Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How good are small boats?

My three sons (one of whom built his first boat at thirteen, and a lapstrake sailing dinghy at age fourteen) seem to have picked up one of my bad characteristics - that is, having too many interests.

The boatbuilding boy is obsessed with sailing, model aircraft, engines, quality cars, and full-sized gliding. He recently confided in me that he had plenty of other potential hobbies, but time and space have already become critical. Welcome to life, I say!

Recently he and I went for a really good day of sailing in his recently-acquired-but-very-old Jack Holt-designed Lazy E (a.k.a. National E). We experienced 20 to 25 knot conditions, and had to work very hard indeed to keep the old boat on her feet. But what a ride we had! Lots of trapeze work, and lots of planing. At one stage as we were planing on a reach, my boy yelled from the tiller that if Green Island hadn't been in the way, we would have had to keep going to New Zealand, because it was too much fun to change tacks.

This reminded me once again just how much satisfaction you can get from sailing dinghies (dinghys? - I don't know how to spell it...). The interesting thing was that when I questioned this young man about which activity he would keep doing, if only one was allowed, he was emphatic in saying it would have to be sailing. This is despite the obvious attraction of the aviation and mechanical interests.

I have a theory that the human brain stores away the sounds, and sights of a days sailing, and that the beneficial effects last for weeks or months. It doesn't take much to keep me going, although more is always better.

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