Friday, May 03, 2013

Rowdy Raunchy Loud Hysterical Crazy Fun

In a Scuttlebutt newsletter back in March there was an article by Glenn McCarthy arguing that the decline in sailing over the last 40 years is because it isn't as much fun as it used to be. He says that the sport is striving too much for perfection, crew are under pressure to perform their duties well on board, even sailing clothing has to reflect a businesslike atmosphere, and after sailing folk run off home as if they were leaving work. He makes a plea to "bring on the rowdy, raunchy, loud, hysterical, crazy pranks, shenanigans, hoot and hollers, in anyway and every way you can." He wants to convert sailing back into a really fun time.

He's right of course.

What's the point of doing something like sailing if you're not having fun?

It's not supposed to be like work.

But who are these people who go sailing and never have any fun?

Haven't I spent the last eight years writing a blog that tries to expose the fun in sailing, that makes fun of myself and makes fun of others, that is even crazy and hysterical at times?  Can anyone read this blog for any time and not come to the conclusion that sailing is fun?

Hell, I wouldn't go sailing and I wouldn't write this blog if it wasn't fun most of the time.

Of course, kids know how to have fun on the water. I was just finishing up six years as a junior sailing instructor in the year I started this blog, But I did write at least one post Kids Learn by Playing - Duh! in which I discussed how to balance safety and learning and FUN in a junior sailing program.

So why don't (some) adults have fun when they are sailing? I don't get it?

Is it because racing isn't fun? Absolutely not.

Sure it's fun when you are winning. I do win occasionally. No, really.

But 99% of the time I don't win, and most of those times sailing is fun too.

Yesterday I went for a sail by myself on Bristol Harbor.

It was blowing 12-15 knots on a glorious sunny Spring afternoon.

I worked upwind for about 20 minutes and then went reaching down the waves, zig-zagging back and forth all over the harbor.

Hiking right at the back of the cockpit. Spray flying everywhere. I may have let out the odd hoot and a holler or two. Nobody could hear me.

All by myself having fun in the sunshine.

Rowdy, raunchy, loud, hysterical, crazy fun.

Maybe Mr. McCarthy should buy a Laser?


George A said...

I think the whiners are all sailing big, boring tubs instead of entertaining, lively dinghies. If I had a big boat I'm sure the maintenance alone would be soul destroying. After watching any number of big tubs in Annapolis, that seemingly never leave their slips, I've come to the conclusion that the bigger the boat, the less often it gets sailed. Maybe the owners get their joy from just bobbing up and down at the dock with cocktails--sort of an expensive patio with a water view...

Andrew Burton said...

Or maybe the ones not having fun racing are getting sworn at by their competitors and watching pros cheat to pass them because their livelihoods depend on winning. That's a couple of the reasons I left the Laser covered up this year.

Tillerman said...

If a pro had to cheat to pass ME I can understand why he would swear.

Tillerman said...

I am sure some big boat sailors have fun but Glenn's original article does seem to be bemoaning the lack of fun in some big boat racing programs when they get too serious.

Anonymous said...

Your story reminds me of the Aussie 49er crew in the 2012 Olympics. When leading a heat, the skipper fell off and they tipped, recovered and finished 4th. Next day they headed out with the skipper wearing goggles and a snorkel. And a big smile. They won the gold medal.

Tillerman said...

There you go. Even Olympic sailing is fun if you have the right attitude.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Big boat sailors (a) work longer hours to pay for their slip fees (& such) and (b) and have logistical problems of scheduling crew preventing them from yielding spontaneously to going out for a day sail. Big boat sailing vs Laser sailing is a conversation about team sports vs individual sports. The fun of racing keelies beats any other team sport I have ever been a part of.

Tillerman said...

Oh yeah, Forgot that factor. Hated team sports when I had to play them at school. Another reason for me to be a Laser sailor.

George A said...

Ditto. Hated team sports, hated crewing on Lightnings. Tolerated having a crew in Penguins. Returned quickly to single handers like lasers and finally back to Moth Boats, my first love. These days the only team I could see myself on would be in ice dance and even with that there's an option for solo performance. No, I'm not anti-social. I like a beer with friends as much as the next guy. I'm just too contrary to be someone's team mate. My son on the other hand loves any sport that has a team and a ball. Go figure.

Dave in Assonet said...

All sailing is FUN!!

/ Pam said...

I have to admit, I have more fun when sailing two up with Doug on a Laser, Fish or Butterfly. When our butts bump just right, we nail the tack, when they don't, we swim. We come back soaking wet, grinning ear to ear, having discovered newer ways to tip, tack, bump and grind.

Anonymous said...


Post a Comment