an unusual result for me; in 30 years of Laser sailing it was unique.

Sure, there was a wide spread of abilities and experience in Saturday's fleet but there was some real talent at the top end including a many-time Laser Masters World Champion, and last year's Sunfish North American Champion (who is no stranger to Lasers.) There were probably at least half a dozen sailors there whom I hardly ever beat.

So I have to chalk up that first race as my best Laser race win ever.

Of course I couldn't keep it up. For the rest of the regatta I reverted to my usual mid-fleet mediocrity and felt somewhat fortunate when I discovered I had finished 9th out of 24 overall.

I drove home with a big smile on my face and casually mentioned to Tillerwoman over dinner that I had won the first race. Trust my lovely wife to bring me down to earth...

"So was it skill or was it luck? And if it was skill why didn't you win all the races?" she asked.

Hmmm. Good question.

No, I don't think it was luck. I researched the wind. I formulated a plan. I made a good start. I executed my plan. My plan turned out to be a good one. I didn't make any stupid mistakes. I didn't choke. No, that isn't luck. That's skill. (At least I would like to believe it.)

Sure, there's always some luck in sailboat racing, but as much you can overcome luck and win a race by having a good plan and executing it well, I think I can claim I did that.

So why didn't I do the same in every race? Good question. Maybe other people wised up to what the wind was doing? Maybe I didn't always get good starts? Maybe the wind pattern changed later and I didn't work out how to take advantage of it? Maybe I just got tired and starting making stupid mistakes? Probably all of the above.

So, whether it was skill or luck, it certainly was a strange and unusual event. A day to remember. October 8. I think I can remember that date.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Minorca Sailing Revisited

I have just returned from a fabulous two week sailing vacation at Minorca Sailing. It was my fourth visit there, the last one being in 2006. I'm planning to write some posts about my specific sailing experiences there over the next few days, but I suggest that, if you're not familiar with the company, you first revisit a couple of my 2006 posts about the Minorca Sailing experience such as Minorca Sailing - 25 Years Later and More on Minorca Sailing. Pretty much everything I wrote back then is still true.

The first week of my vacation I concentrated on Laser sailing, taking the advanced Laser class in the mornings and racing Lasers every afternoon. The coach in charge of the class was excellent and gave me much helpful feedback on how to improve my Lasering technique. It's a bit humbling to discover that I still haven't learned to sail this simple little boat properly after 30 years of trying!

The second week I signed up for classes in Asymmetric dinghies. (I had to explain to Tillerwoman that Asymmetrics are so-called not because the hulls are asymmetric but because their spinnakers are.) I sailed a variety of boats and also did a bit more Lasering some days too. I didn't do any of the organized racing in the second week other than the traditional pursuit race on the final day, so it was quite a change of pace from the first week.

I don't think you could possibly sail every different class of boat at Minorca Sailing in only two weeks, but I did get to try out some of the boats that I have fantasized about on this blog in the past but, prior to this vacation, had never had the opportunity to sail.

Back in 2007 I wrote that if I still lived in the UK and if for some reason I grew tired of racing a Laser then I suspect I might seriously consider switching to the Laser SB3. Last week I had my first sail in an SB3.

Then in 2009 I was ruminating in Laser Killer? about which boat might be the one to topple the Laser from its position as the world's dominant single-handed racing class, and ended up drooling over the RS100. Last week I had my first sail in an RS100.

Closer to my Laser sailing roots, we must also mention the R-word. Actually two R-words.

Last year in Random Radial Ramblings I discussed some practical reasons why I ought to try sailing the smaller Laser rig, the Radial, occasionally and also reviewed some of the cultural pressures that inhibit big guys like me from going down that route. There was one morning in Menorca when the winds were forecast to be Beaufort Force 6, gusting to Force 7. i.e. 21-26 knots gusting to 33 knots. Most race officers in the US wouldn't run Laser races in those conditions. Every other sailor in the Advanced Laser Class opted to sail with the Radial rig that day, so I thought I might as well do the same. First time in a Radial in 30 years of Laser sailing!

In 2007 I wrote a post Fat Boy Laser about the Rooster 8.1 Rig, a larger Laser rig intended to suit sailors over over 90Kg in most conditions and lighter sailors in light airs. I don't think I had ever seen one before last week (except on the Internet) but when I discovered that there was one Rooster rig at Minorca Sailing I wanted to give it a shot. My opportunity came in the light wind pursuit race on Friday morning, the last sail of the vacation in fact. Interesting!

I suspect that many visitors to Minorca Sailing discover that it turns out to be a much more expensive experience than they had expected. Not because the actual holiday costs too much; it really is great value for money. But because with so many different boats to try I am sure that some people go home from Menorca with the ambition to buy one (or more) of the boats that they have tried there.

So will I be buying a new boat?

What about the SB3?

Well, much as I enjoyed helming the SB3 all the way down the Bay of Fornells flying its 46 square meter spinnaker, I don't think a $40,000 sportsboat is in my immediate future. I am still a dinghy sailor at heart.

Perhaps the RS100 then?

That is certainly more tempting. But I don't really want to be the only guy in New England with an RS100.  However, if a local fleet starts to develop I can see myself wanting to join in.

Well, if you're going to stick with Lasering for now, how about those other Laser rigs, the Radial and the Rooster 8.1? Maybe I should. The Radial would enable me to go out in heavier winds than I would currently be comfortable sailing in a Full Rig Laser, not to mention that if I want to keep going to Laser Masters Worlds after I am 65 (a couple of years from now) I will be forced to sail a Radial there so I may as well start getting used to it now. And the Rooster Rig certainly makes for a more exciting sail on light wind days especially for a bigger guy like me.

Are you listening Santa?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cold Turkey

I'm giving up the Internet for a while. Going cold turkey. Just to prove I can.

I'll be doing a bit of travelling and a lot of sailing.

Normal service will be resumed some time when I feel like it.

In the meantime... be kind to each other, read some of the best blogs on the planet over there >>>>> in my blogroll, floss, and get out on a boat at least once a week.

See ya!

Thursday, September 08, 2011


Some sailors have goals. Qualify for the Olympics. Win the club regatta. Learn how to do roll tacks.

Some sailors accomplish those goals. Good for them.

I sometimes set goals for my sailing. Sail 100 days in a year. Sail one regatta in every New England state in a year. Cheat the nursing home, die on my Laser. I never achieved any of those goals.

Back in 2008 we even had a group writing contest about sailing goals, and I tried to inspire readers to participate by mentioning the stated goals of various sailing bloggers. One of these was Christy Davis who writes a sailing blog called Central Air. Christy had quite an unusual sailing goal for 2008. Unfortunately she didn't achieve her goal in 2008. Or 2009. Or 2010 as far as I can tell.

But she recently reported on her blog that she achieved her goal a few days ago. Good for her. She said it was "magical". Achieving a goal often is. Especially a goal like Christy's...

Oh, I forgot to mention what her goal was....

A Clever Pig

When gathered with fellow sailors for a few beers I sometimes try and stimulate the discussion by throwing out the question, "Why aren't US sailors doing better in the Olympics (and other major international regattas in the Olympic classes) lately?" If anyone should challenge the premise of my question I will point to a recent example, such as the fact that at the Pre-Olympic Regatta last month in Weymouth (the site of the actual Olympics next year) the US team only scored one medal in the fleet racing - and that a bronze. What is going on? The USA has a team of sailors who are campaigning full-time for the Olympics, they travel to all the major international regattas, they train hard, they are supported by a team of elite coaches etc. etc. And they can only achieve one bronze?

My friends typically have all sorts of theories. My contribution to the discussion is usually to blame college sailing. Most young US sailors go to college and I have a strong suspicion that the kind of sailing in which they participate in college is poor preparation for Olympic competition. My theory is that if a sailor really wants to win a gold medal at sailing they should skip (or defer) college and start training full time for the Olympics as soon as they leave high school. Of course no coach would dare to tell a kid not to go to college, would they? So the mediocre US Olympic sailing performance continues.

I was surprised to read some validation for my theory from Gary Bodie today. Bodie knows a thing or two about Olympic sailing having coached the US team to winning eight Olympics medals in his time. In an interview on he encourages young sailors to consider different styles of boats such as the multihull or the skiff and is quoted as saying...

If you are truly one of the elite youth sailors in the USA, then you don't need to spend eight years roll tacking an FJ in High School and College. Move on already. And finally, don't expect to win the US Trials or an Olympic Medal in a two year campaign after college, no matter how good you think you are.


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Try to Remember...

Labor Day has come and gone. The kids are back at school. Summer is over (and the cool rainy weather today only serves to emphasize that fact.) September always seems like a time of transition, one season ending and another beginning, one phase of life ending and another beginning. I browsed through the dusty old archives at Proper Course Worldwide HQ to see what was happening in my life in September in other years...

In 2005, I was looking back on completing six wonderfully rewarding, totally exhausting summers working as a junior sailing instructor and saying goodbye to all "my" children. I wonder where they are now?

That was also the year that we were eagerly awaiting the birth of our first grandchild. Emily arrived, all in good time, in November.

Today she starts kindergarten. Sniff, sniff!

In September 2006 it seems as if I was in a very serious mood about my sailing. I was threatening to turn Proper Course into a much more focused blog about how to improve sailing performance and cutting out all the trivial, funny stuff. (Thank god that resolution didn't last long!) But while I was still in "serious" mode I set myself a goal to finish in the top half of the fleet at the 2007 Laser Masters Worlds (still a year away) and then headed off to Europe to do some Laser training at Minorca Sailing.

In September 2007 I sailed in the first week of the Ponce de Leon Dinghy series at Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead and surprised myself by finishing in second place! Woo hoo!

I also wrote a post Ocean Grandad about how my greatest pleasure that summer had not been all the Laser regattas in which I had sailed or even settling into our new house by the sea. It was the opportunity to spend much more time with my granddaughter now that we were living much closer to her.

Did I mention she started kindergarten today? Sniff, sniff.

2008 was the year I was attempting to sail my Laser 100 days in the year. In September I was still doggedly plugging away at this goal, and this was also the month I surprised myself (again) by finishing second in my age group in the highly competitive New England Laser Masters Regatta! Woo hoo!

Towards the end of the month the US Congress decided that the economy didn't really need George Bush's bailout bill, so they voted it down and crashed the US stock market... so I went sailing. Not much has changed, it seems.

2008 was also the summer I turned 60, I really surprised myself by actually winning a Laser regatta (woo hoo!) and we welcomed my first grandson, Aidan, into the world.

He starts pre-school today. Sniff, sniff.

In September 2009, I had to cancel my plans to sail in the 2009 Laser Masters Worlds in Canada in order to attend my younger son's wedding. But I did get my own back by writing about the bridegroom a.k.a. Little Guy and also embarrassing him by publishing this photo.

Last year we were battening down the hatches in preparation for a hurricane (Earl) on Labor Day weekend and I was posting a video of Pete Seeger. It was also the summer we celebrated the birth of my second grandson, Owen, who seemed to master an essential gesture for sailors at a very early age.

And so the world turns, and September comes around again. Another hurricane. Another Pete Seeger song. My wife and I are off to Minorca Sailing again in a few days. And I am thinking of how to prepare for another Laser Master Worlds next year (in Queensland.)

My son (the one that got married two years ago on Labor Day weekend) and his wife came to visit us this weekend. It was good to see them and especially to anticipate with them the birth of a new grandchild in November.

Life is good.