Shortly after commissioning Knot Again the Admiral and I started cruising. Knot Again is a C&C 35 MK III, a great racer cruiser. When we cruise with the many cruisers of our club, we are often the first boat in port and have a head start on sundowners and party planing. Chardonnay time is a real favorite aboard our boat. Knot Again is a stable, fast, roomy and well-found vessel. She has gotten us through some very uncomfortable experiences, which in hindsight may have been hurled at us by Poseidon and his pal, Aoleus. (see Wind; Lats and Att’s issue 97, June 2008). We also race her and have collected a boatload of silver over the years.
My son, Adam (not the owner of this blog), loves Knot Again. Shortly after the name change he and I and four other stalwarts entered the Around Long Island Regatta. As far as ocean races go, this one is a short race of about 200 miles. The course is to keep Long Island to your left from start to finish. The start is off Breezy Point and there is a 100 mile easterly ocean leg taking you to Montauk Light where a sharp left turn takes you northwesterly through Plum Gut into Long Island Sound. You then head west until the finish at Hempstead Harbor. The only really dangerous part of the trip is through Plum Gut where the tides often exceed your boat speed and, when cleared through the gut, there are underwater spires that reach to about 6’ from the surface if your stray too far left after entering the Sound. For most boats, this is no problem however; if your keel is 6.5’, beware!
Here is where this gets weird. Ariadne is not what you would call a common name these days. One of my crew had a new daughter and her name was, you guessed it, Ariadne! Having excessive scientific hubris, I did not connect the dots and see what was coming. After about 80 miles of beautiful sailing, we set the chute for a reach to Montauk. Most of the crew was new to the boat, as were its owners. My foredeck man, a very nice bloke nick named Sven was used to manhandling the spinnaker pole on the boat he raced on. Knot Again had a roller bearing car on which the pole could be easily raised and lowered on its track. The wind lightened and I called for the pole to be raised to increase the belly in the sail. Sven, thinking that he would have to manhandle the pole upward, released the up-haul line from its cleat and gave a mighty tug. He positioned himself over the pole in order to get good leverage and when he pulled the pole, now released and riding on its ball bearing car, it flew up and caught him on the chin where he almost bit his tongue off. I gave him some ice to suck on and after a while, the bleeding stopped. OUCH, one crew down.
We made the turn at Montauk and had a lovely run through Plum Gut. Then we met it. The boat was an Express 38. It was, believe it or not, named Cerberus. I was down below trying to sleep and my son Adam was on the helm. We had the big chute up and were doing about 8 knots. We were flying. Cerberus. Not even in our class came chasing after Knot Again, or was he chasing down Persephone who has escaped from Hell. Cerberus had rights and pushed us left. Adam, now too busy racing and not acutely aware of the hazards lying below was actually going faster that Cerberus and almost was abeam to regain rights (back then, mast abeam was still in the racing rules). Just a few seconds from safety, I was awoken from my sleep by a loud and horrific sound. Until I was re-aware of where I was, I thought a train hit us! When I popped my head up through the companionway and saw where we were, I instantly knew what had happened. I grabbed for my electric drill and started to undo the floor panels to see if we were taking on water – we were. At this point, I told the crew to put up the protest flag against Cerberus as he had pushed us into shoal water and after our crash did not stay to assist. I assigned the crew to the manual bilge to assist the electric pumps. I radioed the Brewer yard in Greenport, explained our circumstances and turned the boat around to go back through plum gut. We doused the sails and were able to equalize water coming in with water going out. OUCH, one boat down. We arrived at the travel lift at low tide. Water in equaled water out, that was good, however, draft also equaled depth, that was bad. We were barely able to make it into the slings under full power while making a gouge in the mud. When the boat was hauled, the front of the keel had a decided gap all around the front. The yard manager heard Ka-Ching as he surveyed the damage. Cerberus prevailed and had returned Persephone to Hell!
Twenty some thousand dollars later, I still did not get the message. A year or two later, while on the hard, a storm came up right after the boat was placed onto its jack stands. The yard had not yet installed the chains to prevent the stands from moving. The wind caught the cover and pulled it off the boat. The ties caught a jack stand and pulled it out from under the boat. Knot Again tumbled to the ground. My rod rigging sliced the mast of the Tartan next to me in two. My hull was scraped, but intact, however, my long keel was positioned at a new and unique angle and my rigging was toast. OH NO, Knot Again! Ka-Ching! Some thirty some thousand dollars later I got the message and appeased Poseidon. Since then we have enjoyed great cruising, escaped from Aoleus’ fury (see the wind article) and have had much success racing, coupled with wonderful cruises.
There are times when cultures clash leading to humbling and sometimes ominous outcomes. In this case, the conflict involved science butting its head with sailing lore.
I am a scientist, a Professor of Psychiatry at a medical school. I am trained to debunk myths and rituals. In fact, many rituals are deemed to be pathological. People believe in magic and concoct many, often life strangling, rituals to keep them seemingly protected and safe. In OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) these rituals can ruin people’s lives. I spend many of my professional hours trying to help people free themselves from the tyranny that these rituals can cause.
Naturally, when I purchased my current boat, I thought nothing of erasing its old name and placing “Knot Again” in gold foil on her transom. My previous boat, an older Pearson, lovingly restored to better than new condition, was dubbed “Knots of Luck” when we renamed her after purchase. I wanted other names such a “Olimbic Games” ( a pun on the limbic system, the emotional control center of the brain) and other cute appellations, which were summarily dismissed by my Admiral. The family was able to agree on Knot’s of Luck, so it was done. Nothing bad happened.
When we bought our next boat it was named Persephone. Prior to it being called Persephone its original owner named it Ariadne. For those of you not up on mythology, Ariadne was the daughter of king Minos of Crete and his wife Pasiphae, the daughtrer of Helios, the sun-titan. Ariandne’s claim to fame was her aiding and abetting Theseus in overcoming the Minotaur.
The story goes that Minos’ son was killed in a war against Athens. Minos, then attacked Athens and the vanquished Athenians asked for term so he would not further destroy the city and its inhabitants. The settlement required 7 young men and 7 maidens be sacrificed every nine years to the Minotaur. To make matters more interesting, a white bull, was sent to Minos by Poseidon as a sign showing that his beating out his brothers for the crown of Crete was sent by Poseidon in answer to Minos’ prayer. Minos was supposed to offer this bull as an offering to Poseidon, but, kept it as he thought it was beautiful (those old timers really had problems listening!). To make matters worse, Minos’ wife, Pasiphae, fell in love with the white bull. Legend has it that she had Daedalus build a wooden cow that she climbed inside of in order to make love with the bull. The Minotaur, half bull half man, was the monster created by this tryst. Dedaedalus was then summoned to build a giant maze, a labyrinth, to keep the Minotaur entrapped.
So Ariadne helped destroy her brother (half brother? This would be one of those times when the kid says her brother is a monster that she would be correct!). Back to the story. Theseus was one youth selected to be fed to the Minotaur. Ariadne fell in love with Theseus and helped him by providing him a sword and a ball of thread to find his way out of the labyrinth. It worked just like an ancient GPS and Theseus was able to overcome the Minotaur and find his way out of the maze. To recap, after her mother slept with Poseidon’s gift to her father, which led to the creation of the Minotaur, Ariadne helped Theseus kill the Minotaur. Freud would have had a field day with that one! Do you think this might have caught Poseidon’s attention? Don’t piss off Poseidon.
I cannot imagine why someone would want to change such a fine boat name as Ariadne, but, the second owner decided to deep six Ariadne and replace it with Persephone.
Persephone has many stories associated with her, but to cut to the chase, she was kidnapped and taken to Hell, where she became known as the “dreaded goddess” and “Queen of the underworld” and consort of Hades. Now, due to many different shenanigans, lots of people including Demeter (who stopped the earth from making produce, Orpheus, Adonis and the nymph Minthe (who got creamed!), Pirithous and, get this, Theseus (see above) were tied up with chasing Persephone. Bad things happened to many who had dinner with Persephone and Hades. The idea of having my boat named after the Queen of Hell just did not seem right to me.
Just to complete the history lesson, at the gates of Hell here is a three headed dog named Cerberus. Cerberus’ job is to make sure that people only can get into Hell, but they cannot escape. This monster has a snake for a tail and snakes down his mane. He does his job well. Thus endeth the lesson.
Poseidon, I don’t worry about no stinking Poseidon, so I changed the name without due homage. We wanted to stay in the “Knot” family and, since this was the next boat, we decided on Knot Again. The next boat may be Knot Ever Again! Remember, Don’t Piss off Poseidon.
The poll on the left has been running for a couple of weeks and the results are very interesting. As you can see from the chart below, Saucy Sal, aka Sarah Palin is far and away the number one choice to take on a lovely days' sailing. In my view, there could be two reasons for this:
1. The readers of this blog are ultra conservative, gun-toting creationists. If this is the case, I am switching off the blog today!
2. Or, you are a bunch of horny devils who have seen the allegedly photoshopped picture of Sarah Palin in a bikini. After doing a bit of analysis on my blog using quantcast, it seems like the average reader of this organ is a 45 year old, college-educated, white male (which is interesting as that is what I am). My conclusion is that you are a bunch of dirty old sods and I love you all!. The blogosphere can breathe a sigh of relief as this blog lives on!
The other thing that interested me is the margin between Obama and McCain. I am an Obama supporter so I am delighted but to be honest I am kinda surprised. As much as I hope Obama becomes the next pres', I would rather take McCain sailing. First of all, I think the first hour or two with Obama would be wonderful, but I think it might get a little exhausting by hour 3. He does go on a bit.
While I don't agree with McCain's beliefs, he actually seems like a helluva good bloke. I used to love him on the John Stewart Show before he swung right. As he was a naval aviator, I bet he knows the difference between a bowline and bowsprit. I also suspect he has a few salty stories in the locker.
Biden's dismal showing is not exactly surprising. He seems like a pretty dull cove. But as my friend Howard of Knot Again fame pointed out to me, Biden's hair looks like some weird inflatable device, so he might be quite useful in a storm.
I am going to keep the poll going until everyone loses interest, so as the saying goes - Vote early and vote often!
A special and sad one today. In memoriam of Richard Wright, the keyboard player from Pink Floyd who died this week, too young at 65 from liver cancer. I have been listening to a lot of Floyd this week.
I never liked Floyd much when I was a kid. I was more into punk. Many of my friends were huge fans and thought I was a dope. How could I not love this band? I even had the view of the Battesea Power Station from my window, made famous by the cover of Animals. Stupid really. I missed seeing them live in their prime. It was later as my tastes matured that I grew to appreciate and love their music.
They are such a classic band and their music is so enduring. Much more so than the stuff I was listening to in my pseudo-angry teen years. It's wonderful that even now, their music still attracts new fans. My teenage son came to them on his own. It's so amazing when you see young guys wearing a DSOM prism shirt or other Floyd paraphernalia, not just because it's retro cool but because they genuinely love their music.
I think this quote by David Gilmour summed up the guy. Here he is opening Comfortably Numb with David Gilmour.
“In the welter of arguments about who or what was Pink Floyd, Rick’s
enormous input was frequently forgotten. He was gentle, unassuming and
private but his soulful voice and playing were vital, magical
components of our most recognized Pink Floyd sound.”
It was hard to find a good video of Richard Wright as he fell out with Roger Waters and never played with Floyd again whenever Roger Waters was in the band. I found the one below from a recent concert with David Gilmour. .