Sailing with Barry

Sailing is a wonderful experience which offers many lessons to learn.  My first time was in a ten foot tub with rag tilting and topping on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin.  After an hour tied in knots a motor launch was sent to drag this precocious ten year old back to shore.  I loved it, the thrill of the breeze pitching the full sail with rudder steady skipping through the soft lake surface was dreamy and after that I wanted to sail again.

Living in a coastal town in Massachusetts I was a guest crew on many occasions and knew I could master the various techniques necessary to manage a larger boat moved by forces of nature.  Nautical vocabulary "sheets and lines" as when the captain says "trim the starboard sheet" says nothing about making a bed.  So it goes with full sail come about for optimum tack that the click of the rudder indicates the boat is moving on the smooth under perfect course and conditions.  Wind on the weather beam coming in clear off the first quarter with a compass mark set towards a desired destination is an indication of mature confidence.

This is great fun until something happens when the captain must rely on instincts.  It is one thing to set a desired course yet every captain must be prepared to alter and adjust considering circumstances.  The dread of every seafarer is fog.  First it is visual pea soup forcing a sailor to drop sails or keep only a small sail aloft.  Winds are dull so the sail needs to hold course as the boat drifts aimlessly maybe for hours.  Eventually, the following morning perhaps, when the sky clears the captain needs to know just where his position might lay.  Modern technology is for children or incompetents, a degree of latitude off course could be fatal for ship and crew.  Captain Blyth was left to sail a twenty-four foot skiff with oars, single sail and a barrel of water and basket of salt fish; yet he, nevertheless, successfully saved his later- day loyalist crew while skippering them on a one thousand mile mid-Pacific voyage to Fiji.

Captains must know when to change course and come about.  It is one thing to insist on Cap and Trade it is all together another thing to see that the ship is on a course direct towards clumps of rock which if touched, even in the slightest, could damage hull thus cause the ship to sink dead in the water.  Skilled sailors love the thrill of making mark on dangerous points placing their timing and awareness of sea conditions just right before they yell to crew "Ready about - Hard A-leeward - Hold on a leeward tack".  Skipping over the surface while seeing rocks pass just inches beneath the hull is a sigh of relief with or without wearing a lifejacket.

Captain Ahab was accursed because of "usurpation", he was assigned by the citizen owners of his ship to do a specific function but, through drunken coercion of the crew, he stole the ship for his own perverse private purposes.  Saul Alinsky, Bill Ayers. Howard Zinn and all of those ilk are clumps of rock that any rational captain would avoid; yet the captain we now have is determined to ride the back of his socialist universal health care scheme Moby Dick into universal oblivion.  Beaconing, even when proven false, he is obsessed with ruin.  A raging Tea Party typhoon and a Saint Elmo's Fire election refutation cannot make him come to his senses.  Some dare to call it madness, I call it lethal.

It is no accident that Longfellow called the United States a "Ship of State" and Walt Whitman ascribed to our flag the dignity to fly high and above all others flags including those of churches, religions, or even the United Nations.
Sailing is a wonderful experience which offers many lessons to learn.  My first time was in a ten foot tub with rag tilting and topping on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin.  After an hour tied in knots a motor launch was sent to drag this precocious ten year old back to shore.  I loved it, the thrill of the breeze pitching the full sail with rudder steady skipping through the soft lake surface was dreamy and after that I wanted to sail again.

Living in a coastal town in Massachusetts I was a guest crew on many occasions and knew I could master the various techniques necessary to manage a larger boat moved by forces of nature.  Nautical vocabulary "sheets and lines" as when the captain says "trim the starboard sheet" says nothing about making a bed.  So it goes with full sail come about for optimum tack that the click of the rudder indicates the boat is moving on the smooth under perfect course and conditions.  Wind on the weather beam coming in clear off the first quarter with a compass mark set towards a desired destination is an indication of mature confidence.

This is great fun until something happens when the captain must rely on instincts.  It is one thing to set a desired course yet every captain must be prepared to alter and adjust considering circumstances.  The dread of every seafarer is fog.  First it is visual pea soup forcing a sailor to drop sails or keep only a small sail aloft.  Winds are dull so the sail needs to hold course as the boat drifts aimlessly maybe for hours.  Eventually, the following morning perhaps, when the sky clears the captain needs to know just where his position might lay.  Modern technology is for children or incompetents, a degree of latitude off course could be fatal for ship and crew.  Captain Blyth was left to sail a twenty-four foot skiff with oars, single sail and a barrel of water and basket of salt fish; yet he, nevertheless, successfully saved his later- day loyalist crew while skippering them on a one thousand mile mid-Pacific voyage to Fiji.

Captains must know when to change course and come about.  It is one thing to insist on Cap and Trade it is all together another thing to see that the ship is on a course direct towards clumps of rock which if touched, even in the slightest, could damage hull thus cause the ship to sink dead in the water.  Skilled sailors love the thrill of making mark on dangerous points placing their timing and awareness of sea conditions just right before they yell to crew "Ready about - Hard A-leeward - Hold on a leeward tack".  Skipping over the surface while seeing rocks pass just inches beneath the hull is a sigh of relief with or without wearing a lifejacket.

Captain Ahab was accursed because of "usurpation", he was assigned by the citizen owners of his ship to do a specific function but, through drunken coercion of the crew, he stole the ship for his own perverse private purposes.  Saul Alinsky, Bill Ayers. Howard Zinn and all of those ilk are clumps of rock that any rational captain would avoid; yet the captain we now have is determined to ride the back of his socialist universal health care scheme Moby Dick into universal oblivion.  Beaconing, even when proven false, he is obsessed with ruin.  A raging Tea Party typhoon and a Saint Elmo's Fire election refutation cannot make him come to his senses.  Some dare to call it madness, I call it lethal.

It is no accident that Longfellow called the United States a "Ship of State" and Walt Whitman ascribed to our flag the dignity to fly high and above all others flags including those of churches, religions, or even the United Nations.