Highly scientific of course, this great article in Getaway on January 28 by Tyson Jopson that I came across this past week had to be shared. Perhaps the article takes itself too seriously (but if you're following the Volvo Ocean Race, it's not at all), or you say, "you sailors take yourselves too damn seriously" and that may be true but I'm pretty sure these 9 things I'm better at than most and it's because I'm a sailor! See, circular logic wins every time and because I'm the captain. First up, reasons 1 and 2, the rest in log entries to come. Let's begin.
1. PARALLEL PARKING
I know, I know. You’re great at parallel parking. You should be the president of it. The words three-point turn don’t even exist in your vocabulary. But you’re an amateur. Try backing a fire truck (without rearview mirrors) into a car wash, on ground made of water, during a thunderstorm. That’s what sailors do. They call it docking.
I do of course have mad skillz when it comes to parking a car, any car, stick shift on a hill in heels. Ask Brad about how we met, ask my Mom about that time on Capitol Hill with the Jeep, but mostly, ask anyone who ever came aboard CALIX, I can dock and yes, I've done it in a thunderstorm. And it's even more fun when there's a bunch of boys on the dock watching and wondering when it's all going to go south and then there are the nods of appreciation when they realize you know what you're doing.
Unfortunately I have no pictures coming into the dock, but I do of leaving. Getting off the dock at my first marina was way harder than pulling into it. I had to back my boat off the dock into an alley between my dock and the covered slips behind me, then immediately forward into a left turn down the main marina passage. Sounds easy, but to pivot or swivel if there was breeze against you was always the challenge. Oh, almost forget the anchor sticking way past the end of the slip on the adjacent trawler - made me crazy because I had horrible visions of my standing rigging getting hung up (bottom of the next 4 illustrates this).
Sorry the photos aren't great, my Mom took them while we were leaving to take CALIX from her slip in the Kent Narrows to her new home in Annapolis. Thought it would be fun to have a delivery party/crew. It turned out great! I'm in the yellow shirt and there's Haydn watching too.
2. WALKING STRAIGHT WHEN DRUNK
Your poker face is a farce. We all know how many tequilas you’ve had as soon as you see-saw to the bathroom like a sausage in a pinball machine. Legs don’t lie, unless you’re a sailor. A life on the water imbues sailors with a liquescent centre of gravity. The more fluid you put inside them, the straighter they walk. In fact, if you see a sailor off-kilter you should probably buy him a drink.
Being away from the water is weird, the legs keep thinking they have to compensate for something. Even weirder is being on a boat up on the hard, I'm always thinking it's moving or is going to move or is supposed to move, but it doesn't, shouldn't, and won't. Let's put it this way, the next time an earthquake hits the DC region and I'm on land, I'm ready.
One hand for you, one for the boat, or in this case, hanging on while peering up to check sails under a fair breeze. Otherwise bring me another DarknStormy!