Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Scary Play

Sometimes play can be scary. In a good way. Why do we like play that scares us?

Regular readers will know that in past years a group of us have had a lot of fun doing some informal practice in Lasers on Tuesday evenings in Bristol Harbor although last year, for various reasons, it was hard to persuade my friends to come out and play with me in Bristol on Tuesdays on a regular basis. So, when one of my friends emailed me and suggested that the two of us kick off the Bristol on Tuesdays season this week I was very ready to agree.

He let me choose the time we would sail. In retrospect choosing to go sailing around 5pm may not have been entirely wise.

I hadn't sailed since early April and hadn't been out in heavy air since early March. Let's just say that I was a bit rusty. The wind graph shows the wind at 15-18 knots gusting to 28-30, but it felt to me as if it were nearer to the top end of the range for most of that time.

I wimped out before we even launched by choosing to wear a drysuit. I didn't regret that choice. I did not feel in control while we were sailing. My friend was faster than me upwind and a lot faster than me downwind. On our first downwind leg I did get the boat on a course approximating a run and did succeed in executing one gybe. After that I confess I sailed all the downwinds on broad reaches and did chicken gybes (tacked around) at the end of each reach.

After what felt like more than enough out of control sailing my friend waited for me at our windward mark. We couldn't hear each other in the wind so he indicated with much waving of arms the suggestion that we sail down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up and then in. (I may have miscounted how many more laps he wanted to do. It might have even been more.) I indicated with much waving of arms that down, up and then in would be fine with me.

So that's what we did. Only he sailed way further upwind than me, way past our windward mark. Then on our downwind he sailed way past the beach where we launched, down into the northern end of the harbor. He is a bit of an overachiever.

As we sailed back to the beach, I noticed something strange about his (nearly new) sail. Apparently even an overachiever can occasionally get his mast stuck in the mud.

And so to Redlefsens for some hot food, good conversation and several glasses of Pilsner Urquell which tastes much better than Bristol Harbor water.

I think I'm going to write off yesterday's sailing as one of those Nietzschian experiences. That which does not kill us makes us stronger.

I just hope Nietzsche was right.


Mrs. P said...

But ... what if that which does not make you stronger, just might kill you ... nah ... couldn't happen.

Tillerman said...

Laser sailing is a surprisingly safe sport if you take the normal precautions (which I have written about at various times on this blog before.) But if it does kill me one day, so be it. There are a lot worse ways to die.

bonnie said...


bonnie said...

Or should I say, "Atta boy!"


Tillerman said...

Men over a certain age are quite flattered when a younger woman calls them boys. My friend and I are both well over that certain age.

bonnie said...

Excellent. Atta boy, then!

Sam Chapin said...

Older guys or smarter guys use smaller sails?? No, that wonh't get you "stronger".

Anonymous said...

Here's one for ya to watch Tillermon. Irie!
Oh btw, s/v Selah is in the water just to the north of ya

Tillerman said...

Thanks Anonymous. So when will I be able to sit on my deck on a Wednesday evening and watch s/v Selah racing on Mount Hope Bay?

Actually you might be out there now, but the visibility is so bad that I wouldn't be able to see you anyway!

Anonymous said...

Last night's race was cancelled due to the weather and too few boats ready to participate. S/V Selah is incapacitated due to water in the fuel. We should be racing next Wednesday :)

Tillerman said...

Excellent. I need to get some tequila.

Anonymous said...

Better get some tequila (for your back) and retire to the back deck, Selah will be out on the bay this afternoon. First race starts at 1830. 6:30 PM
Yor are of course welcome to join us.

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