Wednesday, December 14, 2016

not always wanting fast

The need for speed is a slippery slope that I have tried to outgrow since my forties. The thing about wanting to win and be the fastest is that you set yourself up for an un-winnable contest with the next level- that thing that you need to achieve to be better than last time. The bar will always lift above you.

I was like that with running twenty years ago. And it took the healthy pleasure from a rather sublime activity.

I quite like the rush of a good bit of wind, and the feeling that I need to be on my mettle to stay in control, but equally, (perhaps more so) I love the shift in thinking that occurs when 'getting there' is just open-ended, and dependent upon my interaction with the elements. This is the most precious element of sailing for me. When they are scarce, you really value a puff.

A trip in a sailboat needn't be all about getting somewhere on time, to do something. The sailing is the thing you do and the somewhere can be just taken as it comes. This thinking is completely outside the current Western norm. Meandering is almost a crime. The antithesis of the commute. Movement in any sort of vehicle is nearly always about getting somewhere. Listening to the noises of going slowly is self-indulgent. What does it achieve?

Well, quite a bit, really.

Forward motion without fuss can arouse the senses as much as banging high into the wind. If we feel nothing and hear nothing and see nothing, it isn't the fault of the experience, it is our impatient belief that if we try harder, more will happen, and this prevents us from appreciating what is already there.

I'm a hopeless romantic idealist who always feels a small twinge of doubt in any experience, on the basis that it could  be done better, but this pointless, aimless sailing just for it's own sake gives liberating relief, and also perspective. This sail, that sail, this fast, this just is what it is, and what matters is what I make of it and what I take from it.


  1. Robert, I think we would get along quite well. Though based on geography I think it might take us a while to meet in the middle, you know, thing.

  2. Yeah, but if we rafted up all the small boats end to end....
    Cheers Barry, I just came in from the other sort of sail just now, blustery, gusty and whistling straight up the creek so even docking Annie became a shameful messy business. Life isn't always made of moments to cherish!