Saturday, February 16, 2008


Back in the early 70's we bought a Sunfish sailboat for the kids (?). Despite my size (I was perhaps the heaviest Sunfish sailor in the Club), I enjoyed the boat more than the kids. We debated naming it "Mirthful Girthful" but settled on "Tackless", no sailboat has ever been sailed more poorly. At the end of the season, at the awarding of the cups for most Sunday morning races won, I was given the "Mighty Mo", an award for trying but never succeeding. I was honored and considered changing the name to "Prowless", but didn't.

Every Sunday after the race, I would take the rudder home. I would lightly sand it and add another coat of some sort of shellac which was supposed to glide through the water with no resistance. I devised pulleys and slings so that off-season we could store Tackless up near the ceiling of the garage over the ping pong table. There was no room for a car. I installed a compass and a little feathery thing to go on top of the mast and tell me which way the wind was blowing.

My most excitement was the time I got caught in the middle of the bay in a heavy, heavy fog. With my trusty compass I knew which was east and which way was west. I knew I wanted to sail east because if I missed the inlet, I would hit solid ground, whereas west would just lead to the dreaded marshes. Of course, after thinking that through, it dawned on me that in the fog, there was no wind. So I just sat there for several hours until a breeze chased the fog away and I could make some headway. Sitting in nothingness with a 14 foot slab of fiber glass as your only connection to reality gets tiresome soon (and works on the nerves).

But it was fun!!!

I apologize if the picture above is covered by a copyright. I couldn't find a picture of the real "Tackless". I never took a passenger on my voyages at sea.


kenju said...

My son used to rent Sunfish at a local lake each summer, and he really wanted one of his own. He enjoyed it as much as his dad did. Mr. kenju wanted to own his own sailboat and cruise the world, but it was not to be.

Bharathis said...

We stayed in a houseboat in Kerala, South India last year.It was totally dark and quiet, with no other sound other than the tide coming in.Thought the 'away from it all' feeling is ok, it gets scary after sometime!