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TWSA Sail 4-25-22

This was my tenth time sailing.

At this age, the brain makes patterns more slowly, but they are better ones. That is what medical research says, borne out by experience.

I can only grasp maybe two things per sail. The rest of the time is spent in nervous agitation about the dangers. 

I was working the starboard jib station. Every time that boom went across the midline inches from my head, my ears perked up, and I was supposed to be doing stuff. At one point I went fore to make an adjustment, the boat dipped, and I had to grab for the rigging for reals. 

What did I learn? There is an intuitive subtlety to points of sail and sail trim. That is the first thing they teach in books, but it looks so dry in a book. Randy made the minutest adjustments and explained things along the way. I always come away with something ineffable from Randy’s fifty years of getting out on the water. Like me, he is refitting an old boat, one that belonged to his father. It is fool’s errand in money, because an old boat will never be worth what you put into it, but you do it as a heart matter. You love the ole girl and want her to be okay. 

There is so much good in my boat I just can’t stand it. I can’t stand the wrecking ball. 

But then, I worked for an architect for five years and have written five plays about architecture. I am hypnotized by the building itself. At a certain point in the world of architecture, you are in line for your building project, and this is mine.

An Architect, Cady has taken ASA 101 at a celebrated PNW sailing school and said there was so much class time and information to digest that she didn’t have enough time on the water to let it all soak in.

Having read the beginning textbook for ASA 101 and passed the class to get my Boater’s Card, I would like to add that the seals, the birds, the sound of the boat moving through the water, the wind, the sense of fellowship, the mortal danger of fifty-degree water, and the colors of the Puget Sound sea and sky are all a part of the sensory experience and have to be balanced with all that technical jargon.

In real time with four or five others lives depending on it.

I learned that at a certain point in the opposite tack, you pull the line off the winch, stand back, and let it fly. If you don’t, the jib will not get the necessary amount of wind and the tack will fail, leaving you in irons and everyone just a little cross.

I also learned that you pull on the line too soon in your tack, it tangles up the jib, causing the tack to fail.

Everyone was very nice about all the failed tacks. 

I looked around at all of these people, everyone on the boat for their own reasons. The question is, what is my reason for being here?

I have a boat, and while it is mostly expected to sit in a marina and be written on, it is stupid not to know how it functions, even if I don’t have the accoutrements to take it out, the principal accoutrement being a fellow sailor or two. My boat is not really okay for me to single hand. She is too heavy. If I were a six-foot man of 180, she would be fine. The boat I would need is perhaps a Hanse 315, a lake boat with a self-tacking jib costing a mere $125K, but then that is the reality of boats.

There is the other matter of sailing. I grew up in the Gulf Coast area. All this cold is not reasonable for a trip to the beach. This water is the wrong color. It should be brown and warm. When it rains, the rain should come down in buckets with a green sky. And on rare occasions, entire houses should blow away. 

That is a normal situation for a boat. It sometimes ends up squashed up on top of other boats, but when it’s not, it’s a lot more fun. This here is smoothed out on both ends of potentiality and only fun for two months of the year. 

TWSA Selfie 4-25-22

Nothing in my life belongs, but at fifty-eight, single, with my folks gone and the kiddos all grown up, a sense of the new generation having taken command of the world, before the hip replacements and the knee replacements and the slide into watching the boats from the club bar, there is no harm in testing the waters. 

Sailing is a fancy-sounding hobby until you face all those vectors. Then it is a slog, or it is “that time I took a class” and the rest of the time, a hired charter captain, or better yet, a ride on the ferry. 

© Joann L. Farias 2023