Sunday, July 13, 2008


After writing about and photographing the Chesapeake Bay for over 4 months now, it's finally time for me to tackle the topic of sailing.

There are two categories of boats, and they are:

1. Sailboats
2. All other boats

Did you know there were only two? Did you know that when I write here I can say whatever I want with conviction even if it isn't true? I can and do regularly, and most of the time not on purpose, but this isn't what I'm trying to communicate today.

For some strange reason, I prefer just about any boating except sailing, and I'm not exactly sure why. I think sailboats are beautiful; they're elegant. I imagine it would be a very exciting and relaxing way to enjoy the bay on a breezy day.

But they also appear to be a great deal of work. And if I am going to go out on a boat, the last thing I want to do is work. I have more than enough work to do around the house, I surely don't need to go search for more on a boat.

I confess I have only been sailing a handful of times in my life, and most of those encounters were on a sunfish, which is a teeny-tiny baby of a sailboat. In fact, growing up we actually owned a sailfish. I think I went out on it twice. It was too much work. Plus, I taught myself how to use it, and I may not have known what I was doing, where "may not have known " really means "definitely had no idea."

Also, there's this.

One time my Middle Sister and I took the sunfish out on the creek for a spin. I was hollering at her to do something (that was my job, to holler), the wind was not cooperating (to be specific it was shifting directions way too quickly), and we were having difficulty with the line that controls the sail. Of course there's a term for this line, of course I don't know it or remember it, of course this is my story and I could just make something up and say it with confidence and those of you who don't sail would never know the difference. But I won't today. Maybe tomorrow.

We were sort of stuck in the creek with no way to move because That Line was not taut, meaning the sail was floundering, and Middle Sister was not moving quickly enough to improve the situation. Just as I was midstream hollering out more instructions for her, the wind suddenly shifted directions and the sail swung back around violently and hit me in the head. It hit me so hard it knocked me out of the boat backwards into the water. I actually completed a back flip. It happened so quickly there was no possible way to prevent it, and it was so hilarious I laughed underwater. I laughed underwater, thankfully without inhaling.

Somehow or another, I got back on the boat, but not before Middle Sister had some choice words. Because this is my story, I'm going to say that she wasn't very helpful in the situation, and of course if she'd been following my instructions to begin with, I wouldn't have been knocked off the boat.

In writing this, I did a search on sailing terms, to try and figure out exactly what that piece is called that swung around and hit me. Here's what a particular site had to say:

" Respect the boom! Some of the most common sailing injuries are a result of not being aware when the boom is about to swing. To avoid a bump to the head, or even worse, being knocked overboard, one of the most important beginner sailing tips to always remember for both passengers and crew is to be conscious and respectful of the boom at all times."

Sailing is too much work.

And hazardous to your skull.


Unknown said...

The visual of you getting knocked out of the boat is sorry, didn't mean to laugh.

What was your middle sister thinking? I can say that because I have two middle sisters!

Love love love the picture!

Anonymous said...

I don't remember all of the details to this story, but I think it's a "boom". I used to work at a marina nearby, and I got hit in the head with a boom while I was cleaning the boat one day. It hurt!! I do remember that little sunfish. It always felt like there was no wind at all when we took it out.... Middle Sis

Mental P Mama said...

Good grief. This was so perfectly written I could see the whole episode. I could even hear you hollerin'. All the way up here. Too funny.

Bear Naked said...

Can't get over the fact that you laughed underwater.
I would have been in such a panic, laughing is the last thing I would do.

Bear((( )))

foolery said...

Sailing requires consciousness? Sheesh. That sucks.

Thanks for the smile today, Cheeky!

-- Laurie

Anonymous said...

Boom Boom
Out go the lights

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

gj-Please laugh all you want, it makes my day, and I laugh at myself most of the time. That's exactly what I did right when it happened.

Middle Sis - I cannot believe you don't remember this. But I am glad you know the term, and we'll go with boom. That's the sound it makes when it clonks a person on the head.

mpm - oh, I was hollerin'. Glad you can appreciate it.

bn - that's the part i remember most vividly. exhaling and actually dying laughing underwater, hearing myself laugh, and then coming up to get some air and STILL laughing with the same outgoing air. It was just that funny.

foolery - I almost wrote in the post that I assumed MOST, though definitely not all, activities required some degree of consciousness.

sinaff - you called it!

Anonymous said...

*sigh* Love the picture, but HATE sailboats with a passion.

I don't know why, but I ALWAYS get seassick on sailboats. Never fails. I'm always green and heaving ten minutes after setting foot on one.

As for powerboats! Love em! And so far, *knock on wood* have yet to be sick on a single one.

I have to agree with Grandma J though...the visual of you going overboard was amusing. I totally saw you going bum over head backwards into the water, and then you saying you LAUGHED underwater just made me laugh even harder.

tj said...

...You know CBW, you're really beginning to worry me with all of these bumps on your head... I mean really now, just how many knocks can one melon take? lol... ;o)

...That is a beautiful photo and I bet sailing is something everyone should try at least once in their lifetime. It does look like fun!

...Just how many years are between you and your sisters CBW?

...I was just thinking that maybe we all could go together and buy CBW a helmet, whaddya think girls? ;o)


Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

auds- power boats are the way to go. wide open, that's the only speed i recognize. i get sick on sailboats too, now that you mention it. when compounded with a heavy blow to the head, well, it's just not a pleasant experience.

tj - I think instead of a helmet y'all should get together and buy me a full suit of armor. you have no idea what disasters i encounter on a daily basis. i share only a fraction. please make sure the suit comes fully equipped with night goggles and ant-killing-ammo. heavy on the ant-killing ammo.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, when you laugh under Chesapeake Bay Water, you get a lot of salt water up your nose and into your mouth. It changes laughter to disgust very quickly. I do remember that! -Middle Sis