19 January 2008

Talking About My Generation

Back in the late '70s, early '80s, there was an ad about the "Coffee Generation". I don't remember the specifics as I wasn't really coffee-aged yet. But the phrase stuck with me.

In the late '80s, there was a Denny's in Japantown that stayed open all night, an excellent place to end up after a night out. But what the heck do you do at Denny's when half of your peer group is vegetarian? Drink coffee, that's what. And, at that point, I joined the coffee generation.

I was hooked. Before going out, I'd hit The Terrace Cafe or NorthStar, both places that served coffee in bowls. In the morning, I'd get a super-sized mocha and a brownie, the perfect power breakfast. But, thankfully, I was a social drinker. I could quit at any time and did. I remember going to The News Cafe every day right up to our departure date for the Transatlantic. But we didn't provision coffee on the trip and I didn't miss it one bit. In fact, once we got to Europe the strength of their coffee somewhat cured me and I didn't pick it up again for a few years.

But now it's been a dozen or so years of heavy drinking, 2-4 cups per day. If I go a day without a coffee, headache city. Sort of what I imagine a migraine might be like. If I even let it enter my thoughts that somebody slipped me a decaf, I go into withdrawals. Just writing this is freaking me out.

Now, Oceanaire has one heck of a large water tank and Pac Cup rules mandate a healthy amount of water per person. But water is the absolute most precious commodity on a boat. And, unfortunately, the watermaker stays stowed due to its electricity consumption until it's absolutely needed. All of the race guides recommend quitting coffee prior to the race for these reasons.

But, as much as I love sailing, the thought of abandoning the Coffee Generation just seems wrong. Since I can't quit, what else can I do? Specifically, bring an extra stash of water for coffee and find a way to make up for the 8 pounds per gallon? Vivarin? Caffeine cakes? The coffee equivalent to methadone? I have no answers since I'm pretty sure quitting is not an option.


WeSailFurther said...

fill up a bunch of those sun showers before you go - mmm hot coffee!

And don't get them mixed up with the wash water.

Tillerman said...

I hope I die before I get old enough to worry about such fripperies as sipping a double mocha latte while sailing.

Get a grip man. You're a kick-ass blue-water ocean-racer. I don't want to read any more posts about how you're going to get your coffee in the morning or whether the yacht has the right brand of toilet paper. Let's hear about your plans for what you will do if the mast falls down in 50 knots or how you're going to survive on rainwater and fish and eating the captain's leg in an open life raft for 50 days.

C'mon if Reid Stowe can survive on bean sprouts so can you.

Zen said...

Thanks T-man, does sound kinda wimpy!

Maybe he is not ready to cross, do the Pacific run...

Not tough enough to make a go @ going down in history as a Pacific racer...

Too soft now to represent the Glorious Peoples Republic of Berkeley...without his Yuppy Starbucks fix...or Charmin toliet wipes...

This is a Tilley winner?!

He laughs at Reid...!

And he calls himself a sailor!

My God Man, get a grip!

EVK4 said...

What will I do if the mast falls down in 50 knots?!? Depends. is this pre-coffee or post-coffee?

Tillerman said...

You're confused man. When the skipper said he wanted you to be the "grinder" he wasn't talking about coffee beans.

Anonymous said...

can you stow those little starbucks espresso and cream cans? they can't weigh but a few ounces each. you could strap them to your body so they won't be found during luggage inspection.


Zen said...

Ok seriously

chocolate covered espresso beans. You can just eat them when you need a fix

Tillerman said...

Is caffeine still on the ISAF Anti-Doping list of banned substances?

PeconicPuffin said...

Chocolate covered espresso beans are wonderful. But that being said, coffee can be quit in a week
(don't tune out yet...)
However much you're drinking, cut back by half a cup...drink that for two days...cut back again by half a cup...drink that for two days etc until you're clean. done this way you may have a headache for a day...maybe.

Then sail to Hawaii.

When you get to Hawaii and treat yourself to some coffee. it's going to be fantastic. This is the payoff (not the water savings...the junkie pleasure you're going to have re-addicting yourself!)

First detox, then retox.

-Michael (I do this periodically myself. Not the sailing to Hawaii part...)

EVK4 said...

And a plan is hatched! Detox starting the last week of June. A few days of clean living in July followed by a delightful sail across the Pacific. Massive coffee bender in Kaneohe. Intervention when I get back to California.

I love it.

Michael said...

Isn't the caffeine in coffee the secondary function?

EVK4 said...

Michael, we're not sailing one-design, there's no weight limit.

Anonymous said...


We did the worlds-longest Transpac this summer, and by far the most horrifying day was the day we ran out of coffee.

All night spinnaker runs after two weeks at sea will have you wishing for a used-up filter full of Yuban to suck on as you go on watch.

I recommend about 3 boxes of chocolate covered beans, a secret stash of redbull, and the willpower to stand up to any watch captain who thinks making coffee is a waste of 8oz of water.

Good luck.