Monday, May 12, 2008

Learning Experiences - The Sailor's Prayer

I can't be the only one who heads out for a start line muttering under my breath "Please Lord may I not f*** up".

For what is worse than getting cold and wet is letting down one's crew mates by making one of those all too easy to make mistakes.

But what's this all to do with Tillerman's challenge regarding learning experiences you might ask?

Well stay with me for a moment and check out the picture above of a lovely spinnaker that is happily full and in one piece. It was taken a couple of years ago when doing the ARC.

A couple of days after this picture was taken it was shredded (might have mentioned it on a previous Tillerman challenge) after being wrapped firmly round the fore stay in the middle of the night while I was helming.

In my defense the wind was light so that as the swell of the Atlantic rollers came through it would regularly collapse onto the fore stay. The prosecution might also note that I was distracted trying to tell a joke at the time while helming but lets not listen to them.

I was pretty apprehensive of spinnakers after that, but then signed up for the Fastnet. One of the things about race sailing is you push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Many cruisers do not go out at night and if they do wouldn't think of hoisting a kite.

But when racing if the wind is right the spinnaker must be up all the time day and night. So I had to learn about how to sail with them or screw up again. After many a bad night with sweaty hands upon the wheel by the end began to get a feel for how the sail was set from simple things like the heel of the boat.

So by failing, learning from mistakes, and then being pushed by the competitive spirit of racing I learnt something.

But you'll still hear me muttering under my breath as we head out "Please....."


Vigilante said...

I think the sailor's prayer is much more specific: "Please do not let me SCREW UP THE START!"

Don't lure me into trying to get the PERFECT start.

Any thing that happens later, can be blamed on the rest of the crew. But the start belongs to me!

JP said...

The prayer probably depends upon your position. When doing navigating my biggest fear was missing one of the marks and hence us getting disqualified.

That would seriously have annoyed the rest of the crew!

And it would have been easy to do given the course was read out on VHF radio and ours kept packing in :(

Anonymous said...

Old Sailors Prayer

Dreams come to life inside warm winds,
let these moments not be stolen
like the death of a gull

Do we know the impossible sea
by the crash of your waves
Do we know the impossible sea
by moonlight dancing upon your mists

We are now like canvas birds
flying night and day... take us
into your possibilities

Run with us

Sea of wonder, help us fly
flying low, flying high
into a vision that never died

Lift us night and day
upon these white wings... take us
into your impossibilities

Tack with us

Sea of prey, watery graves
sail us over, sail us on
gently pass us by

Sea of prayers, hear us pray
drifting up into a summer sky... take us
into your mystery

Reach with us

Sea of joy, Bird of prey
within are ghosts from yesterday
scattered by dawns bleeding sunrise

Clouds reefed inside old men's ebbing minds
take us on your wetted wings
blow us with your warmth

Take our beating hearts...

...To where gulls return from winter nests
sealing the birth of adventure, take us
to soar alongside in wonder

Moor us to our dreams

d.m. christensen
great salt lake
slc, utah