One of my favorite bloggers and twitterers is Mark Hendy. He lives in the UK and shares a common passion for sailing. One of his recent posts was about how he got into sailing thanks to his sailing mentor, Tony. One outing on a boat with Tony and he was hooked:
Once we got the main sail up and switched off the engine I could feel
the boat moving through the water under natures own power; the sound
of the water along the side of the hull was magical and I was in a
place I liked being. It became obvious within the next few hours that
I loved sailing and I knew I needed to own my own boat. Not a shared
boat, my own.
This got me thinking about my own sailing mentors. I have been sailing for over 20 years and there have been four. The first two were both called Tom and could have not been more different.
Our first sailing instructor was a retired engineer called Captain Tom, who was retraining to be a Lutheran minister. At weekends he taught sailing on his Morgan 42. What a lovely guy! A great teacher who took us under his wing, taught us how to sail and then helped us find our first boat a Cape Dory Typhoon. Coincidentally we bought it from one his former mentees. Without his help and advice we would not have become addicted to this great way of life.
Great photo by Bruce Kerridge and story behind the photo. Although I think he may be wrong about the origin. I always understood that the brass monkey was a pile of cannon balls. When it was cold the brass cannon balls contracted and the pyramid of cannon balls fell apart. Hence the balls fell off if you get my meaning.
I’ve had a few emails from people who've seen some of my sailing shots,
asking for a shot taken on-board during long ocean yacht races when
I've been stupid enough to do those races.
This one sure ain’t ‘photographic art’, but you asked for it....... So what you see is what you get
It’s taken midway through the annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race – one
of the classic ocean races of the world, and taken at a location about
80 miles offshore in the Bass Strait, between mainland Australia and
This pretty much sums up sailing especially stuff what needs fixing:
The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing
that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly
go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or
repair. - Douglas Adams
Photos by Guido Trombetta . Here is the email I received about this: "Storm
with whirlwind strikes Isola d'elba. Hundreds of boats sunk or
scattered over the beaches. One skipper is still missing in the sea"
I became involved with this organization a few years
ago. Both my parents were stroke victims, and both were paralyzed as a
result. Frankly, until that time, the disabled were relatively
"invisible" to me. But, when your daily routine is suddenly changed --
a whole new world opens up. I knew that I would have to do more in my
life to help 'people with special needs' -- and I loved sailing. So, I
got this great idea -- how about doing something with handicapped
sailing. Fortunately for me, many people with far more experience were
already pioneering this venue -- and by amazing coincidence, a program
exists right here in New Jersey -- and not far away at all. So I got
involved in 2006 as a volunteer. Now, I'm hoping to do more to assist
this fine organization.
Sail Habilitation was founded by Dr, Stephanie Argyris in the
mid-1990's, as a way to help with rehabilitation in certain phyiscal
therapies. Stephanie had sailed Sneakboxes growing up on Barnegat Bay,
and got the idea that the very tactile nature of sailing could help
people in recovery. From that, grew a program of holding community
sailing events open to all people of special needs. These events are
currently hosted once or twice a year at the Lavallette Yacht Club on
the Tom's River in New Jersey. They are open to anyone with a special
need, including the extreme elderly, and their caregivers. The
event generally lasts about half of a day. Clients with special needs
and their caregivers arrive early in the morning and are fed
breakfast. Volunteers, under the direction of professional Physical
Therapists, assist in outfitting the clients with safety gear and
transferring them into sail and power boats, donated by members of the
club and other local sailors. Clients enjoy some time on the water,
then return for lunch before ldeparting.
This is great program that needs to continue and grow. At this
time, we are urgently seeking donations to fund this year's community
sail, scheduled at Lavellette for Saturday, August 1st.Essentially,
Sail Habilitation needs to raise $4000, in order to cover the premium
for the liability insurance required to conduct the events (this
premium would also cover any additional events for the year). Sail
Habilitation is strictly a volunteer non-profit (503-C) organization.
Every $1 that is donated goes directly to the special-needs clients --
all other items, foods, docks, boats, management, etc, are donated.
Very few charitable organizations can make this claim.
You can read more about Sail Habitation here and by Charles Zusman from the Star and Ledger here.
Here are members of SailHabilitation "Team
Odyssey" who raced the Sonar class for the USA in the Paralypics last
year in China. This is a high profile organization, and much more can
be realized for these folks. More is found on their website.
How to Help
The nonprofit Sail-Habilitation must raise $4,000 for insurance to
continue holding free Community Sailing Days for people with physical
disabilities or special needs. Although the next community sail is
planned for Aug. 1 at the Lavallette Yacht Club, it cannot be held
unless the group can pay for insurance. Those who would like to contribute may send a check made out to Sail-Habilitation to P.O. Box 228, Island Heights, NJ 08732.
For more information, e-mail email@example.com, and the organization's acting president, Antoinette Gobar, will respond.
Last weekend, I crewed on Knot Again in the Keyport Yacht Club Bill Volks Cup in aid of Leukemia. Last year we won the B1 non-spinnaker Class. This year in addition to some tough competition from Keyport we faced our own clubmate on Forbidden, a fast boat with a great pedigree.
As ever, I was on starboard winch, partnering with my pit-mate Jeff. The regatta was a two-day affair, with 3 races on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. We won the first and third race on Saturday but came last in the second as we got the headsail fouled-up on the pole drop. Sunday we were second and third. We ended the weekend second overall with Forbidden in first. (We got our revenge on Wednesday by winning the mid-week race against Keyport, taking first in a fleet of 15 boats).
It was an eventful weekend physically. Winching on these fairly short races is a surprisingly good work-out but it was also eventful in a couple of other ways. Firstly, on Saturday, I made the mistake of standing up to tall over the winch on a tack. The traveler was released accidentally and the boom flew to starboard on the tack, smacking me across the head at speed. So that's how the boom got its name.
It cut me pretty badly and I bled like a stuck pig all over the winch. I was lucky. It was glancing blow. If the boom had been an inch or so lower, it would have probably knocked me out.
I went to ER that evening. Fortunately the wound did not require stitches and was simply cauterized.
Sunday, was equally eventful. Basically I slipped while standing on the lazarrette and barked the hell out of my shin. It was bloody painful and I let out a loud Anglo-Saxon expletive. The 12-year old lad who was on board was delighted by this and even more so when I showed him the wound. "Cool" were his exact words.
The irony is that I played rugby for 7 years and soccer forever but never suffered anything but a few knocks and grazes. My worst sporting injuries have all been sailing. Who says it's a genteel sport?
In future I will be suiting up for regattas like an NFL player.