It’s like, existential, like.
For those of us who chewed our way through one or more of those undergraduate philosophy classes; there may still be a faint glimmer of a recollection of Jean Paul Sartre’s seminal work, “Existentialism.” Me? I can sort of still picture the book cover. And, now I’m wondering if I ever really even opened that book. Anyhow.
I was reminded today, that just getting a small sailboat away from the pier, getting the sails up, and simply just being there, is pretty damn close to an existential truth. Part of that revelation, melds nicely with the basic question: “why don’t we all ‘just go sailing’ more often?” The stark answer is, of course, “because sailboats are complicated, confusing, and oftentimes a lot-of-work.” Especially, if you don’t have one ready to go, and in the water, in a convenient place, and at a convenient time. For just about all of us, that would be “not,” “not likely,” “ain’t such,” and “are you kidding?”
So, dragging a boat to someplace wet, launching, rigging, and timing the ephemera of wind can be just about a non-starter. Has been for me, for some time now. Once upon a time, I went sailing almost every day. Sometimes two, or three times. All the time. So, today was sort of a peek into the howcomes of the universe. Ol’ JPS might just have approved.
I was supposed to meet up with another boat. But, that boat canx at the last minute. I almost decided to bag it. Sound familiar? But, we were hooked up, and ready to go. Someplace.
Seemed a shame, not to go find a wet spot. Someplace. Basically, if I didn’t go south, or west; there was either north or east to choose from. So. I headed east, toward the rising sun. Thinking that I’d head north. But, I was still dithering over that decision, when I reached the turn. Somebody behind me had already started to enter the left turn lane and I didn’t think it prudent to pull over abruptly with my little red wagon train. So. We just continued east. Toward the rising sun. Pretty basic. The first ramp we came to (and passed up) has a mast-eating cable strung over the top of the backing-in area. Not a deal breaker, since we can rig in the water. But, on we went. The next ramp is a nice ramp, but there’s a train bridge over the water directly adjacent. Another mast-eater. Yeah. We could launch and anchor to rig, after transiting under the railroad. But, that turn off was a bit too sharp to make with my lack of commitment. One we went. Toward the rising sun. The next ramp is OK. Actually, there are two ramps, each with a long dock alongside. But, truck and trailer parking is pretty limited. We’ve launched there before. Quite a few times, in fact. But, for one reason or another, we continued on. The ramp we were then headed for is often crowded, exposed to wakes, and not quite what we had in mind. So, that’s where we went.
And. There were no boats. No people. No wakes. And. A nice breeze sprang up, just as we backed in. So. For the next three hours, we beat off to weather. Toward the rising sun. Long boards, from side to side. Poking into every cove, hidey hole, and marsh along the way.
A pretty steady 3-4 knots boat speed from a pretty steady 5-6 knots wind speed. Dunno, for sure. Speedo’s busted. But, we really didn’t care.
Lady Bug can self-steer pretty well in these conditions. We do have an autohelm. But, it’s on a shelf in the shop, someplace. Didn’t matter, so much. The boat and the wind were figuring things out. I went below and made a snack. Came topside, and it was time to tack. Just the basics. You know. Existential.
Sometimes, I put my foot up on the tiller. To help out with the steering. Mostly, Lady Bug didn’t want help. She just wanted companionship. Most of know this. We do tend to forget. But deep down, we know that the boat knows how to sail, already. We’re just along for the ride. And, to put the mast up.
So. Here’s what I got to thinking. Whatif? Whatif, we sort of rearranged our priorities. Just a bit. Whatif, we tried to think of raising that mast, and running all those strings through all those blocks and fairleads, as part of sailing?
Not, as something we have to put up with, in order to go sailing. What if all the “work” was just part of it? What if we really didn’t care how long it takes to rig and un-rig?
To the boat, it’s just, like, existential. Like.
And, we’re just along for the ride.