Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Sailing Burbles

You know, volunteering (off my own bat) to update the Sailing Club webpage, and take, upload and edit photos, isn't always as easy as it seems. The main page is basically complete and at the great set-and-forget stage, and only photos and news reports/results etc need to be updated as things happen. As there hasn't been much happening lately, there hasn't been much to do.

Then last weekends' regatta happened... I took a whole heap of photos, and experimented as to how to present them. It's a round-about process, but it kinda works OK.

I was feeling quite happy with it all - until I got an impolite email from someone (who shall remain unidentified) and should simply know better, that I missed out taking some photos, and missed out on some specific details. They basically suggested I favoured the Lasers above the other classes of boats. Well, that's just bullshit.

I didn't take any notes over the weekend... I just took happy snaps as I walked around, as I've always done at most of our sailing events. I simply cannot capture everything, especially when I'm actually out on the water myself. I have a simple camera, not some whizz-band hi-tech piece of equipment. My photos are simply happy-snaps. I really appreciate when people forward me their photos, so I can add them to the page as well. Some person got a bit short with me because I didn't name them nor their class of boat when I updated the webpage. Well... grrr...!

All I ask is that people kindly let me know if they have any further names/details of something, to just let me know, and I'll update it, you know? No dramas. This email was, frankly, rude. Fook it!

I'm doing all this to promote and publicise the sport of sailing in our regional area, that's it. No hidden agendas. I'm not a professional. I just do it because I enjoy doing it.

It comes down to the fact that some cat sailors simply detest anyone who sail any other class of boat. It's a childish, bigoted attitude that really ferks things up for everyone else, who are simply there to enjoy themselves. This guy should know better. Unfortunately, he's young and impressionable, and sits back observing how some of the older guys in the big cats just speak dirt about any other class of boat - Laser or otherwise. I guess he just assumes "that's the way we do things (we cat sailors)". Well - he's wrong! heh heh

Maybe they were unhappy because they didn't get to feature on the photo pages, but rather the 10-yo boy who won his division overall!

Give me the boy any day - he was totally stoked!

And HE was a cat sailor! hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Anyways... I updated the webpage with the correct details, so if anyone wants to complain again, they can go jump! heh heh

OK OK OK... rant ends!

Here on my blog I speak a lot about Lasers and sailing one - and that's simply because that's the type of boat I have at the moment. I don't consciously slant the Club webpage that way. All the classes that sail around here are represented in one way or another. The beauty of this blog is that it's MY blog, and I can say what I want, and it doesn't affect anyone else in the Club etc etc.

I like Lasers, but that doesn't make me some die-hard "Lasers Forever" kinda guy. I personally prefer a monohull, but whatever type or class of boat or yacht someone sails, that's fine by me - just so long as people are getting OUT there on the water and enjoying sailing, you know? That's the main thing. That's where I'm coming from.

Laser sailors are a funny breed in themselves. Because it's a one-class boat (that is, every boat is practically identical to the next, so, in theory, the only difference between them is the sailors' skills rather than the actual boat), there's lots of "sticking together" in a funny kinda way. But it's a friendly, helpful, sharing kinda thing. It's not competitive - not on shore, anyways. People leave the competition for the water - and what happens on the water, stays on the water.

Laser sailors... every one I've met (ranging from State Champions to local plodders) all willingly and happily share sailing skills, insights, info, rigging and trailer tips with anyone who asks them. I've really enjoyed and appreciated the helpful assistance of people who share themselves, to help me feel more comfortable and more effective as a sailor, regardless that I happen to sail a Laser.

I really wanna mention Graham Lasky and Chris Dewhurst, from W'ang SC, for their friendly encouraging support of me personally, over the last 6+ months I've seen them around the traps in the region. I never feel put down or belittled by the fact that I admit I'm not a hard-core racer. However, simply by asking, listening and (for me) by watching them out on the water, I've learned absolutely HEAPS about myself and my boat... my strengths and weaknesses. So guys - thank you very much for the simple, friendly way you guys encourage me out of my socks.

The same sincere thanks go to local Club Laserites like Marcia Lac and Folkert Janssen (amongst others), who, also, have passed on much helpful, friendly and effective wisdom about sailing over the last 2+ years out at Carcoar.

And to Timothy Hone - where would I have been without your friendship? You are like a brother to me, and I love you as one.

Most Laser sailors talk with all sorts of people who sail all sorts of boats too. But in my limited experience, in my only two years of getting back into sailing, I'm finding there's an almost bigoted blinkered 'racism' some cat sailors display to anyone else. It really upsets me. It's a really bad example for the younger people coming thru the sport, be it recreational or otherwise.

I guess my sailing background is obviously thru my dad, who was totally associated with the Scouts, and the Manly 16-ft Skiff Sailing Club in Sydney. The scouts sailed absolutely ANYTHING! I mean, seriously... my old man used to convert SURF BOATS into a sailing boat (complete with like a 30-kg lead centreboard!!!)... load 'em up with like 12 scouts, and take 'em out sailing! Now who says THAT'S being 'class-conscious'? hahahaa.

At the Skiff Club they sailed three different classes of boat back in the day, so the fact that I'd sail in a Skiff on Saturday, and a Flying 11 on the Sunday simply wasn't an issue for me. I'm not a 'class-die-hard' kinda guy. My last boat was a Solo, and I'd never even heard, let alone seen, one before I bought it! I really enjoyed that boat. It was perfect for me to get back on my feet and into sailing again, after 20 years away.

At the Regatta on the weekend, they was a guy from Scandinavia who sailed some type of windsurfer (I'm not sure what class it was, but some whizz-bang one!). I felt comfortable talking with him and asking him really stoopid, obvious questions because - I don't know blot about windsurfers or how to sail them. He was really insightful with his outlook on how they work, how he approaches them, and the different aspects of such a physical form of sailing. I really appreciated his viewpoint. Even sailing upto him out on the water, while he would take a break sitting on his board, splashing himself with water to cool down a bit, he'd still smile - you could tell he was having a ball. Sure, he wasn't being competitive at all, but he was enjoying his sailing. To me - that's all that matters.

He actually went out for a sail late Friday afternoon/evening, in the drizzling rain and heavy overcast gloom. Most people stood and looked saying he was crazy. I actually thought it was great! He was dressed warmly for the conditions, so that wasn't an issue. I was considering going out myself then, but the thought of going for a swim and having wet sailing gear for the rest of the weekend didn't appeal to me. Call me a wimp, I don't care! heh heh. As it was, he stayed out for over an hour, and came back beaming.

And, when all is said and done - isn't that the main thing?
I had to laugh when I finally got all the sheets etc for my boat... every single one was a different colour! I didn't plan it that way, but if it was a training boat for a noobie, it'd be perfect! "Pull the orange rope... ease the blue rope..." etc etc etc. On a Gherkin-green hull, I've an orange main, a black vang, a pink outhaul, and a red downhaul! I was gonna call it "Technicolour Yawn", but sense prevailed! hahahahaha.

But I had to laugh... one of the Lasers I spotted at W'ang last weekend had a bright purple mainsheet on a yellow hull!!! hahahahaha.

The sail on my little boat isn't the original, but it's still got a good shape in good condition. Last year I was contemplating getting myself a new one, but at $1,000 a pop (yes, that's not a typo, that's $1k) I decided against it. That's the double-edged sword of a one-design-class boat... you have to use one of their class-specific sails. There's no other choice.

However, there are moves afoot, at a local club level, for an imitation Laser sail to be used. It's apparently a slightly different material, but literally one-THIRD the price! For the 90% of Laser sailors worldwide, who potter about and socially race at a mainly non-competitive level, something like this would be a godsend. They wouldn't affect the boats' performance at all - but they'd sure save the hole in your hip pocket forking out for one of those, rather than the genuine article.

Sure, if you're gonna sail at a large Laser Regatta at a high level, you simply wouldn't be able to use one. For practising with, and sailing at small club level (like around here, for example), they'd be perfect. And for the rest of us, who potter about, to have a nice new crisp sail for a third the price would make common sense. But - we'll just to wait and see how it all pans out.

There's no way I'm gonna fork out a grand for something I don't essentially need - there's absolutely nothing wrong with my current sail. It's just that it's not new - and that doesn't mean zip to me :)

And yes... I still talk to my boat out on the water. I caught myself a few times on the weekend saying, "Good girl!" to my boat as I was (occasionally) zipping along!!! Ya, I'm crazy... but happy.

And yes... I still sometimes stop while I'm out there, and say a big "Thank you, dad!" - for passing his passion onto me.
Peas be with ewe

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  1. Great post on many aspects of sailing club culture and Lasering in particular. That bit about someone complaining at you for the way you updated the website reminds me... I keep meaning to write a post about this whole issue of how our sport is run by volunteers and how badly we sometimes treat them. Maybe coming up soon...

  2. Time on the water is good.

    B.S. time not quite so good.

    Blinkered, narrow-minded, loudmouths can go somewhere else.

    Anyone who complains about something at the club or on a club/sailing website is OBVIOUSLY volunteering to do more of the work, right?