Sailor or Yachtsman?
One of the benefits of having a can on the outer wall at Monroe Harbor is that when you are sitting in the cockpit, looking out to sea, the wall and the harbor itself are invisible. You are treated to an azure view of expansive water dotted, at times, with sailboats gliding across the blue, white caped waves. I know it is the lake, not the sea. The downsides of those mooring are often daunting. Yet, there is wonderful vista to be experienced there.
I often have difficulty-spotting Illuminator on the tender trips but am guided by an expansive American flag on the sizable yacht on the neighboring can. I have always admired his flag, posted high on the backstay, not only for its majesty but also as a signpost for where Illuminator is resting. Without it, I can barely pick out my boat from the crowd at that row of the harbor.
When I became Yeoman I was given a burgee to fly, signifying my noble position. I was in a quandary as to just where to fly this flag and how to position it among the other flags I now wished to display. I then consulted a number of books and, of course, the Internet, for guidance. In one of the articles they presented a complete rundown on proper etiquette for displaying flags. Among the comments was the warning that adherence to proper etiquette was one of the factors distinguishing the mere sailor from the true yachtsman.
What with all the work involved in swabbing my own deck, making repairs, and getting to about half of the needed work to keep my boat afloat the thought of raising and lowering flags every time I wanted to go sailing seemed an overwhelming task. On the other hand, it might be nice to be regarded as a Yachtsman. Maybe I could even sail in a blue blazer with a white captains cap! These are serious decisions for the captain to make.
Well, friends, if any of you saw the yeoman’s burgee I returned to the club you can see that I opted for the easy way out on that aspect of etiquette. My burgee was so battle worn it had to be replaced for the new yeoman!
I still try to maintain as much of the proper etiquette as reasonably possible because I think there is value in tradition. This season I will work toward moving forward on the sailor-yachtsman continuum. I have a new burgee to protect!
Summer is the time for leisure reading for the landlubber! Now is when we of the sea have opportunities to look at books.
I want to recommend two book that I found inspiring. The first is “Sailing Grace” by John Otterbacher.
It is a true story about a man and his family who are confronted with the need of a heart transplant and the desire to take a sailing adventure.
The second is Nick Ward’s “Left for Dead” which tells of his experience on a small sloop in the infamous Fastnet Race in 1979. It is a powerful story that I have enjoyed. I will leave a copy of each of these books in our library for loan at our March general meeting.
Best wishes to all and welcome aboard to all our new members