Tuesday, October 14, 2003

The Art Of Coarse Sailing

One of the all time funniest books I have ever read is "The Art Of Coarse Sailing" by Michael Green. I lost my copy (or more precisely lent it to someone who really liked it too!) nad in a fit of inspirations (can one have a fit aof inspiration?) bought it a few minutes ago from amazon.com.

The definition of a Coarse (*note NOT "course") Sailor varies, but can be summed up thus:
One who, in a crisis, screams "FOR CHRIST SAKE TURN LEFT!

Though written and set in the 50's. It is a timeless tale for anyone who has been in a sailing boat- and buggered up. These clowns run aground, snap masts under closing draw bridges, nearly sink, mutiny and generally have a ball. My favourite mental image is when they tie up and go to the pub, only to return to find the boat hanging off the pier as the tide has gone a long way out.

Classic stuff!
Coarse Sailor's Beaufort Scale
My guide to coarse windurfing- published in Atlanta, USA
Buy the Book at Amazon

I even wrote my own version (link above).

To ensure it never gets deleted, here it is in all its' glory:

CALM 0kmh 0knots Smoke rises vertically Sea like a mirror.
What This Means: Coarse sailor has day off work to go sailing. Ends up mowing lawn. Checks out sailboarding shop. Buys gear will never use. But gotta have it all. Hides new gear in old bag to prevent getting grief from partner at home. Friend calls an asks partner what they think of sailors new toy. Silent treatment for two days for each offence.
LIGHT WINDS 19 km/h or less 10 knots or less Wind felt on face; leaves rustle; ordinary vanes moved by wind. Small waveless, ripples formed but do not break: A glassy appearance maintained.
WTM: Coarse sailor goes to the beach to pray to wind Gods. Rigs up that 8.0m again and flaps it about on the beach, without any intention of actually going sailing. Puts it down for a moment , a gust lifts it up and impails it on a sign. It has still not got wet...
Option 2: Actually goes out! Sinks up to waist, falls in and swims. Friends laugh heartily but think to themselves "that was me once....yesterday"
Option 3: Stands on waters edge with wind meter calling out everytime it gusts over 8 knots. Gets back to find big scratch mark down car door, put there by grateful listener.
MODERATE WINDS 20 - 29km/ h 11-16 knots Raises dust and loose paper; small branches are moved. Small waves - becoming longer; fairly frequent white horses (whitecaps). Coarse sailors go out in their droves. Rig 4, maybe 5 times to be certain. Puts on wetsuit, has a sneaky
urination in it before going out. Wind drops out and goes home. Wetsuit sits in back of car for a week and begins to smoke.
Option 2: Rig up in record time (2 hours-forgot harness) gets out and flounders due to too small sail. Swims in, then tells family "had a great day". Has a quiet weep in the toilet.
Option 3: Had family day planned. Sits looking out window throwing hands in the air making small rodent noises. Gets abused by partner for being selfish. Leaves early, gets gear, goes to beach. It's either dark, windless, snowing or all.
FRESH WINDS 30 -39km/h 17- 21 knots Small leaves in trees begin to sway; crested wavelets form on inland water Moderate waves, taking a more pronounced long form; many white horses
are formed - a chance of some spray
WTM: Local Sailboard shop brings in sandwich board to stop it ending up inmiddle of road. Sand gets in eyes. Non sailors tell you "You are mad to go out in this" . Coarse sailors smile wistfully, but are beginning to get The Fear.
Option 1: Too windy for first coarse victims. "Gottta get my board/sail/piles fixed", "Too cold/hot/moderate to sail", "Got family function" are the top three excuses.
Option 2: Rigs 6.0, gets out through shore break on 15th attempt. Gets over last wave, gets into straps, catapaults through sail, floats in , retires from windsurfing. Cries in the water, on the beach and in the car on the way home. Vomits up sea water at family dinner table.
Option 3: "Sails" for a few hours, which consists of going out, falling at gybe, 15 minute waterstart, thrown over the boom, waterstart again, sail, catapault, waterstart, sail, blow gybe and so on. Too exhausted to derig, has to call friend/partner on mobile phone to help pack up. Also thinking about giving it all up...
STRONG WINDS: Large waves begin to form; the white foam crests are more extensive with probably some spray
WTM: Sailboard shop employees tell callers "it's howlin'" and ask for time off/ knock off early. Coarse sailors head in to get out their 3.5s for some reason. Everyone else rigs 5.0ms,4.5s. Coarse sailor drives home in wetsuit to get the 4.5. Arrives in time to see wind drop out completely.
Car seat ruined by polluted water
Option 1: Coarse sailor rigs 4.5, but shorebreak is unbelievable ("Over double mast high" will tell mates in pub later) Gets worked, "shuffles" downwind about a mile, then breaks mast. Comes in up polluted canal. Walks back, changes clothes (wetsuit shredded) and then drives car down to new " secret location" to retrieve gear. Does not tell partner at home about mast. It's three masts this year alone....
Option 2: Coarse sailor moans about knee/arm/rig/board/whatever problem that prevents sailing in these great conditions. Holds court in the beer garden telling everyone stories from Hawaii/Spain/Costa Rica/West Oz/ Antarctica trip. Plans big trip to wherever with likeminded sailors for the fourth year running. Yet to go.
STRONGER... 51 - 62km/h 28- 33 knots Whole trees in motion; inconvenience felt when walking against wind. Sea heaps up and white foam from breaking waves begins to be blown in streaks along direction of wind.
WTM: Local Guru tuns up and rigs up. Speaks to no one. Doesn't go out - yet. Local Sailboard store has sudden disease that forces sudden, immediate closure. Coarse sailors are strewn accross the beach like a failed wartime beach landing. Those lucky enough not to have gone out are half
smashed in the pub. Robby Naish stories now star themselves. Beer Garden Coarse sailors have now moved inside the pub as their beer froth keeps getting blown off. Several concerned people think about calling coast guard/water police, but several of the coarse sailors involved are already
coast guard/water police. Two coarse sailors make it back to where they started unharmed. Become instant celebrities. Also decide to retire.
GALE 63 - 75 km/h 34-40 knots Twigs break off trees; progress generally impeeded. Moderately high waves of greater length; edges of crests begin to break into spin drift; foam is blown in well marked streaks along the direction of the wind.
WTM: Sign outside pub blows off, injuring several "sailors" returning from the beach. Early retirees in the pub are semi conscious. Beach near deserted. Local guru goes out, throws high, one handed forward- over-rotates, lands, snaps leg floats in. Even gurus have their coarse days. Sailboard shop employees go back to shop, realising front door is unlocked. Get back, re rig a 3.5 and sail up wind where they can't be asked questions about gear. Remaining sailors on the water are knighted, given awards and can now park in the disable spots at the beach. Which they can technically do anyway. Older sailors talk about the "good old days" (the 80's) When they "used to go out in wind like this all the time".
STRONG GALE: 76 - 87 km/h 41-47 knots Slight structural damage occurs -roofing dislodged; larger branches break off. High waves; dense streaks of foam; crests of waves begin to topple, tumble and roll over; spray may affect visibility.
WTM: Coarse Sailors too scared to drive into car park at beach. Local guru still in shore break with broken leg. In agony, no-one to help. Sailboard shop employees remember "I think we have an old (1985) 3.0m Hood out the back" and returns to shop only to find queue a mile long
of sad dejected coarse sailors with destroyed equipment under their arms. Decides to make money rather than sail.
Meanwhile: Coarse sailors in the pub wonder whether roof is going to get blown off. Discuss windiest day they have ever been out in/heard of. Last few sailors return from beach with amazing tales of survival.
STORM 88 -102 km/h 48-56knots plus Very rarely experienced- widespread damage Exceptionally high waves; small and medium sized ships occasionally lost from view behind waves; the sea is completely covered with long white patches of foam; the edges of wavecrests are blown into froth.
WTM: Coarse sailors say THIS is the windiest day they have ever seen. Sailboard shop roof lifts slightly with each gust. Pub loses tiles off roof. Weather conditions lead the nightly news with tales off "stupid sailboarders rescued from death" story. Coarse sailors leaving the pub find
that the boards and other assorted gear has blown off never to be seen again. Sailboard shop proprietor rubs hands with gleeā€¦
posted by thr at 2:49 pm


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