Saturday, May 28, 2011

Good Day Sunscreen

Good day sunscreen
Good day sunscreen
Good day sunscreen

I need to laugh, and when the sun is out
I've got something I can laugh about
I feel good, in a special way
SPF fifty on a sunny day

Good day sunscreen
Good day sunscreen
Good day sunscreen

We take a walk, the sun is shining down
Burns my nose to a golden brown

Good day sunscreen
Good day sunscreen
Good day sunscreen

So we lie beneath a shady tree
I slather her and she slathers me
We look goofy, but we're feeling fine
Greasy noses and we're sipping wine

Good day sunscreen
Good day sunscreen
Good day sunscreen...

The above was a comment by some other blogger in the comments to some other blog and might have something or other to do with this month's group writing project. Or maybe not. Who knows?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Two Cool Cats

Yet another two entries today in this month's group writing project Please Please Me in which I invited you to write posts inspired by Beatles song titles or Beatles song lyrics. Will it never end?

But these are very special entries from very special and unusual people.

First of all we have an entry from the famous Joe Rouse, creator and CEO of the famous Horse's Mouth blog, the best blog on the planet about fishing on Fridays. It must be true. I read it on the Interwebs. Joe offers To Know Her Is To Love Her which, typical of his post-modernist humoristical style, is partly in Russian and includes a picture of a lady in a bikini whom he calls 'Bridget Bardot' though I believe her closest friends call her Brigitte.

To Know Her Is To Love Her? It's just like Joe with his mysterious ways and liking for verbal puzzles and puns to choose one of the most obscure Beatles songs. They didn't write it. (Phil Spector did.) And they never released it as a record during the time they were working together as a group.

But they did play this song at their audition for Decca Records on New Year's Day 1962. In one of the most awful decisions ever in the history of pop music, Decca passed on the Beatles and didn't offer them a recording contract, giving the reason that "guitar groups are on the way out, Mr Epstein."

The Beatles also played this song on the BBC Radio show Pop Go The Beatles in 1963. This version was eventually released in 1994 on the Live At The BBC collection. But I owned a recording of this song back in 1963. My sister and I started on our lives of crime as serial copyright infringers at an early age by recording all sorts of songs off the radio and TV on one of those open reel tape recorders. My little sister loved this song. She had a serious teenage crush on Paul McCartney and I vividly remember her singing to one of the many life-size pictures of Paul on her bedroom wall, "To love love love him is to know know know him." (She already loved him. By twisting the lyrics of the song she now imagined she knew him! I don't think she reads this blog. Hope not!)

But how does Joe "know" Brigitte Bardot? Inquiring minds demand to know, Joe.

Our second post today is from an even more unusual and strange person than Joe Rouse. Because she doesn't really exist. At least not in our world. She is the figment of someone's imagination. She is one of those people that only "lives" in the virtual reality world Second Life.

But wait. It gets better. When I first set up this group writing project I jokingly challenged my readers to write posts about sailing based on some of the more outlandish Beatles song titles such as She Came In Through The Bathroom Window or Polythene Pam.

I never imagined that anyone would actually do it. But Noodle has.

Noodle's entry is an argument for wooden boats over fiberglass boats. But in Second Life where nobody has to do any actual boat maintenance the case is somewhat different. So please enjoy No more Polyester Pam.

Aren't Joe and Noodle two cool cats?

Unlike the first song, I have no personal intimate memories to share about Polythene Pam. 1969 is all a blur to me now.

There's still plenty of time for you to write a post inspired by a Beatles song and enter the contest. It seems to be going on for ever. Is there an end date? God only knows. Is there a prize? I have no idea. This all seems so 1969 right now. Just remember that "in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make."

Full details of how to enter at Please Please Me.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Two Of Us Writing Postcards

Carl Larsson - Model writing postcards - 1906

Two more entries today in this month's group writing project Please Please Me in which I invited you to write posts inspired by Beatles song titles or Beatles song lyrics...

My2fish has here comes the sun[fish] a story about Sir Paul McCartney sailing a Sunfish recently in Rio. Bravo sir, not only a post with a Beatles-inspired title on a sailing topic, but actually a post about a Beatle sailing. Double points!

Meanwhile, in a ground-breaking piece of research into Beatles history, Baydog has uncovered a hitherto unknown fact: the song that the world eventually knew as Hey Bulldog was originally called Hey Stinkbug! He has even included a copy of the original lyrics (complete with crossing-outs and corrections) in John Lennon's own handwriting! Wow! I wonder what that would be worth at auction?

Those are the only two valid entries in the group writing project in the last few days. I'm not even going to count the post from some dirty old man who seems to think the only reason the Internet exists is so that he can post photos of attractive young ladies in bikinis. Disgusting!

The clock is still running. You too can still enter this group writing project. I know some of you are teetering on the brink of entering. Complete details and rules (no more bikinis please) at Please Please Me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's a Clean Machine!

It's that time of year. Spring! Memorial Day! Which means that all over the north-eastern US, boaters are taking their boats out of winter storage and getting them ready to launch. But you know what your boat really needs? A really good, thorough, cleaning and detailing. And if you live on Long Island there is no finer place to go for this service than Bikini Boatworks.

I'll let them tell you themselves why you should use them...

"Our name is Sexy, our results are Breathtaking!"

First, our crew wear bikinis by request. If not requested, non abrasive shorts and crew shirts are our standard business attire.

Second, we are the opposite extreme of a typical Bikini Car Wash. Our crew spends hours cleaning and detailing to make your ride its best.

Third, the crew, almost all female, have spent their lifetime learning how to clean, polish and make things sparkle. This knowledge coupled with excellent products and focused training result in a highly effective and focused detailing machine. Every project is done as if it were for ourselves!

Think about it. Do you want some fat old guy, with a plumber's crack, cleaning your boat or do you want this?

Sexy Sadie

Do you want some pimply, teenage boy with muddy shoes trampling all over your boat or do you want this?

Long Tall Sally

And do you want some fat old geezer polishing your pole or do you want this?

Lovely Rita

It's up to you.

The title of this post, "It's a clean machine!" is, of course, a line from the Beatles 1967 hit single Penny Lane.

In Penny Lane there is a fireman with an hourglass
And in his pocket is a portrait of the Queen.
He likes to keep his fire engine clean
It's a clean machine

This post was written as part of this month's group writing project Please Please Me, in which I invited you to write posts inspired by Beatles song titles or Beatles song lyrics. There's still plenty of time for you to write a post and enter the contest. There might be a prize. Probably not. Unless my friends at Bikini Boatworks want to offer a free boat detailing as a prize? I bet you would write a post for that? Full details of how to enter at Please Please Me.

The Final Straw

Three more entries today in this month's group writing project Please Please Me in which I invited you to write posts inspired by Beatles song titles or Beatles song lyrics...

Chris P of Rowing for Pleasure writes of a rowing race around Hayling Island in choppy conditions in which the only song to sing was We Can Bail It Out.

Try to see it my way,
Do I have to keep on bailing till I can't go on?
While you see it your way,
You won't stop rowing though our boat may soon be down.
We can bail it out,
We can bail it out.

Why don't you just stop rowing.
You can just carry on and still you think that it's all right.
But the water's inflowing,
We must bail like hell and get it dry, or say good night.
We can work it out,
We can work it out.

Carol Anne of Five O'clock Somewhere has been on a three week road trip around California and other assorted bits of America near the left coast. Apparently there were lots of barbecues and lots of detours. She writes of both. The song for the trip just had to be The Long and Winding Road.

Baydog has been writing about food again too. And drink. He has prepared a delicious plate of Jersey seafood for us. Well I guess it's not actually for us. It's for him. Or his family. I swear that you can actually smell it when you click on and zoom in to the picture.

And he made us martinis. Well, once again, I guess it's not really for us. The picture of the martini looks enticing too. There is a glass. And an onion. I guess that's why he called his post Glass Onion.

Glass Onion. We Can Work It Out. The Long and Winding Road.

An interesting trio of Beatles songs which in their own way tell the whole story of the group and the Lennon-McCarney song writing partnership and their eventual break-up.

Most people probably know that the vast majority of the songs credited to Lennon and McCartney were not actually written by Lennon and McCartney. They were written by either Paul or John working alone. Only a small number of the songs were actually written by John and Paul together.

We Can Work It Out was recorded in 1965 and was an example of a Lennon and McCartney collaboration. It is widely interpreted as a song that references the inner struggles of the Beatles as a band and especially the tension between John and Paul. On the other hand, Paul has said that the lyrics "might have been personal" and thus a reference to his relationship with Jane Asher. Who knows? What does it matter? Most songs have more than one meaning anyway.

Glass Onion on the other hand was very much a John Lennon solo song-writing effort. It was on the 1968 White Album and its mysterious lyrics have been analyzed for over 40 years by Beatles aficionados searching for deep meaning in the song. Probably it's just nonsense. What's wrong with nonsense anyway?

And then The Long and Winding Road, which was on the Let it Be album, was written by Paul alone. It actually played a central role in the break-up of the group. The song was recorded in January 1969, and then in the spring of 1970 Lennon and the Beatles' manager, Allen Klein, turned it over (along with all the other Let it Be recordings) to Phil Spector, who remixed it using 18 violins, four violas, four cellos, three trumpets, three trombones, two guitars, and a choir of 14 women! When Paul heard the result he was outraged at what Spector had done to "his" song and shortly afterwards announced the breakup of the Beatles. In the subsequent court case, Paul cited the overdubbing of this song without consulting him as one of the six reasons for dissolving the Beatles' partnership.

Hey, they grew up. It had to happen one day. I guess what Phil Spector did to Paul's sad little song was just the final straw?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Things We Said Today

A few more entries today in this month's group writing project Please Please Me in which I invited you to write posts inspired by Beatles song titles or Beatles song lyrics...

Baydog who can be found at 829 South Drive has submitted I'm Only Sleeping (Finally) in which he tells us about how he (or maybe his dog - it's hard to keep track of which is which in some of Baydog's posts) found a cure for his "loud, obnoxious, walrus-like snoring." (Hmmm. I guess he could have called this post I am the Walrus.)

I'm Only Sleeping was on the Beatles' 1966 Revolver album in the UK and features the then-unique sound of a reversed guitar duet played by George, conceived after the tape operator accidentally threaded the tape into the machine upside down. Not many people know that.

Baydog also used a Beatles' song theme to write a post celebrating the 25th anniversary of his wedding to the beautiful Mrs. Baydog, And I Love Her. He did email me to tell me that this is not an entry in the group writing project but since when did I take any notice of what my readers want?

Pat who sails the Desert Sea has written an hilarious tale of sinkings and boat crashes and other nautical disasters complete with pictures, Helter Sailor. Helter Skelter was on the Beatles' White Album and was a deliberate effort by Paul to "create a sound as loud and dirty as possible." But everyone knows that, don't they?

Pat's post reminded me that I wrote a parody of Helter Skelter too a couple of years ago, I Got Blisters On My Fingers!. My version is about racing Lasers...

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top where I crash
And I tack and I turn and then I go for a splash
'Til I get to the bottom and I see you again, yeh, yeh yeh

There's still plenty of time for you to write a post inspired by a Beatles song and enter the contest. There might be a prize. Maybe a CD of me playing my guitar and singing Beatles songs? Second prize... two CDs of me playing my guitar and singing Beatles songs? Who knows? Full details of how to enter at Please Please Me. I Need You. Don't Let Me Down.

Friday, May 20, 2011

One and One and One is Three

Three more entries today in this month's group writing project Please Please Me in which I invited you to write posts inspired by Beatles song titles or Beatles song lyrics.

Jack Ryan who hangs out at ManCaveAlpha has submitted She's Leaving Home, a touching tale of his feelings for his own daughter and memories of things they did together as she now prepares to leave home. He says he has told her that "if you want to launch big ships, you have to go where the water is deep." Deep. Very deep.

She's Leaving Home was on the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band released in 1967, and was inspired by a true story that Paul and John saw in the Daily Mirror newspaper about a 17-year-old girl called Melanie Coe. Not everyone knows that a couple of years later in 1969, Melanie was dating Burt Ward, who played Robin in the sixties TV series Batman. It must be true. I read it in the Daily Mail. Let's hope that Jack Ryan's daughter has better taste in men.

Andrew Sadler who writes SadlerBootwerk is also thinking of his daughter, Em, and wants to watch her sail in an Optimist regatta this weekend. So he is lending his 16m2 to his friend Jaap so he can sail it in the class's 80th birthday regatta. What a guy! I wonder if Andrew was singing (Baby you can) Drive My Car as he handed the boat over to Jaap? If so, I hope Jaap didn't misunderstand him because, according to Wikipedia which is never wrong, Paul McCartney knew when he and John wrote Drive My Car that the title was an old blues euphemism for sex. I'm shocked! We were so innocent in the sixties we would never have thought of that.

Finally, Smilicus, our blogging friend from South Africa, has submitted Taxman. He seems to think that Davy Jones and the taxman are equally voracious. Taxman was a George Harrison composition and was the opening track on the Beatles' 1966 album Revolver. Not many people know that Taxman received the ultimate accolade that any song can achieve when Weird Al Jankovic recorded a parody of it in 1981 called Pac-Man.

There's still plenty of time for you to enter this contest. I guess it's a contest. There might be a prize. I'm not sure whether to donate my old sailing socks or the bottom half of my broken Laser mast. I'm sure both have considerable sentimental value for folk who have read about them on this blog. How could anyone resist such a prize? Full details of how to enter at Please Please Me.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

And Your Bird Can Sing

Apparently the young people these days are using something called "Twitter" which has been around for five years or so, almost as long as this blog. Some people call it a "micro-blogging service". From what I hear every "micro-blog post" (or "tweets" as aficionados call them) can only be 140 characters or less. That's crazy! How could I blog about every blunder I make in a typical day's racing in only 140 characters?

But my blogging mentor is a great twitterer or tweeter or whatever the right word is. (You do have a blogging mentor don't you? Every blogger should have one. If you're as old as me you should have one at least 30 or 40 years younger than yourself.) Anyway, my blogging mentor came back from a blogging conference the other day (yes - such things really do exist) and was raving about Twitter parties, and the power of Twitter to promote your blog, and a lot of other stuff I didn't understand.

So I've been experimenting with Twitter in the last few days. I've been writing some "tweets". As I understand it the word "tweet" means "a short burst of inconsequential information" or "chirps from birds". I read that on the Internet so it must be true, and that's why Twitter has a bird logo, I think.

"Inconsequential"? Why would I waste my time writing "inconsequential" stuff? That makes so sense at all. I am a very consequential blogger.

Anyway, I've been playing with Twitter. I've been tweeting like a little inconsequential bird. Actually I must have been tweeting a lot because, as of right now, Twitter tells me that I've made 102 tweets and I have 204 Twitter followers. Wow! Who are these people? And why are they following me? I am lost and I have no idea where I am going. Please stop following me. It will do you no good. Besides it's spooky.

I've been making some very consequential tweets like passing on (aka retweeting I believe) words of wisdom I heard from other birds. And I've been tweeting about almost every new post on Proper Course, and some old blog posts, to those 204 people following me around. I really don't know them. Maybe they don't know about my blog? They might like some of my old posts. You never know.

And I found a way to show my tweets in the sidebar of my blog over there >>>> No, up a bit. Got it?

Of course if you are already here it's of no use to you whatsoever to see a tweet about the latest post on Proper Course. You already know how to find that. But I also find it convenient occasionally to tweet about some cool link or video I found in the "twitterverse" (I think that's what they call it) that blog readers over here may not have seen before. It's a lot easier to tweet about something like that than to write a whole post about it here. So please do check out that Twitter widget (I think that's what it's called) in the sidebar occasionally.

Wow. This post has gone on for a lot longer than 140 characters already. See what I mean?

Anyway, if you want you can tweet too. Or as the Beatles uncannily prophesied... about 40 years before the invention of Twitter... And Your Bird Can Sing.

Four Fab Posts

Woo hoo! The entries are starting to flow in for this month's group writing project Please Please Me in which I invite you to write posts inspired by Beatles song titles or Beatles song lyrics.

B.J.Porter who writes the blog Sail Evenstar about his exploits on a 1997 Hallberg-Rassy 53 is, like many other sailors at this time of the year, up to his neck in boat maintenance. A lot of his projects are almost done; all he has to do to finish them is... You get the idea? So his post is titled All I've Got to Do, not one of the best known Beatles songs. In the UK it was on their second album, With the Beatles and according to one source was "the first time in rock and roll or rock music where the bass player plays chords as a vital part of the song." I didn't know that.

The incomparable O Docker has gone one better than writing a post inspired by a Beatles song; he has written a whole parody of a Beatles song Sailing Blog Writer which is loosely based on the Beatles 1966 hit single Paperback Writer. O Docker's post is a sad tale about a frustrated sailor and blog writer who isn't able to find time for either of those two passions because of his job. I don't know how he thinks up these incredible stories! Apparently Paperback Writer was the first UK Beatles single that was not a love song. I didn't know that but it must be true because I read it on the Internet.

From a guy who doesn't have enough time to be a sailing blog writer to a guy who has way too much time on his hands to write utter nonsense on his so-called sailing blog. This time he has come up with Follow the Sun which seems to be about flowers rather than sailing. Sigh! I'll Follow the Sun was on the 1964 Beatles for Sale album, but was actually written many years before. It's something of a cult favorite. A version recorded in 1960 can be found on the bootleg record You Might As Well Call Us The Quarrymen. I bet you didn't know that but it must be true because I read it on the Internet.

And while I am here I might as well draw your attention to another Beatles related post from my own archives. Like O Docker's entry above it's actually a parody of a Beatles song. The Ballad of Tillerman - Oh No! is a sad sad tale of my blunders while racing in the 2006 Newport Regatta. It was based, of course, on The Ballad of John and Yoko which was was the Beatles’ 17th and final UK number one single and was recorded without George and Ringo. I didn't know that but it must be true... etc. etc etc.

Let's hope these examples inspire others to enter this group writing project. If enough people enter there might even be a prize. It might even be worth having. Full details of how to enter at Please Please Me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Early Submissions in Group Writing Project

It was only yesterday that I challenged my readers (and myself) to write some posts inspired by the titles of Beatles songs or lines in Beatles lyrics. But time works in funny ways; it turns out that I, and at least one writer of a blog I follow, had already responded to that challenge before I had even issued it.

Back in 2008 I wrote Dear Prudence which was a post about a sail to Prudence Island and "around round look around round round there."

Then in 2009 I wrote a piece about John Lennon being a sailor and included a video of Watching the Wheels which summed up the spirit of my previous post and which has some delightful footage of John playing with his son Sean. OK OK OK. I know it's not a Beatles song; it was a John Lennon solo song. And I didn't make the title of the song the title of the post. So I hereby disqualify this post from winning the hat (if there is a hat.)

And last year I wrote Let It Be... Random which was about a sailing practice technique.

And only a few days ago, Jimmy Brunelle who writes one of the running blogs in my blogroll, Play, write, sing, run published a post titled I Am The Walrus which seems to be about coffee, cheese, croissants, a bear claw, man boobs, an armadillo, and a "walrus god named Lard." Wow!

These posts may have been too early but it's not too early or too late for you to participate in this group writing project. Full details at Please Please Me.

Follow the Sun

Over at the Natural Navigator blog, Tristan Gooley has been writing about how the preferences of Wild Flowers can help with navigation. He reports on an apparent preferred location of Speedwells that can help in navigation, and asks readers to report on any similarly helpful habits of other wildflowers that they have come across.

Well, I may be blessed (like most males of the species) with a supreme confidence in my own natural sense of direction but there is no doubt that Tillerwoman is the flower and nature expert in our family. So I asked her Tristan's question. "Do you know any ways in which wildflowers can help with navigation, dear?" She thought for a few seconds and replied, "Well, sunflowers follow the sun."

Hmmm. Are sunflowers wild? I guess they are in some places. And is the fact that they follow the sun any real help in navigation? I mean, if you can see the sun then you don't need any help from the flowers do you?

But I didn't ask my dear wife these obvious question. Believe me, it would not end well. Instead I found her this delightful time lapse video on YouTube of sunflowers following the sun. There are times when it's better to agree than to argue.

Wait. Isn't I'll Follow the Sun the title of a Beatles song? It sure is. I could enter this post in my own group writing project for articles based on Beatles song titles or song lyrics, Please Please Me. I might even win a hat. No, wait. I didn't offer a hat as prize yet. And even if I did, how could I win it from myself?

"What has this to do with sailing?" you may well ask. Well, sailors need to navigate, don't they?

Hmmm. I guess sunflowers aren't much use for navigating oceans are they? Good point.

Ummm. Well, a lot of sailors who live in climates with cold winters (like me) do "follow the sun" to warmer climates in the winter. I've written here before about my trips to go sailing in Florida, the Dominican Republic, the British Virgin Islands, and even Australia in my quest to "follow the sun."

It is rumored, though not yet confirmed by the International Laser Class, that the next Laser Masters Worlds will be in Queensland in March 2012. I've even reserved a room at the motel next to the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron for the rumored dates of the rumored regatta at its rumored location. Yes, Tillerwoman and I may well be heading down under again this winter so that I can enjoy a bit of yotting somewhere a bit warmer than Rhode Island.

Just like those sunflowers -- and the Beatles -- we'll follow the sun.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Please Please Me

A few weeks ago I wrote a series of twenty or so posts on this blog with the titles of the posts being songs by Simon and Garfunkel, or lines from Simon and Garfunkel songs, or puns on the aforementioned titles or lines. And, surprisingly, all the titles of the posts really did have some connection with the topics of the posts.

It was something of an exercise in mental creativity and lateral thinking, a way of brainstorming new ideas of things to write about. By choosing a starting point (Simon and Garfunkel songs) that seemed to have no real connection with the main theme of the blog (sailing and related subjects) I was stimulated to address all sorts of topics in a variety of different ways.

So, for this month's group writing project I would like you to try something similar. Please Please Me by writing a post on your blog whose topic is suggested by the title of a Beatles song or a line in a Beatles song. The title of your post should be that Beatles title or song line (or a pun on one.) It must bear some relation to the topic of your post. And that topic should be one that fits naturally into the theme of your blog, which for most of my readers is boating and similar stuff.

Of course you could be really boring and do something easy like writing about your boating exploits on the previous day and calling it Yesterday (but I will probably mock you unmercifully for lack of creativity if you do that.) A post on boat repair called Fixing a Hole or a tale of a rescue at sea called Help! would show somewhat more originality. But I am hoping that some of you will expand your imagination to write boating-related posts with such titles as Polythene Pam, Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da or She Came in Through the Bathroom Window.

If you don't know the Beatles songbook all that well, feel free to seek inspiration at this list of Beatles songs and this database of Beatles lyrics.

If you need further suggestions, here are some of the ways in which my own Simon and Garfunkel theme stimulated me to write posts I never otherwise would have thought of. The song Old Friends got me digging through old Laser class newsletters to find a grainy black and white photo of some old sailing friends. The song Save the Life of my Child triggered me to write down some semi-serious ideas that I had been mulling around on the whole "Saving Sailing" topic and to call it Save The Life Of Our Sport. And on realising that March 14 was Pi Day, the line from America about Mrs-Wagner's Pies set me off on a random path covering a sailing painting by the artist Arline Wagner, a picture of a certain Mrs.Wagner sailing, pork pie, sorbitan monostearate and Brazilian waxes. Once you start with one these song titles you never know where it's going to lead!

So please please me by entering the group writing contest. Usual rules...

1. Write a post on your blog on some topic inspired by a Beatles song title or lyric.

2. Once you've posted your story, let me know about it by sending an email to including a link to your post. If you don't have a blog just email me the article and I will post it here. Please let me know about your post, or send me your story, before the end of May.

3. I will post here two links to your article. Every day or so I will write a post listing any new entries in the project. Then at the end of the project I will provide a summary post with links to all of your articles. Depending on how many entries there are, I will probably then choose a shortlist of finalists and invite readers to vote for their favorite post.

There might even be a prize. But even if there isn't... Please Please Me by entering.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Absolutely Pointless Post About a Totally Meaningless Milestone

The 500,000th visitor stopped by this blog just before 5pm today. He or she was from Belfast in Northern Ireland and didn't stay long. Most people don't. Probably he or she was lost. Most people around here are.

It took 6 years of blogging and over 2,000 posts to reach this milestone. At the present level of interest the 1,000,000th visitor should arrive about 3 years from now.

I realize that the above information is of absolutely no interest to anyone except myself, and possibly my mother if she even knew what a blog was which she doesn't, and if she had Internet access from her nursing home which she doesn't either.

I think I will take a nap now.

Monday, May 09, 2011

5 Olympic Sports That Became Extinct

1. Pelote Basque. When it made its sole appearance in the Olympics, Spain was awarded the gold medal by beating France.

2. Tug of War. This was an Olympic sport in five Olympic Games (1900, 1904,  1908, 1912, and 1920).

3. Croquet. First appeared in 1900. Then it was removed from the Olympics altogether.

4. Powerboating. This was only played during the 1908 Olympics. Only two competitors joined the three events with one competitor actually finishing each race.

5. Keelboat racing. Declared extinct as an Olympic sport by the International Sailing Federation at their meeting in St. Petersburg in May 2011.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Wet and Dry

One of the regular readers of this blog commented on my last post about actual sailing...

Geez, no one cares about what you were actually doing yesterday.

We want more interesting stuff.

Tell us what you were WEARING! Who made your hiking pants? How old is the launch ramp? What happened on that spot in 1629? What county were your great grandparents born in? What do the heraldic symbols in your family's coat of arms mean?

I assume this was a post-modernist ironic statement about the commentary on the TV for that wedding which was happening on the same day that I was actually sailing. And he is right. How could we get through a long boring event like a baseball game or a royal wedding without some of the background color that the commentators provide?

I must admit I was a little peeved that he implied that my account of one of my rare days of actual sailing was as boring as a royal wedding and needed to be spiced up a bit. But since he appears to be more interested in what I am wearing than in actual sailing, here goes.

Wetsuit or drysuit? That is the big question facing Laser sailors in colder weather. Each has its adherents.

Being a total wimp I have always been a big drysuit fan. At the first hint of wintry weather at the start of a frostbite season I switch over to wearing a drysuit. With latex booties, and latex gloves in the coldest weather, I am totally sealed from the elements from the neck down. More importantly I am totally dry, and with enough layers of dry clothes I can stay warm in the coldest weather and the coldest water.

For my first two sails of the Spring back in April I wore a drysuit too. It wasn't entirely for comfort; I was sailing in areas where there weren't any other boats around midweek so early in the season so I felt safer in a drysuit in case anything bad happened and I ended up spending a long time in the water. Writing that post about Safety (but not actually yet taking any of the extra precautions discussed in that post) may have spooked me a bit too.

For my third sail of the Spring I went over to Bristol Harbor for a blast around in a 8-12 knot southerly. Hey, it was Tuesday so it must be Bristol.

And this time I left the drysuit at home and sailed in my wetsuit. I was plenty warm enough in the wetsuit and felt so much more at home in the boat than on the previous sail when I was decidedly Rusty. Certainly the wind was a lot steadier but I was also much less clumsy in the boat.

A lot of the top guys in the frostbiting world wear wetsuits all winter. They abhor drysuits. They say that they don't feel in touch with the boat properly in a drysuit. Up until now I had thought they were being too pernickety with all that Zen talk about needing to be at one with the boat etc. etc. but on Tuesday I think I finally understood what they are getting at. If I ever do a full frostbiting season again I think I will stick with the wetsuit as long as I can bear it. No more wimping out for the sake of staying dry and warm.

And you can pee in a wetsuit.

How did I do? Am I still as boring as a royal wedding?

Thursday, May 05, 2011

No Keelboats Allowed

According to Sail-World...

The meeting of the International Sailing Federation's Events Committee has just voted on its schedule of ten Events for the 2016 Olympic Sailing Regatta.

The report from the Committee will now go to the ISAF Council to be 'received' which then triggers a discussion and debate as to whether the Council endorse the Recommendation or amend it.

The list of 10 events is believed to be:

Mens and Womens Windsurfer (RS:X) and Kiteboard

Mens Singlehander (Laser)
Womens Singlehander (Laser Radial)

Mens HP Skiff (49er)
Womens HP Skiff (Evaluation Trial)

Mixed Multihull (Evaluation Trial) (One female, one male crew)

Mens Heavyweight Singlehander (Finn)

Mens Doublehander (Spinnaker) 470
Womens Doublehander (Spinnaker) 470

The outcome of the vote is that there will be no Keelboat event in the 2016 Olympics, if the recommendation is endorsed by the ISAF Council meeting tomorrow, Friday and Saturday.


The Star is out.

The women's keelboat match racing is out.

The cat is back.

The Return of the J Boats

Relive the golden era of yacht racing!

RANGER, VELSHEDA and SHAMROCK V will be in Newport, June 15th-June 19th, 2011, racing in the first competitive J Class Regatta in the US since the 1937 America’s Cup.

You can secure an position as 18th man on one of these majestic yachts. Simply buy a ticket (for $250) to the Herreshoff Marine Museum & America’s Cup Hall of Fame 40th Anniversary Gala in Bristol RI on June 4th and bid in the live auction for your place in the crew. Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of this historic yachting event.

Go for it.

And here's a bonus. Those who attend the gala are invited to dock their classic Herreshoff yachts on the waterfront, and the museum will dress it up for the event.

Wow! How can you resist an offer like that?

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

American Laser Sailors

This morning I discovered an anonymous comment in my spam folder that must have been made a couple of weeks ago on my post Greece? Belarus?. That post drew attention to the relatively low ranking of the USA in the ISAF World Sailing Fleet Racing Rankings. If the comment is genuine (and I have no reason to believe it is not) it represents an informed, but perhaps controversial, critique of the state of US Laser sailing. Rather than letting it be lost in the comments to a three-week-old post, I thought it worthwhile to repost it here.

Just remember these are not my observations. Don't shoot the messenger!

Having raced many Laser sailors from the US in both the US and elsewhere in the world I have an opinion on why the US considering its size has no depth of talent at least in the Laser class.

To put it simply many US sailors think they are far better than they actually are and the further down the fleet you go the lazier and more self entitled they seem to get. They usually do mainly gym work to the exclusion of actual sailing and they usually lack skills on the water.

I find some US sailors satisfying to race against because they seem to have the attitude that they should always be further to the front of the fleet than they usually are and when they are are being passed downwind etc they cuss and do some really stupid things for eg, taking you up to weather to the point that they ruin their own race, and allowing you to slide past in the process. It never seems to occur to them how that thin weedy looking dude from FRA could be faster than an American.

You have or had guys like Ross and his blog as one good example. It is considered bad form in the US to say to someone that you suck and your dreams will be forever that, just dreams.

There is not enough clear feedback to some, that they need to do a lot of work to do well, I do not say win, just do well. Years of training and learning how to put together a regatta. One guy I raced against from the US who no longer sails Lasers actually got to go the Olympics representing another country even though he could not even finish in the top 10 in a local district event out of only 60 boats. He used to walk around the boat park earlier on, in his team gear as if he was some top elite sailor and then proceed to have his ass handed to him by local club sailors.

The top US Laser guys are very good sailors but they appear to lack that extra thing you require to win. Not simply a desperation to win but an all encompassing understanding that winning is only possible if you have done all the work and are prepared to push yourself to the point of breaking 4-5 days a week for years.

On rereading what I wrote I will say that many US sailors particularly those on the circuit are a pleasure to race against but you do have a large number of Laser guys that seem to struggle with the whole concept that world is a big place and there are plenty of sailors they may never have run across before that are more than equal to the best the US has.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

British Girls on Top

Congratulations to the British women for their tremendous success in the Semaine Olympique Française at Hyères last week.

Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor won gold in the women’s match racing event, winning the final round 3-0 against the American team.

I'm not sure if their headgear is the latest "go fast" equipment for girls in keelboats or something to do with that wedding in London last week.

Meanwhile in the women's 470 class the relatively new pairing of Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark won the silver medal, with teammates Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes taking bronze.

Saskia Clark and Hannah Mills

Update: The photo above has been changed since the original publication of this post. The original photo was actually of Saskia and her former 470 partner Sarah Ayton, and was incorrectly captioned. Thanks to the anonymous commenter for pointing out my error.

And in the RS:X women’s event, Bryony Shaw was fifth heading into the medal race, but she won that race to secure the bronze medal.

In other news about British women, the Royal Wedding is still generating buzz on Facebook. The page for Princess Beatrices's ridiculous hat has 128,759 fans...

... while Pippa Middleton's bottom has 175,037 fans.

We report. You decide.

All in all an excellent week for British ladies. Love them all.

God Save the Queen. We are the champions...

Sunday, May 01, 2011


Regular readers of this blog will know that one of my all-time favorite blogs is the one written by the Bard of Berkeley, the mysterious character known as O Docker. His stories about frayed lines, popcorn, Barry Manilow, and the occasional bit of boat maintenance on O Dock are legendary. I am sure he he has a huge world-wide following of fans. He's probably even more popular than Donald Trump.

But I didn't know until Friday that one of his groupies is a member of the British Royal Family. At "that wedding" last week, Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice Elizabeth Mary of York made her adoration for O Docker clear and plain by wearing a fascinator that proudly displayed the symbol beloved of O's fans everywhere... the simple elegant letter "O".