December 2004

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New Year’s Eve! What a day… just back in from a GREAT sail in the Dink. Circumnavigated Frenchman’s Cay. Took just under three hours, but the time went by so fast! Damn, i love the feeling of being out there, 1/2 a mile from land, thumping along over 4′ waves, steering by the wind and the distant hills of St. John.
Sailors waved, and powerboaters stopped to ask if i was alright. Alright? Incredible! The best boat i saw was a ship. Literally. Running down out of Soper’s Hole, i had just sheeted in for the reach around the west end of the Cay, when i shifted position and saw the Stad Amsterdam rounding the point in the opposite direction, about 100′ away. Wow. Just wow. Cappy Tom’s stories of crossing the Atlantic aboard the Stad now have a whole new (real) context. What a sight! Of course, i promptly gybed around and paralleled her course awhile to better take in the view.
For those who care, she was setting the fore course, upper and lower foretops, upper and lower maintops, main t’gants’l, mizzen topmast stays’l, and inner and outer jibs. This is only the second proper “ship” i’ve ever seen first-hand, and the first under sail.
Learned firsthand the great utility of the gunter rig this afternoon as well; to make the passage under the Frenchman’s Cay bridge, i headed up, dropped the topmast, mast, and boom into a bundle on the gun’l, braced the tiller to port with my foot, and paddled merrily to starboard under the bridge. Past the bridge (and downwind of it), i carefully stood, restepped the mast, sent up the topmast, and ran off to complete the circumnavigation. Ah, what once looked too complex and un-neccessary has been explained through usage. What else in life may well work that way?

a voice…

…that i thought i’d probably never hear again, or at least not anytime soon. What would have happened if i had been here to answer, instead of out sailing the Dink? Weirdness, weirdness… Bless you, little answering machine. Curse you too. Somebody erase that message before i start listening to it again. and again.
Happy New Year, everyone!

first sail

Spent yesterday working on the dingy. There’s this little 7′ dingy that’s been laying outside the shop for a couple years now, and i’ve been wanting to get it back in the water for months. This past spring, i put in a few days getting the centreboard trunk back in place, and repairing thwarts. This time around, i’ve spent a day here and there getting a new topmast built, and mounting the gudgeons.
Marty off Bolero passed by one afternoon and saw me working on it. “Ah, the ol’ Dyer Dingy!”, he exclaimed. Apparently, they’re great little sailing dingys (if you can squeeze in under the boom!), and worth quite a bit new. Well, that was fun to know.
Yesterday, i was just carrying on, working on bits and pieces, when it dawned on me: i could get this done today. Not the varnishing, final sanding, painting, etc., but i could get it together just enough to go sailing. What a fine lovely sail it was! Tacking and gybing around the harbour, ducking in between all the moored yachts, playing with the wind and generally goofing off.
The red sail is crossed by a white stripe, emblazoned with a “DD” emblem. The name we’ve settled on around the shop? “Dire Dink”. Yes, yes, it’s that silly… but what is sillier than a 200-lb fellow bombing around the harbour in a 7′ boat?
Today, after a little re-working of the mainsheet arrangement, i’m taking an afternoon off… to go out in the Dink and sail sail sail…


There’s this oft-repeated line from the movie Shakespeare In Love i’ve fallen in love with. When asked what the fallout will be from whatever calamity happens to be befalling the protagonists, this one fellow often says, “It’ll all work out in the end” When asked exactly how this will come about, the shrugging reply is, “Nobody knows… It’s a mystery!”.


i have a few great friends “at home” who need to know where they’re going in order to get there. i have other great friends who can’t get anywhere if the destination is known! Which of the two are in the better position? Myself, i’ve struck off on a largely destination-free journey, much to the dismay of some of my friends and family. Some of my peers are “on-track” with clearly-set goals and pathways to success. i feel that the only real indicator of “success” is how each of us internally feels about where we are or where we’re going. The worst thing has to be being stuck in one place, wishing you were somewhere else (or moving, and wishing you could settle down!). i’ve felt both ways in my time, and still don’t know which is the better (or worse). i’m sticking to this one plan for now, because i’ve found that constantly changing my plans means i never actually realize any of my goals!
i used to say to a dear friend of mine, “Don’t worry so much. Everything will work out…”. In exasperation she once fiercly retorted, “Yes, because I make it work out!”. Months later now, things are working out quite well for me, with a minumum of stress, almost effortlessly, even. My friend is still up north, “making it work out”, and not enjoying her life nearly as much as she deserves to.
i’m hoping some friends of mine stop trying so hard and just let it happen. i think you can only stem the tide for so long! After that, it’s just a matter of riding the current and seeing where it takes you; where you end up might not be where you wanted to be, but it may just be where you needed to be all along. i’m sure my friend will find herself ultimately successful one way or the other, by whatever standard she cares to measure it.

Heard another good quote awhile back, in somewhat the same vein. “Everything will be okay in the end… If everything isn’t alright, this can’t be the end!” i wonder when and where that one will apply? Well, everything will work out, in the end or otherwise. How? There’s no knowing… It’s a mystery!

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