Anybody remember the classic scene in Tommy Boy where Chris Farley puts on David Spade's tiny little jacket and starts singing "Big Man in a Little Coat"? If you don't, just trust me it's funny.
That's how I felt taking my daughter's El Toro around the marina last week. I was sticking in the protected waters and just enjoying myself but for some reason I got a lot of attention. At first I thought it was my rogueishly handsome looks or maybe the fine cerulean paint job on Starbeam. Then I noticed the smiles. Not just "wow, I'd like to buy that splendid sailor a beer" smiles, but "look at that goof" smiles.
I lived with it since I was sailing Starbeam for the greater good up until I made a grave mistake. They say that pride comes before the fall and a more true statement has never been uttered. I was sailing towards the sea-wall by the YC close-hauled, sitting in a very comfortable position. I was about to reposition myself for the tack when I noticed a lady on the sea-wall taking pictures. "OK" I say to myself, "I'll just sit here like this for the photo."
And I did, I sat there like that for the photo. Then I noticed that my speed-machine was racing towards the sea-wall that she was sitting on and it would be in my best interest to tack immediately. Except, it's awfully hard for a 6'2" man to tack an El Toro when facing sideways. Well, it's possible but you end up splayed about the boat dead in the water and the assembled masses laughing at you.
I don't think words can do the position I found myself in justice. I was facing forward, my legs stuck under the little bench on either side of the centerboard trunk, the tiller hopelessly pointing skyward, and a bewildered look on my face. Being exactly in the middle of the boat, once I completed the tack, the boat heeled over and took off, completely imbalanced.
I just hope the lady stopped taking pictures out of sympathy for my sad big man in a little boat plight.