18 July 2007

Out to Sea Without a Paddle

The Pre-eminent SuperBlogger of This Sailing Genre, Tillerman, today wrote about his outstanding light air sailing techniques. Some poppycock about sitting on the low side, remaining still, sensing the Force, illegal kinetics, hidden fans, and superior local knowledge. And, when all else fails, carry a paddle.

The paddle part cracks me up as I have sitting forlornly in my V-Berth one paddle, never used as far as I can tell. Both of my daughter's El Toros come equipped with Standard Regulation PingPong Paddles, neither of which have seen saltwater in anger.

And it's not just because my boat has an engine or that sculling is faster than paddling but because of a Merit 25 I used to crew on. This particular boat carried an underpowered outboard to get out to the race course but it was stowed below in a manner completely unresponsive to retrieval apres-race.

So we sailed back to the slip. But the slip was completely unconducive to sailing into so we dropped the sails, took a series of sharp turns trying to maintain momentum through the labryinth of O-dock and just prayed that we'd have enough juice left to make it to the slip. But we never did.

So, the crewmembers with the longest arms were shanghai'd into rowing duty. And I was usually in this job. After a long day racing who the heck wants to row a keelboat upwind into the freakin' Berkeley Typhoons? Not me.

Some days when I wonder why I have a 7000 pound beast of a keelboat instead of some sleek ULDB sportboat, I just have to remember that those peoples' obsessive compulsion to shed weight means they carry carbon paddles to get back to the slip and I just don't want to deal with that.

1 comment:

Pat said...

Carbon paddles! Great, where can I get one? Do they yet make the new carbon nanotube models, for even greater weight savings? Could they have helium gas sealed inside to counteract even more weight?