Merrily Against the Wind & Frostbiting

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by Merrily, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    OK, I admit that’s a pompous title, but now I’ve really got something to live up to. No shirking at the club, the regatta circuit, or the writing. I'll be keeping this blog.

    I’m getting ready to give my first fleet party. Some fleet parties are more like business meetings, with meting out the RC duties, collecting dues, and beating the drum for National dues. That’s got to be done, but I’m aiming to come away more with a feeling that you’ve been to a party.

    One thing I’m planning to do is play the raw footage from Rooster Sailing’s Boat Whisperer. There’s about 40 minutes offered of silent footage of high speed upwind and downwind sailing. I’m going to have that on my big screen TV in the living room as people arrive, and I’d like to compile some tunes to play along with it. I’ve got some stuff already that I’ll keep as a surprise, but does anyone have any ideas for some high-energy music to go with Laser sailing?

    Back to that nitty-gritty stuff--I'm restarting my fleet at my club. Last year I was a fleet of one, with occasional walk-ons, or sail-ons, if you prefer. There are at least half a dozen people with Lasers at the club, but they just sail them when their other boats don’t work out for crew or what have you. There has been some interest from new people, so there’s hope. I'm weighing how much to charge for fleet membership, obviously, not much at this stage of the game. Yet you get what you pay for, and I’m still feeling my way on what you get. So I'm curious how much people are paying in fleet dues, and what they get in return for it?
     
  2. WestCoast

    WestCoast New Member

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secretary

    whoa Merrily, I'm doing the same thing this weekend.

    I'm now the fleet captain here, and we're going to have a fleet meeting/drinking at the club this Sunday.


    ....wish I had a big screen TV to show Laser videos on, that sounds like a good idea.

    Try to get your local dealer to sponsor the fleet. Otherwise, $10/person for a year of racing.
     
  3. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secretary

    I’m showing the Rooster DVD and a video called “Hot Yachts, Cold Water,” recommended to me by Tracy Usher, but the big screen TV is not as good as it sounds. In fact, I hope my miraculous old TV is not too distracting. When we watch DVDs, there is a permanent display that says “Video 1” in the upper left corner.

    The Saga of my TV:

    The TV was new nine years ago, and it didn’t seem too miraculous when we got it, in fact I was downright put out by it. John went out “just to browse” at the Sony store and came home with a rear projection big screen TV. It took two men to carry it into the house! He justified it by saying that it was the smallest of the big screen TVs, and he got it at a bargain price because it was a floor model. That’s like being the nicest of the damned.

    Despite my squawking (you know--normal married people discuss large purchases), I soon wondered how I lived without it. Guys, don’t try that at your home. There’s a fine line between can’t live without it and sleeping on the couch. A couple of years ago the TV needed some service, and the repairman said these TVs usually only last about six or seven years, so we were already living on borrowed time. Then in 2004, we were struck by lightning.

    It was just after dawn and I was still in bed, and it sounded like a cannon went off right outside the bedroom window. I leaped up because I smelled wood smoke, and I thought my house was on fire. In a panic, I threw on some clothes and ran outside in a driving rain and ran around looking up at the roof of the house. No fire, thank heavens, the rain must have put it out, I believed, but it was strange that I couldn’t see where there was a strike. So I went back in and tried to settle down and restarted my day with a cup of tea. I called John, who was already at work--at least I tried to call him. The phone wouldn’t work. So I went around the house and checked stuff out. First, all the circuit breakers were still on, but we had big problems. No stereo, no TV, no air conditioning, no furnace, no hot tub. My computer would come on, but not connect to the network.

    First, I put in a work order to the phone company from my cell phone. When I finally got through the phone tree to a person, they told me to reboot the phones. Huh? It’s something I didn’t think of, but the phones are plugged in for the backlights and memory and all, unlike the old landlines. So I rebooted by unplugging, letting it sit a bit, and voila, I had telephone service. So what’s good for the phone is good for the TV, right?

    Right! It worked. I unplugged that sucker and when re-powered, it came right on. But it now has that quirky message “Video 1.” In the first few minutes of a movie, it can drive you to distraction, if you let it. I just don’t let, and I don’t see it once I get into the movie. So, I’m wondering how much that will bug my guests at the fleet party. We are waiting until prices come down on the newer model TVs--that or the miracle ends.

    BTW, it was the tree in front of the house that was hit by the lightning, a huge old silver maple, and the lightning traveled through the roots into the basement and branched out to random places from there. The tree survived the rest of that year, but it was girdled and died the following spring when the sap couldn’t rise. Poor old tree. We whacked it down last summer.
     
  4. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secretary

    Gollum

    I received a Garmin handheld GPS as the Christmas present from John. Its purpose is to check my speed while sailing alone. I’m really looking forward to using it this summer, only there is a fly in the ointment. I can’t find it. How do ya’ like that for irony? I took it to Florida for Masters MWE, used it for my practice days, then absentmindedly placed it somewhere. It may have sprouted legs; it may be in my house. If it’s in my house, it’s somewhere illogical, because I’ve, we’ve, checked all the logical places. I’ve lost my present, my preciouss. I’m at that maddening stage of looking for something. What has it got in its pocketses?

    I have a feeling that my house is going to be cleaner than it has been in ages. :D :mad: :(
     
  5. calicosine

    calicosine New Member

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secretary

    hi merrily, terry here, wow what a great story about the tv, i have one thats about the same but not as funny, except maybe in a ironic way. about 15 years ago i had this great house in des moines that i was sharing with these two strippers that were friends of mine.thats not really relevent to the story but i like to tell that part hahah, anyway one day i left for work and about 3 hours later i get this call from my neighbor telling me i need to come home because my house is on fire!i say say yeah right good joke and he says no i'm serious the fire dept is here now you better come quick. so i run home and sure enough my whole house is in the process of burning to the ground!needless to say not a happy day, to make a long story short, lightning had hit the tree next to the house and went down the roots and touched the phone line and travelled through it into one of the upstair bedrooms.it then started the wall on fire and proceeded to burn down the house starting from the top down. by the time i got there the whole top floor was gone and the firemen had stopped it before it got into the lower level.so i know how those lightning strikes can be.i lost everything i owned except two guitars that for some reason one of the firemen saved because he was a guitar player also{usually they never try to save things}i still have those two guitars but everything else was a total loss, if it didn't burn it was totally water and smoke damaged, thank god for renters insurance.!so count yourself lucky that all you lost was a tree.i know this may sound kind of stupid but have you tried resetting the tv again and going into the main menus? you should be able to turn off that annoying input 1 messagewith either the tv remote or the dvd player remote.anyway enjoyed your story.....good luck with your sailing i liked the pictures you posted, the water sure is bueatiful there in florida.......terry
     
  6. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secretary

    Sorry you lost your stuff. We do count ourselves as lucky that day. Yup, John has rebooted and and tried the setup menu time and again.

    This weekend we have our first work party for club clean up. It's been all shut down for the winter and there'll be spiders to evict, leaves to rake, and boats to move.

    I bought a 5 inch deck port from APS. It turns out that the O ring is not included in the original setup--so I'm waiting to see what else I need. I don't want to pay another $4.95 in shipping for an O ring. If only I'd called them! Well, something that I need will come up. It always does.
     
  7. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secretary

    I’m bummed.

    Today is the first day that work begins to get our clubhouse and grounds in order after a winter of being shut down. There is even a list of necessary activities.

    1) Assisting in removing and remounting pontoons.

    There was a leak in one of the pontoons on the RC boat, so a member who’s a metallurgical engineer fixed it this winter. (Aren’t we lucky!)

    2) A couple of float hangers need to be replaced.

    There are two floating docks that individuals pay a handsome sum for, to be able to shove their boats right into the water. Last year one boat was a Thistle and another a Comet. They could save money if they had Lasers.

    3) Grounds cleanup - as always. Much to do here.

    I was also taking my rake.

    4) Depending on when work on the whaler bottoms is to be done, they could get pulled out and the tent frame and cover could be put over them and staked down.

    The two whaler safety boats get put on the covered patio in the winter, or maybe they are actually inside the clubhouse. I don’t know what the work on the bottoms is, cleaning or painting? I help maintain our powerboats, so I could do either.

    5) Paint marks with bottom paint the first chance the weather cooperates.

    Oblative paint-it wears away over the season to keep algae and stuff from growing on it. If you have to move one that's been in the water, it is nasty. I used orange oil to get some off of my clothes last year.

    6) Trim trees over the road. With a pole trimmer and a ladder it is possible to get to masthead height.

    Last year someone who I won’t name was doing this job and fell from the tree with a running chainsaw in his hand. All he got was a nasty gash on his forehead. The rumor is that he accidentally sawed through the branch that he was standing on.

    7) Get manpower to put boats back on trailer that have blown off. I believe the 2 that were off have been put back but it would be good to check.

    Wow, I don’t know what kind of boats they were. Must have been some wind.

    John and I had planned to be there and do whatever we were recruited for. I was also going to bring my vacuum cleaner, which I have an attachment to, :D , to attack the dust and cobwebs in the clubhouse. Anyway, I’m bummed, because we are sick. It’s some kind of virus that causes vertigo, muscle aches, sore throat. Every time I bend over, the room starts to spin, so I’m staying vertical to avoid vertigo. We had flu shots last November, so it ain’t that. I’d rather be working at the club getting things spiffed up for the big day in April. It’s nice to be with other sailors working on a common task. It’s mostly just work, but once in a while, there’s a bit of excitement. See number 6.
     
  8. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secretary

    Seat of the pants

    You’d think getting a play list together as a sound track for the Laser sailing footage would be simple, but nothing is ever simple when it involves Janet Rupert and computers. Think Merrily, rub rail, dead last, and add impatience, incredulity, anger.

    Bradley knows. I tried creating a website using a program that I bought. I had a great looking website, only I never could get the dang thing to launch. Generous Bradley then handed me an idiot-proof template to fill in, and Voila, the D18 website was born. http://d18.laserforum.org. When I log in, open the Settings page, which is the real gutty-works of the site with the code, there’s a personal message from Bradley. It says, “Don't mess with this unless you know what you are doing!”

    I don’t so I don’t.

    Here’s the problem--though I’ve been an avid reader all my life, I don’t read programming instructions before I start. I plunge in. (It’s very much like my Laser sailing.) I don’t read the instructions because who in the world could find them? You know what I mean. It’s easier just to click on all the icons to see what stuff does. If it’s intuitive, then I go ahead. If not, after doing an Edvard Munch imitation, I search for the magic decoder ring, AKA Help. Then after rooting around for several minutes--sometimes the Help is helpful--but often not. Then I give up.

    So that’s my process.

    I had a pretty good thing going with Real Player. I downloaded a free version before Christmas, ripped some of my favorite tracks, burned them to a CD, and sent them to a friend as a Christmas gift. All by the seat of my pants. So for the Laser party sound track, I happily ripped another dozen songs from two albums and also bought a single download from Real Player. My first music purchase ever was “Wipe Out!” done by the Challengers.

    Then my troubles began. I have a tiny little MP3 player that I’ve been using as a radio. It was time to get my feet wet with putting songs on there, so what would be better than my party sound track? The Player, let’s call it Exhibit M, came with its own instruction book and installation CD. I easily installed Exhibit M’s program, but like a rat pressing a button for the cheese, I tried and tried to import the Real Player files into the Creative Media Source Organizer, and it just wouldn’t work.

    OK, we’ll fix this!

    My bright idea was to go to Real Player, now Exhibit R, and import the stuff needed to use Exhibit M with it, but as soon as the download of the drivers was complete, Exhibit R told me that there was an error and it had to shut down. Bold, Exhibit R, bold. I shut down, then reloaded. Another bold message. OK, the thing to do in these situations is to reboot, so reboot I did. Another freakin’ must shut down message!

    OK, this can be fixed!

    If it doesn’t work, it must come off of my computer. I easily removed Exhibit R, and loaded another different free version. Just for grins, I found that it wouldn’t deliver files for Exhibit M either, and this new free version was very different from the old. I had to learn how to use Exhibit R2 from scratch. And why, oh why, didn’t I burn a CD with the party Playlist before I began?

    OK, surely something can be done.

    Finally, muddling around with it, I was mortified to discover that Real Player saves its tracks with its own protocol, an “.ra” suffix. Exhibit M is an MP3 player, so the persnickety thing wants an “MP3” suffix. Blast! None of the tracks that I ripped will work--it was two days of fussing before the ra/mp3 disparity occurred to me. Worse, “Wipe Out” that I paid good money for is .ra.

    OK.

    I returned to Creative Media Source Organizer and re-ripped the tracks as MP3s and purchased “Wipe Out” as an MP3.

    I was all set now.

    I plugged Exhibit M in to my computer and the proper icon on the player lit up and the computer made a happy chirping noise. And drum roll please--it didn’t work. Despite the chirping noise, my computer sees no portable device to drag and drop tracks into.

    So, I tried it in the Mac, and it sees Exhibit M and is raring to go. Merrily and the Mac will be another chapter, I’m sure. I’m going to burn my Playlist CD and make sure it works, right now.
     
  9. calicosine

    calicosine New Member

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secretary

    merrily, i run both systems( mac and the evil microsoft) and i will have to say that for music stuff and graphics the mac wins every time, try using i-tunes. you can also download a free i-tunes for windows that works good on my windows laptop.you cant beat a i-pod for ease of use! i love mine, i even take my i-pod shuffle out with me in the laser in a nice little water-proof case. you can basicly plug a i-pod into just about anything and it will play. good luck with the evil windows ............terry
     
  10. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secretary

    How did your meeting/party go, WestCoast?

     
  11. MasterMike

    MasterMike D22

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secretary

    YaGottaGettaMac! The new OS10 Tiger is great. Everything is tied together and easy to use.
     
  12. lasersailorvbc

    lasersailorvbc Member

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secretary

    Hey merrily, is the boat whisperer rooster cd any good? So there is no sound at all? Are there tips or is it just footage of sailing? If there is some kind of instruction, or commentary on the video who is it by? Thanks
     
  13. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secretary

    Yes, there is lots of instruction and sound! Steve Cockerill, owner of Rooster products, sits in front of a TV screen and talks about the footage, stops it, draws on the screen and makes a great commentary. I think it's very good for the intermediate sailor. I was a little disappointed with the downwind sailing, that he didn't explain how S curve sailing is done in particular. In the 2 DVDs he covers upwind and downwind with high winds and how to ride and manage waves. I have a ton of practice to do with it. Too bad it's pretty flat on our reservoir.

    The same footage that Steve uses for the instruction is offered separately on the discs and it is silent, and that is what I will show with my own soundtrack.
     
  14. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secretary

    Nitty-gritty language lesson.

    This is a pet peeve. Since I started reading sailing stuff, I have never seen so many people choose the wrong word between lose and loose, as in "loose the race."

    If native speakers mix it up, how's an English as second language guy supposed to choose the screen name that he intends, as in LooserLu, when he sees it constantly wrong?

    So here's the lesson--loose means baggy, easy, or runny. Loose, looser, loosest. Here's the nitty-gritty part: Clothes, women, or bowels can be loose.

    Lose means to come in last. Some people are so competitive that if they come in second, they feel they've lost. It's lose, lost, lost.

    A loser is a person who has come in last or someone who tends to fail. If you mix the words up because you've given it no consideration, your thinking is loose, but you are not a loser, just sloppy.
     
  15. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secretary

    Woo Hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Found the Garmin! It was in a "hidden" compartment of the camera bag. We are getting ready to go to a night of drinking, eating pizza, and watching sailing video with the club crowd. John was getting the camera ready and found it! Yippee!! Whooping and hollering too!!
     
  16. Bradley

    Bradley Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secret

    I'll have to agree. The Mac is great for so many things, especially music, word processing, email, web browsing, etc. It's nice being able to surf around without worrying about a virus attack or spyware getting installed on the computer.

    However, I still use WinXP everyday to manage this website and others because there just isn't as good free software like WinSCP and putty (although mac os 10 has something like this built in) for a mac. Not to mention there is a lot of other software that only runs on windows.

    So my solution, have both.
     
  17. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secret

    Therefore, I can lose the race because I covered the other boat too loosely. Isn't English fun:) ....
     
  18. odinsvitskjaldr

    odinsvitskjaldr Member

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secretary

    Merrily is quite the English teacher! It's so easy to lose control of the English language and many people are very loose with their language usage.
    Let's not forget that if one is LOST, then one is also usually LAST. But that brings in a whole other word, less, of which the superlative form is last,a phonological contraction of the morphemic construction *less-est, of which another phonological variant is least. But there one raises the possibility for confusion with leased, which is etymologically derived from the verb to let.
    Oh, and Merrily, you got me thinking again about poor lost loose Lucky Spence. LOL
     
  19. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secretary

    Lucky Spence is a poem written in older English that odinsvitskjaldr helped me to translate. Something about it will show up in the book that I'm writing. Thanks, Jay!

    Phonological. Phonological? Is that where it’s a better idea to call rather than e-mail? And morpheme--why do you bring up a narcotic painkiller?
    Phoneme, morphine, trireme--at last, at least we are back to boats.

    Also, in searching for the Garmin, I turned up 2 lost necklaces and a pair of earrings, and a 5-dollar bill.

    At our movie night we saw Awesome Aussie Skiffs. The ad for the video described it as, “A non-stop feature of the most outrageous sailing action ever seen. Watch as the 18's destroy the known barriers of performance on the water, and survive some of the most hair-raising crashes imaginable.” There were endless cool high-speed nosedives, cartwheels and pitch-poles of these winged skiffs. It turns out that the wings make pretty good catapults, ejecting the crew if they are not quick enough to drop off the back or fall inboard.

    Next we watched the 1997-98 Whitbread Round the World Race. Volvo now sponsors this race. The 60-foot Whitbread racing yachts were water ballasted and could plane. In harbor some of the safety boats struggled to keep up as the boats swept away at 30 knots. The crews battled cold weather that stiffened their muscles and slowed their reactions, but they also battled mental fatigue. By the time the boats got round the world many of them had failures of their high-tech equipment and the crews worked constantly at jury-rigging. One fellow fell and had a compound fracture of his arm. As one skipper put it, his goal for the race was to not die. The one all-female crew managed by singing and laughing their way around the world. Excellent!
     
  20. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Merrily Against the Wind: The Adventures of a New Fleet Captain & District Secretary

    Ay yi yi!

    I had my first fleet meeting at my house last night. John and I were inspired by the number of new visitors to our home, and to get ready, we cleaned and sorted beyond what was needed. We even delved into closets and the basement and got a real head start on some Spring-cleaning.

    I invited everybody who had a Laser, ever mentioned wanting a Laser, anybody who sailed in our Laser regatta with a borrowed boat last year--in short, anybody who ever thought about owning a Laser. How did I know what people thought? Laser wannabes are easy to spot, as they are cooler than other people. :cool: The guest list came to about 50 people, but only about half that number came. So a respectable number of fun people interested in sailing Lasers partied at my house last night!

    I set up my Laser in the front yard as a better “this is the place” marker than balloons on the mailbox. That worked out well. In addition to a finding aid, it gave one of the partiers who is thinking of buying a boat some idea of what to look for in a boat. (Note to self--tell him about the rub rail.)

    I also showed the Boat Whisperer footage with my soundtrack as people were arriving, and it was popular. I played surfer music--Beach Boys and a new guitar group called the Duo-Tones. John did some cable rerouting to be able to play a DVD and a CD at the same time with our stereo and TV. I’ve told him that he can’t die because he’s got the electronics systems in the house so complicated that I’d have to hire a service to add or take away a component. He agrees that he can’t die. No one asked about the “Video 1” in the corner of the TV, so I assume they didn’t notice it.

    We provided drinks and people carried in some nice food--shrimp, wings, a veggie plate with hummus, sushi, puff pastries, some kind of gooey chocolate bars, and a homemade bunt cake fresh from the oven are some of the items I remember.

    We also watched the movie “Hot Yachts, Cold Water,” made in 1984. The Laser footage is especially cool in this Warren Miller movie. There were Lasers with four digit numbers doing a slalom in San Francisco Bay. Miller’s commentary is dry. With the capsize footage, he says, “It’s a good thing they put the little platform there,” as the sailors jump over the back of the boat onto the centerboard to keep from falling into the frosty bay.

    There was a bit of moaning when I said “fleet meeting,” but I got kudos for brevity. What’s to say? Fleet dues, national dues, a tentative scheme for sharing club Lasers. I saved requests for aid for the Laser regatta for later. October is a lifetime away, and as one member said, “I could be dead by then.” Fleet membership quadrupled, as in going from 1 to 4 people. To be fair, most of the people don’t have Lasers yet. I hope to pick up a few more as the season goes on, as people see the benefits of membership.

    After that, the group dwindled very slowly as we talked about sailing for hours into the night. There was some discussion on tactics on how to win the 24-hour endurance race that will be held at my club on May 28-29. I won’t share!

    One story that I heard was on how not to win a race. Two brothers, who are now nationally known sailors, were sailing in a regatta as teens while their father watched from shore. They both approached the windward mark on port, and there was a long line of boats on starboard tack approaching from the lay line. It was bow to transom with sparse gaps. As one brother began to bear off to a gap 10 boats back, the other muttered, “Watch this.” He sailed to the head of the line, hit a boat, rounded the mark, did his 720 turns and sailed on to a high placed finish. I tell this story because it amazes me that people act like that, and it’s part of my learning experience to realize that they do and to not be taken in by it. It seems like if this happened more than once, your credibility would be destroyed with even those who didn’t hear the “watch this.”

    Anyway, we had welcome visitors until 1 a.m. Now I have a bit of a hangover. Ay yi yi! At least my house is clean.
     

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