Saturday, February 20, 2010

I like to sail alone

Why am I showing all these old photos of Lauralee and my self? That's simple. It is to show you that I've been doing this a long time, on a lot of different types of boats. So I've earned my grumpiness.
Jon S. and myself, built our first boat together roughly 40 years ago. they have always been a part of my life.

I am happy by myself. It is no secret that I like to sail alone. Or with Lauralee. my wife.
In Summer I sail to and from a mooring. In the Winter I use a Slip. I don't like the dock as much. That has to do with my dislike, or intimidation of engines. I can't tear down an internal combustion engine , and put it back together better than I found it. So if it's idling funny, or the carburetor is gasping for air I don't know exactly what to do. I am just more comfortable under sail.

Under sail power...I've spend the better part of the last 35 years pushing various sailboats around. I understand them. And I've spent the last 25 years pushing Seque around. I know exactly how she reacts. So today I had my main up. [double reef] And my jib ready at 50%. I removed the fenders on the lee side. No need for them. I had the boat set up to sail out of my slip. [like I do ALL the time.] Then I hear, Hey Frank we're going sailing; wanna' come?

Gee thanks guys; but I'm all set up to go. Well, you need a hand with those lines?"

[Note to self: If you ever hear these words again... just say no thanks I'm fine.] .

It's Garry; and he is with a bunch of guys from the yacht club...So I decide to be sociable. Problem is these are guys who own big boats. Most of whom use their engine for everything. So while they "are" sailors...they are not "sailors" in the same way Lauralee, or I am.

When you work moving boats around a boat yard for 30 years or so; you kinda' pick up a few things. I have been on a lot of different boats. And everyone is different. But because these folks own one big boat, and belong to a Yacht Club, they are all a bunch of Captains. Literately incapable of taking instruction IE crewing. So without even asking me how... they all start untying lines and pushing the boat around.

"Guys please don't do that." [no one is listening to me at all]. "no don't untie that line" The boat, as I usually set it up, is using the sails power to push it against the dock where the fenders protect the gellcoat. I oversheet the main so the power is light enough that I just incrementally ease the boat away from the dock, backwind the jib pre-set at 50%, and sail away.

Nobody does any thing I say. " don't worry Frank; we got it". It feels like I am not even there. Now my bow is scraping against the slip downwind of me. Segue's gellcoat has lasted over 25 years. But now some idiot with fear in his eyes ,and no comprehension of the English language is trying to fend me off, and push my boat to windward. The Hulk couldn't push my boat to windward. "Please guys STOP. Your not helping" Still no one listens; "we have too many captains and no crew." Garry un-cleats my spliced on line that I use to stop the boat when I sail to my slip. So now, I'm scraping against the leeward slip where I have no fenders out.

"Why don't you have your engine on?". "You never put up a sail in the slip why did you do that? That's your problem." Don't cha just love unsolicited advice?

So I scream this time "Please Guys; I got it! Just leave the F@*king lines alone!" "I'm fine." "Look I do this all the time: ALONE". "You guys are not helping. Just get the f@*k out of here, please, thank you" and so I shoved off and went sailing. But now I'm the BAD guy. I'm the asshole who lost his temper. These guys may be competent sailors in their own right. but they did not know, or understand how to work as a crew. If they did, someone would have asked me what the plan was. Instead they just started pulling lines, with out any understanding of what the captain wanted. It felt like they were doing everything possible to purposely damage Segue .

It is the arrogance of success. Smartest guy in the room syndrome... Because each guy has achieved a certain level of excellence in one thing... they assume they have that same level of expertise in everything they do. Each one assumes they are the smartest guy in the room.

Well now you know why I don't RSVP to your stupid events.

You know why I respectfully decline, whenever you invite me as crew.

And I don't invite you on my boat.
I was so angry; I let it ruin my sail and my whole day.
When it's windy; I windsurf.
Breezy; I sail.
Waves; I surf.
Hot and sunny; go fishing or swimming at the beach.

So I let you ruin my sail today. That one was my fault.
I won't let it happen again.



Cooper E 230 said...

Yes, I agree with every word, it's as if I wrote it myself.
I sailed an R-boat, 40' wooden Sloop built in 1923, in bristol condition after multiple restorations, on and off a mooring for 24 years with no engine.

It's a SAIL boat!

Many times had people who wanted to 'help' and spent days fixing things after.

I've given her away now, she is in Canada still racing,
you can see her at

Keep sailing!

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that the new "starter Boat" length was 30 feet.

My Bay has become a collection of floating real estate.

No question; there are some great sailors on our little pond. But sadly, most have no clue what a clew is.