Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Now, I am that Speed Bump!

Gary Jobson came to SSA last Friday and gave his stump presentation. Gary is Mr. USA Sailing. Figuratively, with his video production company covering major sailing events and his face being omnipresent on U.S TV for coverage of Olympic sailing and the America's Cup, and now literally as Gary Jobson is to be the next president of U.S Sailing. Gary always introduces the show with about 15 minutes of personal sea stories.

This year, Gary related two stories about how, as an oldster (he's about a year older than me), he now comes up against the youngsters ........ which got me thinking about Lasers and my time in them a long, long time ago. Rewind some thirty years when I was a decent local Laser sailor and, particularly in a breeze, if an oldster perchance got ahead of me, I knew it was just a matter of time before I ground over him ... and it happened just so.

What goes around, comes around. Now when I borrow a Laser, I have become that momentary speed bump for those young and fit Laser hot shots. But I must admit, I take immense satisfaction if I beat just one and, I mean just one, sailor who is under thirty. That's one advantage of an oldster, we keep lowering the bar of victory.


Windrustler said...

Remember this Rod?
A Sunday in February, 1974 ? Laser Frostbiting. A moderate Northwesterly breeze became a blustery cold front as the clouds turned into a brilliant blue sky. One by one the Lasers dropped out until it was just Rod and me, screaming downwind to the bottom mark out by the spider buoy. Rod augered in and I took the lead. Rod wasn't righting the boat. His shoulder had dislocated. The SSA crash boat came to his aid and rushed him in. I was now the leading and only boat and it wasn't even a race anymore as even the RC had gone in. I flipped as I turned to the long beat home. Going upwind, I could now feel the true wind strength. A true Northerly buster with those spume filled whitecaps and vicious puffs. I flipped again and yet again. Taking it easy wasn't working as even with the main eased I still continually caught the boom end in the water and capsized again. Now cold and very tired, I was slower and slower to right the Laser. Alone on the water, I finally was unable to right the boat and just concentrated on clinging to the gunwale. My wet suit wasn't doing much and back in those days, I stupidly wasn't wearing my life jacket as it floated, zipped around the inverted mast (doing me no good). Fingers too cold to work anyway). I still remember floating at eye level, looking back upwind at SSA thinking for the first time ever that I might not make it back. What a strange day to be in such a fix. Brilliant sunshine, sailing and a good sailing breeze. Shaking off my lethargy, I decided to stop trying to right the boat and concentrated on just maintaining contact with it. At one point I was washed away and had to stroke hard to get back. I carefully climbed on the smooth orange bottom and clung to the white daggerboard. Far upwind I saw sails as the AYC Frostbite fleet started their race, running downwind - towards me. In about 10 minutes the lead boat approached and I hesitantly used one hand to weakly wave. They came alongside and I couldn't/ wouldn't let go of the centerboard. If I did, I knew I couldn't do any more for myself. They bodily hauled me over the rail and I recall being grateful, lethargic and that the boat was named "Godspeed". Well, thank God for Godspeed. I shivered violently, intermittently and slowly warmed up. By the time I got to SSA I was motive but very tired. I took a long, long hot shower.

Tweezerman said...

Fixing that dislocated shoulder slowed my sailing down enough that I started dating the girl I married ..... many moons ago.