The joy of sailing (HA!)

A friend mentioned they were going to look at boats. This brought back memories.

When i was a kid in England, my Dad got a sail boat (or yacht as the English say for anything with a sail) – I think he was given it by a wealthier friend – we certainly couldn’t have afforded it. It was nothing huge, and it certainly wasn’t new. It was 22 ft with a small engine that was noisy and stinky, and a typical mast, jib and main sail. It had a raisable keel which my Dad thought was cool, but and it did mean we didn’t worry as much about running aground in the tidal waters around Portsmouth.

To GET to the ‘yacht’ we had to use this small fiberglass dinghy with an outboard motor. I’m talking 6 foot long boat with noisy stinky 50cc (maybe?) outboard (Yamaha?).

So my Dad would drive us to the dinghy place (maybe 60 miles which in England is a LONG drive) early in the morning, get in the stinky cramped dinghy and go at about 2mph I’d guess for about 1/2 mi. ? to where the boat was moored. With bags and crap in the dinghy it was about 3-4″ out of the water at the back and more at the front of course especially when moving, but it was creepy to me seeing the dark water so close. and of course it was often cold out, or rainy, or foggy, or all of those.

We’d get to the boat, clamber on, detatch from mooring bouy, attach dinghy to mooring bouy quickly before we drifted away, and then “head out” wherever into the harbor from the small waterway (solent?) where the boat was moored.

Then my dad would attempt to sail at some point, which was a pretty hit and miss thing. Too slow and we didn’t get anywhere. Too fast and it was pretty scary as the boat leaned, or rocked, or hit waves, just right was hit maybe twice for a minute or two in all the times I went on the boat.

My dad would criticize almost everything I did on the boat (too slow, too fast, not done right, too lazy, get out of the way) – oh it was so much fun.

One time, I was told to hold a rope by the mast which held the boom up (for those that don’t know that’s the horizontal piece connected to the mast and the main sail connects to both). Anyway, he had to duck under the boom to get to the other side I think and of course I somehow got distracted and let go of the rope and the boom fell on his head. He wasn’t injured and I can laugh now, but boy was he pissed off and was i scared. Nowhere to go, him ticked. Ah, good times.

On a more positive note, the wealthier friend of my Dad’s (well compared to us when i was growing up – the friend who gave my Dad that boat i think) – well he had a 36′ yacht and we went on that ONCE out into the English channel to fish. We fished for hours in roiling seas and caught a FEW mackerel, each probably 8-12″ long. I of course got sea sick for a while and the adults all laughed telling me it was good I was getting my “sea legs”. They cleaned and cooked the fish and we ate it on board, and in a massive group delusion we all claimed it was excellent. That was the BEST experience i ever had on a sailboat.

To say i loathe sailing would be an understatement.

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