Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Commodore (rtd) Madeira's Committee Boat

Good afternoon to you.

I'm Commodore - or at least was, you see I retired a few years back - Madeira of the Lower Yottingham Boat Club and recent despatches have raised the question of what makes a good committee boat team, and I am only too happy to pass on my advice.

1. Dress the part. Remember you are the officers here and need to take seriously the responsibilities, so make sure your tie is well ironed gentlemen and your pearls shining ladies.

There's a lot of stuff and nonsense about how that's an old fashioned value - even bandy words like discrimination around. But if, like me, you have joined an Arab dhow sailing from Karachi to Muscat or seen Pamela, sadly is no longer with us, sail her gaff rigged cutter Diane single handed in a F7 you'll know we're all the same under the skin.

What matters is character, and how you dress is a statement to the world - vestimenta facit homo as they say.

2. Get your communications straight. My dear wife Margaret, who alas passed away a few years back, was always on top of things, passing messages around, hauling up flags. I got in a frightful pickle recently when all the flags but two got washed overboard so I was forced to resort to semaphore.

Unfortunately the today's sailors are not taught this skill and indeed young Zackery sailed past shouting something about "text me already" whatever that means, waving something white and plastic in his hand. Maybe its just as well Margaret and I never had any children.

I would have said something back but he tacked in a way that made me think of Pamela. How sweet and fair she looked at her coming out ball in ... I think it was 36? or was it 37? was quite the grandest affair that Upper Yottingham saw 'tween the wars, cum corda iuvenes.

3. Have a cup of tea. In the good old days Reggie, before he got that pneumonia and pegged it, would always get the tea on at ten to four whatever the state of play. You have to remember, he'd say, hanging up the race abandoned flag, that we need to encourage people to be officer of the day.

No one minded, it was quite the done thing. And there was none of this Ood business - which is what exactly? Some light entertainment from the tele-vision device no doubt. Melior audivit quam inspecti!

I remember - it was in '38! Of course things would have been different if she'd said yes: whenever I smell clematis I'm reminded of that last dance.

Long time ago now, but some things never change. Winds will shift and buoys don't move themselves: I'd do it myself but the joints aren't what they were.

Hey ho! See you in the bar.

Commodore (rtd) Madeira.

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