Tillerman is at it again, using his bully pulpit to make us "sailing" bloggers conform to his will. This time, it's which sailor would you invite to dinner. The obvious answer is Mr. Tillerman but I'm not going to suck up that much just to get my fourth consecutive Top Ten Sailing Blogger of the Year award (2005, 2006, 2007). I mean, seriously.
There are other answers...Donald Crowhurst to find out what really was going through his mind, Dennis Conner to find out how to make a boat go fast, my Dad to get all the stories that I've forgotten over the years, Paul Cayard to find out if he was worried that we might beat him to Hawaii, Francis Joyon to listen to him talk about sailing in French, and Larry Ellison to ask for a loan.
But I don't have to make up an invite list because I've had my dinner. It's a well-kept secret that beneath their contemptible love of Nietzsche and Sartre, the guys and gals who sail the Single Handed Trans Pac (known as Trans Packers) are an amazing bunch of sailors. And, possibly, even better people. Think of the sheer sailing skill and personal strength (physical and mental) to make that trip with no company for 2 to 4 weeks. What really amazes me is that these sailors are sailing to Hawaii BY THEMSELVES but somehow make incredible lasting lifelong friendships on the race. How the hell does that work?
I am fortunate to be friends with two of them, one a former winner and one who goes into the race knowing he'll be near the back of the fleet. So I invited them over to dinner together, had a great meal, shared a bunch of sailing stories, and was able to get to know them both outside of a sailing environment a bit more. I don't know if either of them completely understand how amazed I am by them and their accomplishments but I'll raise my glass to Phil and Chris like we did at dinner and toast to "sailing to Hawaii!", knowing full well that I can't do that trip solo. I'm just glad to know a couple of guys who can.