Tag Archives: racing

A First For Our Young Skipper.

“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.”

Thomas Merton

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.
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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.
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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.
xx Rowena

Writing…Is “procrastination” really a sin?

As a writer and creative, are you meant to go down the direct route, immediately producing that book in record-breaking time? Or, is so-called “procrastination” part of the creative process…a required element to add to the quality  and longevity of your work?After all, as creative guru John Lennon once said: “Life is lived while busy making other plans”.

These contradictions often go into battle at the back of my head and I’m constantly coming across this tension in other writers as well.

Recently, I was reminded of this tension reading this quote by Moliere:

“The trees that are slow to grow, bear the best fruit.”

– Moliere

However, is this true? Or, is it just a nice saying?

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The Mighty Oak

I consulted the Google oracle to see what its great wisdom revealed and found this research report by Bryan Black, an assistant professor of forestry at Oregon State University, who works out of OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Ore.  His research shows that even within a species, the oldest  trees grow the slowest, even as youngsters.

“Faster growing trees may put all of their energy into growth and burn out before they can achieve really old age,” he said. “Slow-growing trees may invest a lot in producing strong wood and defense mechanisms against insects and disease and never rise above the forest canopy.”

Rapidly growing trees may occupy space more quickly, reach sexual maturity earlier, and are more prone to frequent, catastrophic disturbances, including flood, fire and windstorms, Black said. They also die at a younger age. Meanwhile, the slower growing trees channel their energy into structural support and defense compounds, don’t burn out from reproducing, and slowly-but-surely outpace their mercurial cousins.http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2009/feb/study-finds-oldest-trees-grow-slowest-%E2%80%93-even-youngsters

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So, this research suggests slow and steady ultimately wins the race. Well, that is, if being a long-lived tree is your goal.

While  I feel pressured to get that book out there, I have benefited from taking the extra time. I have grown so much as writer through the hours I am putting into my blog  and have found my voice. Even more importantly, I have been dialoguing and chatting with my readers, while also reading and responding to their work. Through these exchanges, I’ve been unconsciously fine tuning my story. It might be taking me longer to write the book and it might even be taking me away from it, but I know that what I’ll write now will be much more relevant. It has to be. After all, I’ve spent the last 4 years listening as well as writing. Moreover, being able to hear readers before I write the book project, has to be revolutionary.

However, it takes a lot of courage to take your time writing the book. There’s so much pressure to publish just to gain any kind of credibility. You’re not a real writer until you’ve actually published the book…any book!

Yet, isn’t the ultimate credibility writing something worth reading? Writing something which changes your readers lives and minds and inspires them in some way? I’m sure that doesn’t happen overnight just  like quality plants don’t mature overnight either.

Indeed, we’ve all seen backyard domination by the mighty weed. Is that what we want from our modern literature?

So, while I think there is a place for writing, writing, writing and getting that book out ASAP, I’m still a believer in “slow and steady wins the race”. That the tortoise will ultimately take out the hare but the tortoise still needs to make it through to the finish line.

That’s something I need to work a lot harder on.

What are your thoughts?

xx Rowena

 

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And so the race begins…