Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Here is a great video of Lasers rounding a leeward mark with one, then numerous capsizes as the boats pileup, crashing and generally committing mayhem.
At least the commentators have a sense of humor - at 1:22 they ask if one of the boats is illegally sculling as he tries to back off from being on top of another boat's transom.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Our Club didn't race on Friday so I just went out in nice breezes of 10 - 12 knots for a re-orientation session and went through the basics to make sure I hadn't completely forgotten things. I did have a couple of dry capsizes, but overall seemed to have the basics still under control, even doing some nice gybes. In the third gybe, the traveller block broke and I had to go back to install another one.
I was only out about an hour and a half, pacing myself and just trying to get a feel for things. I can't say there were any real epiphanies or eureka moments, but I did feel that that I paid more attention to how the boat felt as opposed to the simple mechanics of maneuvers. Still a very long way to go, but I was pleased that at least I was not totally absorbed in the basic mechanics. That is progress.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
This weekend I was driving a RIB with another fellow during our race and with a very strong tide flowing, I saw that one of the Laser sailors was getting very tired fighting against it. I drove over to her and she asked if we could tow her part way back to where the tide was not so strong. We did so without incident but I wonder if we used the best technique.
We had a tow rope on the RIB but didn't use it - we simply went alongside and as my colleague held her boat, we asked her to undo her main sheet and tie one end around the mast while we secured the other end to the RIB. She remained in the Laser with the daggerboard down, leaning forward to be below the boom and she steered it. We let out only enough of the towline to keep her in the calmer water behind our RIB. When we reached a more sheltered area, she came alongside again and as we held her boat, she took back the main sheet and rigged it again and continued back to the club on her own.
Is there a better technique? Any suggestions?
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Daniel Dennett, a philosopher and co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University is featured in an article in the New York Times. He is quoted as observing that
“Philosophers can seldom put their knowledge to practical use, but if you’re a sailor, you can. I just get a kick out of that.”
One may wonder about his use of philosophical knowledge when he named his 42 foot cruiser for Xanthippe, the wife of Socrates who had a reputation for being an argumentative, quarrelsome, nagging woman. Perhaps those characteristics would be attractive to a philosopher. However, she apparently didn't limit herself to mere debating - a famous story about Xanthippe involves her emptying a chamber pot on Socrates.
What does that say about Dr. Dennett and his boat?