Copyright 2009 by Cap’n Fatty Goodlander
You might have noticed that different sailboats have different rigs. Once upon a time, things were easy—then the other caveman stood up on the log. Ever since, we’ve been arguing about which rig configuration is best.
Basically, all dumb sailors believe that the rig of their boat is the best because… well, it is the rig of their boat! And they are geniuses. So, it HAS to be the best!
This is stupid.
I feel this way.
But let’s turn to science: ever heard of Freud? He was the first to point out the obvious, that sloop sailors are focused solely on their… penis. It is the solitary star of their show. Just listen to the language: how they ‘erect’ their mast, how they like to ‘keep it up,’ etc. Oh, sure, you can pretend that the terminology isn’t sexually-loaded—but that’s just denial.
“Pole-tip up,” they shout on the race course. They brag about how long they can stay ‘hard on the wind.” Even the individual boat-bits smack of smut: spreader, cockpit, strut, masthead, etc.
I mean, how many different disgusting ways can sailors use just the word lay: as in lay-line, lay-the-mark, lay-day, lay-of-the-land, etc. This starts from the very beginning: while lofting my 36 ketch Carlotta I had to draw dozens of ‘buttock’ lines… hardly subtle, eh?
Even traditional sailors get into it by always ‘thrusting’ their bowsprits into virgin anchorages, etc. I guess all that hemp cordage makes ‘em somewhat kinky: why else would they have spankers?
Yes, maritime traditions change. Long bowsprits used to be called ‘widow-makers’ but are now referred to as the Johnny Homes. Even the Colin-Archer types—the traditional double-enders of Scandinavia—have joined in. “Our outboard rudders aren’t the only thing aboard which are well-hung,” a smirky Swedish sailor once told me.
Offshore sailors are the worst: always beating and taking a pounding and plugging away… on vessels named Randy Tarr, Sin or Swim, or Dick’s Playpen.
If you think I’m making this up—check out the traditional sea chantey which begins, “Twas on the good ship Venus…”
Obviously, split-rigs represent a gender-conflicted sailor. Schoonermen are led by the immaturity of their ‘younger, more boyish’ spear-spar foreward—while ketch sailors think maturely first—then ‘get wild’ with their sapling mast aft.
Multihullers are… notoriously confused. The only thing they agree on is to not agree with ANYTHING EVER done on a mono-morons boat. Cat sailors are, well, bluntly, bi. But even more bizarre is the obvious anger of the touchy, gender-blending, sea-spider aficionados.
“I’d never sail on a fat-arsed lead-mine,” huffed one tri-huller, “when I could be lightly skimming across the Pacific in a traditional Polynesian Fakkafakka design.”
Some modern cats have such ‘spar envy’ of split-rig craft—they’ve put a mast in each hull and, thus, doubled the size of their erection… if not their boat speed.
Not all sailors of multicoques are into hyper-speed: some hefty hedonistic cat sailors prefer to savor life in the slow lane with “a beamy broad and a boat broad-of-beam!”…then there are the proa sailors who are never quite sure which side of the bread their butter is on.
Yes, variety is the spice of life. One lovely Herroshoff design (named Star) in Nevis sports three masts… obviously some Caribbean sailors think the ‘more members, the merrier’ when it comes to rigid protrusions.
Gaffers attempt to make up for their puny length with their long booms, stout gaffs and noble topmasts. Certain women prefer these Neanderthal-types, others complain they ‘peak’ too early.
One prudish British gal recently jumped overboard when her traditional Cornish sailorman commanded her to “sweat up the throat!”
Beach cat sailors are notoriously… chafe-resistant. And don’t seem to mind sand anywhere.
Of course, the owners of many local racing craft are aging. This isn’t openly discussed, just hinted at. For instance, I asked one silver-haired old Maxi duffer if he was going to do the Rolex regatta and he just shrugged and said, “Depends.” …which was more about him than I needed to know.
I mean, sure the parties at the regatta on Sint Maarten are fine but afterwards… well, droop! Ditto ASW (Antigua Sailing Weak).
Yes, we baby-boomers are aging. I had to tell one elderly cruiser heading for Trini that it wasn’t famous for bed pans…
Of course, there are some positive aspects to aging. For instance, I’ve found that as my memory fades, my conscience clears.
We now wear name tags on Wild Card because at a recent cruisers party in Thailand I attempted to seduce my wife.
Yes, the island of Phuket is easily mispronounced. It takes awhile for some sailors to adjust. Recently a ketch pulled up to the fuel dock at Ao Chalong—and a little Thai girl in short pants and platform shoes pointed to the aluminum spar which holds the bottom of the mainsail and mizzen in rapid succession.
“…boom-boom?” asked the puzzled owner.
“…four bucks,” said the girl. (If you sail away with one, it’s called ‘Thai take-away’ in modern sailor’s lingo.)
Yes, there’s a lot of things about sailors you might not want to know. For example, it is believed that early mermaid myths were spread by lonely sailors sighting bewhiskered manatees—I’ve been there, alas, while wearing my beer-googles.
None of us are without sin. I suppose all long-time Caribbean hands have strapped the landlubbing hubby of some gorgeous blond into the bosun’s chair—and sent him spinnaker flying in forty-knots-and-gusting for a couple of sensuous hours.
Ditto the ole ‘…wind-surfing lesson’ trick which was so popular with single charter captains. (Hint: crank up Jimmy Buffet on the cockpit speakers so you can’t hear his pitiful screams.)
Yes, I’m a romantic. And I love the sea. But I’m also a realist and I know it is hard to keep a sweet secret around a gossip-clogged waterfront.
For instance, one young ‘new-to-cruising’ lady who sailed into our harbor recently blushed deep red when I commented to her on how active she’d been during her first week.
“…my God,” she gasped, “how do you know?” I explained to her about how sailors traditionally rise at dawn—and always reflexively check out which dinghy was behind which boat.
“…solution?” she whispered in mortified shame.
“…can you swim?” I asked.
…yeah, she’s a regular Esther Williams now.
Editor’s note: Fatty and Carolyn are currently in Langkawi, Malaysia. They have just finished a major cockpit project and thus vow they will ‘do nothing of any value’ in 2009. For more Fat-flashes, see fattygoodlander.com.