Monday, February 29, 2016

Sailing Without My Trousers

There is no doubt that I am beginning to forget things as I get older.

A few months ago I was convinced I had lost my wallet along with all the stuff in it like cash, debit card, credit cards, driving license and really important stuff like my US Sailing Membership Card. I went to all the trouble of calling the liquor store where I thought I might have lost it, notifying the police, notifying my bank and credit card companies, getting a replacement driving license, and of course notifying US Sailing. Then a few weeks later Tillerwoman found my wallet in a drawer in the dining room - a different drawer in the dining room from where I normally put my wallet so I won't forget where I put it.

I must have forgotten which was the drawer where I normally put my wallet so I won't forget where I put it.

When I am blogging I sometimes forget how to spell words like defense, aluminum and analyze.

When I go sailing I sometimes forget to check the tide.

But on the Sunday before last I did something I have never done before.

I forgot to put my trousers on when I went sailing.

The usage of the words "pants" and "trousers" is a bit different in American English and Real English. So let me explain for my three American readers.

In Real English "trousers" are an item of clothing worn from the waist to the ankles, covering both legs separately.

In American English this item of clothing is called "pants."

Whereas in Real English "pants" means underwear.



I didn't go sailing without my pants. I went sailing without my trousers.

No, wait. Those pictures are a little misleading.

When I go sailing in the winter (defined as any time between October and April in these parts) I usually wear three layers, a Gill drysuit and underneath two layers

1. Long thermal underwear - pants.
2. Highly technical "mid layer" sailing clothing from Gill - trousers.

My Gill highly technical mid layer trousers are a few years old. The current equivalent Gill highly technical mid layer trousers are these...

Gill highly technical mid layer trousers

According to the Gill website these trousers have "a smooth technical face fleece with a brushed waffle interior providing excellent stretch and warmth while incorporating wicking and breathable properties." Gill call them "Thermogrid" trousers.

Don't they sound toasty?

Anyway, a couple of Sundays ago I went down to Newport and rigged my Laser and put on all my sailing gear and launched my Laser into the frigid waters of Narragansett Bay. And then on the sail out to the start line I noticed a strange coolness in my nether regions - not to mention a distinct lack of padding in my nether regions - and realized I had forgotten my trousers.

No brushed waffle interior. No smooth technical face fleece.

I have no idea how I forgot to put on my trousers.

I may be getting old.

Of course it wasn't as embarrassing as, say, going out to a restaurant without my trousers. Or even going to the mall without my trousers. Or riding the Underground (subway in American English) without trousers.

No Trousers Day on London Underground

I was wearing my drysuit so none of the other sailors could see I was sailing without my trousers. So I decided to tough it out. What's a bit of cold in the nether regions?

I didn't sail well that day.

I only had one good start and that turned out to be a general recall. (Why does that always happen?)

I seemed slower than the rest of the fleet and was making bad technical and strategic decisions.

I couldn't really blame it on not wearing my trousers.

Or could I? I have heard some women claim that men's brains are not in their heads, but instead they are in a part of the body normally kept warm by trousers.

Maybe some women are right?

On Monday last week I went sailing by myself in Newport.

I remembered to put on my trousers.

It was a very pleasant hour or so of light wind practice.

Yesterday I didn't feel like going racing with the Newport Laser fleet.

I can't remember why.

Has my bad experience of sailing without trousers put me off Laser racing?

Am I pining to get back in the RS Aero?

I forget.

What is your most embarrassing moment of forgetfulness?


George A said...

I forgot to bring my knee pads to the Mid-Winter regatta last weekend. They were in the skating gear bag and never made it over to the sailing gear bag. Like you, I also toughed it out but my knees complained all weekend and during the 900+ miles of the long ride home. Without my trusty knee pads I was bumped off the podium by a sailor who had never prevailed against me in the past by one point. The prizes were big bottles of rum--which would have gone a long way towards making up for the missing knee pads. Not only that but last night I had to double back to retrieve my wallet before going to dinner in Annapolis. So, I (sort of) feel your pain.

O Docker said...

Sorry to hear about your trousers.

Were you near a supermarket when this happened?

It is a well-documented phenomenon that proximity to a supermarket profoundly affects memory. And being a man, you certainly wouldn't have made a list of all the things you need to go sailing.

A way to test the supermarket theory is to see if you were wearing at least two extra items you never intended to put on when you left to go sailing.

Tillerman said...

Sorry to hear about your knees George. Were you near a supermarket when you forgot your knee pads?

O Docker, I was not very near a supermarket when I forgot to put my trousers on. According to Google Maps the nearest supermarket was 2.9 miles away. Is this close enough for the supermarket to be a factor?

I am a man but I don't make lists of everything I need to go sailing. Instead I use the "container" method. I put all my sailing things in specific containers - bags, boxes etc. - and keep most of those containers in my car at all times. This works perfectly except when I forget to put something in the correct container where I usually put that thing so I don't forget to take it sailing.

My container method worked perfectly on the day in question. My trousers were in the correct bag in my car when I went sailing. All that happened was that when I took off my car driving trousers I forgot to replace them with my sailing trousers.

Is there any foolproof solution so the problem doesn't happen again? Do I need to make a list?
1. Take off car driving trousers
2. Put on sailing trousers.

But what happens if I forget where I put the list?

O Docker said...

The radius of forgetfulness varies with the individual.

For me, it's impossible to remember a forgotten item until I am at least two miles from a supermarket.

Tillerman said...

I try never to go within two miles of a supermarket.

Jeremiah Blatz said...

I one day showed up to work without trousers. Rather the opposite problem than you, Tillerman. I rode my bicycle into work at that time, and the ride was long enough that I wore fancy, highly technical biking gear. I actually went to a local store to go buy new trousers.

Tillerman said...

Thank you Jeremiah. I am glad I am not the only one with trouser problems.

Full disclosure: I did once split the rear seam on my trousers at work while demonstrating an interesting feature on the floor to a female VIP.

bonnie said...

I was going to say something funny but I forgot what it was. :(

bonnie said...

there was one March day when I got to the club for a solo paddle only to discover that the reason the shlepping (by bus) of the giant bag of winter gear didn't seem as onerous as usual was because my drysuit wasn't in there, just all the underlayers.

I went anyways. Stuck VERY close to shore though.

Barubi said...

Ever have that sinking feeling after forgetting to fit the drain plug? Or trying to find the best adjustment to correct the loose leech when you forgot to insert the battens? How about leading until you realise you've forgotten the course and have to wait for someone to catch up for a reminder?
No I can't remember doing any of that.

Skippy said...

My wife says that I lost my mind a long time ago. I write myself an email to remind me that I have an email.
On another subject - you can buy trousers at a supermarket?

Tillerman said...

Barubi - never had that sinking feeling in a Laser yet, but my wife and I did get that sinking feeling once when sailing a Hobie cat down in the Florida Keys. I was unfamiliar with the boat so I let the owner set it up for us, and she forget to put the drain plug in one hull. After a while I began to realize that one hull was filling with water. I managed to get it back to the beach before we sank but there was so much water in one hull by then that we could sit on the other side of the boat on both tacks.

I think I have rigged my Laser with no battens once or twice. It's hard to remember. But, as far as I can recall, I have always spotted the problem before launching.

And yes, I have had that problem of forgetting, or not knowing, the course when leading a race. Even led half the fleet to the wrong mark once. But, I'm not the only one who does this. Check out How I (Almost) Won the 2015 Archipelago Rally

Skippy, I don't know. Can you buy trousers at supermarkets? As I said before I try never to go within 2 miles of a supermarket so as to avoid the memory sucking field.

Damian said...

This blog could be described as having a "brushed waffle interior".

Yes, there is a lot of waffle, but it is brushed waffle - the sort of carefully groomed waffle that leaves one with the impression that one is reading something that is "smooth" and "technical".

I like all waffle, but brushed waffle is the best.

Tillerman said...

Thank you Damian. I think I will have to use that review of my blog in the "What The Critics Say" section in the sidebar.

Unknown said...

Sailing in super-cold weather sounds really complicated. Three layers of garments (including the drysuit)? Plus, you can't "relieve" yourself out in the water (vs wetsuit)? It would really test my resolve if I had to suit up like that to go sailing.

Tillerman said...

You are so right Dion.

We sailors who go sailing on a sunny day in February when the temperature is barely in the 50s are a special breed. Getting dressed is incredibly complicated. We have to put up to three layers of clothing on, in the right order and without forgetting a layer. I don't know how we ever manage to get it right.

And we also have to remember not to drink too much coffee for breakfast and to take a pee before putting on the aforementioned three layers. Only those of us blessed with superhuman memories and the strongest wills can manage such incredibly challenging requirements.

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