05 November 2007

Faster Than a Speeding Pretzel

One of the tricks I learned early on in my sailing life was how to gauge speed. The trick is to know the difference between "I'm drifting hopelessly" and "I will someday make my way home at this speed" on those windless days.

Oh, there are all sorts of high-tech ways of figuring out this distinction. And some low-tech ways. But there is only one satisfying method to determine this. The Fabulous Pretzel.

The trick is to throw the pretzel in the water and see if you are faster than the pretzel. Of course, you're both being carried along with the current, please don't let that knowledge interfere with your pretz-speed-meter enjoyment. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that you can propel a boat faster than a pretzel on a windless day.

Looking at the chart above got me thinking, what's the fastest pretzel? I've always indiscriminately thrown whatever pretzel I had on board. I'm thinking you want something that has extra bouyancy (unlike those nasty sinking peanuts, most pretzels will float). I think the more classically shaped pretzels will stick to the water surface best and lose their momentum from the throw most quickly. Surely, they're the best gauge of your speed. A stick might keep momentum and make you appear slower than you actually are.

Camille and I actually beat both stick and classic pretzels this weekend on our first doublehanded voyage. If our crew-work and boat-handling is that fast, the Berkeley chowder fleet has a lot to look out for this season!


Anonymous said...

Oh, so you're not racing dots, you're racing pretzels.

EVK4 said...

When your boat is that much faster than the pretzel, it's hard to call it a "race".

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Sounds like this could be the start of a new series, Munchies on Modays?