“What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.”
In the throws of victory, it is easy to forget the snags we overcame along the way which were just as much a part of our victory, as crossing the line first…the winner!
Our son’s been sailing for a few years. He first had a go at Sea Scouts and did a few training courses there and then he headed off to our local sailing club and became a member. It’s been a long way just to get to the bottom, the start, the beginning. He’s now officially a junior. Ideally, he would’ve been a bit younger, a bit smaller and had a go racing the Optimists (Opties), which would’ve given him the chance to enter competitions at other clubs, but also tearing his father out of bed earlier and driving to whoop whoop with a boat and trailor weighing down the car. Instead, he’s sailing in a Flying 11 and has had trouble finding a permanent crew member and he’s also had a lot to learn about the rigging, winds, keeping the boat upright and out of the water. More importantly, there’s also what he’s learning about himself and pitting himself against the vagaries of nature with varying wind speeds and weather conditions.
Each of the Juniors, have no doubt had their day. That time when they fall on their sword, or more likely their wooden paddle (a sailor uses it to bail themselves out of trouble like a capsize or lack of wind). That moment when they say they’re giving up. Hate sailing and you can sell the boat. Of course, they don’t usually express themselves quite so eloquently when they’re caught up in the moment and I should just warn you, this is not the time for you as a parent to jump in and throw up golden classics like: “I never had an opportunity like that when I was a kid”, “Get up you lazy oaf and get on with it!!” No, this is the time for you as a parent to just merge into the landscape for a bit until the storm has past. It’s all frustration talking and rather than being a sign they can’t do it, it could well mean that they’re on the cusp of taking the next leap forward. They can see where they want to be and are frustrated because they can’t quite get there yet.
Anyway, on Wednesday night they had a special event on where the juniors could skipper one of the member’s boats during the weekly twilight race. Our son jumped at the chance and I had the job of dropping him off and photographing what I could and Geoff would pick him up while I went to violin and picked our daughter up from dance. I don’t get to the sailing club very often and despite being a social member, I was very much just there as “Jonathon’s Mum”. Geoff usually goes out on the safety boat each Saturday and seems to be fairly involved.
Unfortunately, I didn’t really get a chance to see him sail, but I did see him climb on board his boat for the night where the owner greeting him with a respectful hand shake and welcomed him on board not as a kid, but as a young man. I really appreciated the faith he and all the other participating members had in our kids, because faith breeds confidence, belonging and a sense of being valued. Special. While these are attributes all our young people should experience just like brushing their teeth, all too often they’re greeting with suspicion. A group of young people hanging out can be perceived as a gang and they’re not doing anything wrong. Indeed, they could well be doing nothing at all.
However, the juniors were also there to learn more about sailing and what it’s like to steer a bigger yacht versus their little bathtubs with sails. The Flying 11s have a tiller whereas the yacht he skippered had a steering wheel like my Dad’s boat and that takes some getting used to. He could also observe the other sailors on board and learn a few things.
Anyway, as it turned out our son’s boat came first. I was stoked for him. We don’t get a lot of firsts in this household so they really need to be observed. He has received a glass with the sailing club’s emblem on it, which we’ve been advised not to get wet. As they said it the Australian movie The Castle, “that’s one for the pool room”.
So, congratulations to our very own Popeye the sailor. We’re very proud of you!
Have you even been sailing? What are your thoughts about it? Please share in the comments below.