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Circle, Triangle, Square - Best course to windward [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Best course to windward [Oct. 21st, 2012|09:26 pm]
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I haven't written much about sailing, despite it eating a number of weekends this year. Difficult to talk about, because it's too easy to wax poetical and somewhat purple about it; I know why Masefield wrote:

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

even if I am in awe of the beautiful simplicity of his language and rhythm.

So, last weekend, I sailed around the Isle of Wight with the Bank Sailing Club (of which I am now a member, and therefore allowed to fly a particular pennon if I am ever skippering a yacht. This pleases me immensely). We were heading almost due west, not far off rounding the Needles, and we had a favourable tide and wind - smooth seas as I took the helm. "Best course to windward" I was told as I took over - i.e. get the wind in a good place and just go.

As I sailed, we were skipping across the sun's track on the water - low in the October sky and dodging in and out behind the clouds, the rays were glistening on the water, looking like golden cobblestones on our path. But the wind was shifting round the quarter, and I was chasing with our boat, making small adjustments, changing the heading by 10 or 20 degrees each time.

The skipper came on deck. "Why the jinking?" he asked.

"I'm trying to keep her to windward," I replied. "If I steer straight west, we're making about 5 knots. If I keep her in the wind, we're making about 6."

He grinned at me; aware that 1 mile an hour's gain is actually, really, not a huge deal. We weren't racing, we didn't have to be anywhere in particular. The tide and wind were in our favour.

He looked forward.

"I have often thought", he said, "That one of the joys of sailing is that it allows one to emphasise the romantic over the merely efficient. Best course to sunset, please, Helm."

[User Picture]From: cookwitch
2012-10-21 11:06 pm (UTC)


With this being you, and you being in a boat, I cannot help but think of Lookfar.


Edited at 2012-10-21 11:16 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: jfs
2012-10-22 06:52 am (UTC)


Thank you hun - that's gorgeous.

No idea why it posted as screened - I will check my settings.
[User Picture]From: caffeine_fairy
2012-10-22 10:12 am (UTC)


Sailing is the nearest you can get to flying...
[User Picture]From: invisible_al
2012-10-22 10:39 am (UTC)


That sounds lovely, thanks for the smile this morning :).
[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2012-10-22 02:49 pm (UTC)


Ah, quite lovely. I've only been sailing in little boats, but it is a totally amazing way to travel in a boat. Reminds one of what the world MIGHT be like.

Carry on.
[User Picture]From: kathbad
2012-10-22 06:28 pm (UTC)


Utterly gorgeous, thank you.