Sailing Lessons Don’t Stick But There Was A ‘Southern Cross’ Moment
I love sailboats, sailing, being on the water and being in sailboats.
I have friends who are skippers and have long been jealous of their ability to sail. It seems such a cool thing to be able to do, something James Bond probably did in his spare time when he wasn’t chasing villains.
A sailboat is probably where he took the Bond Girls after he finished saving the planet.
Unfortunately, I never learned to sail. I took a lesson and got a “diploma” but that was more of a ceremonial thing because I never quite got the hang of it.
The reason is simple: My mind was somewhere else during the lessons because I had been “Pipped.”
As any baseball fans knows, the term “Pipped” comes from a first baseman of the New York Yankees back in the 20s named Wally Pipp. He took a day off – he may have had a hangover, according to some reports – and was replaced by his backup. A guy named Lou Gehrig.
Well, Lou Gehrig went on to play in a then-Major League record 2,130 consecutive games. Being “Pipped” means someone replaced you in a not-so-glamorous, almost sympathetic way.
I had decided to write about a sailing class when I worked at the Savannah News-Press, and it was in Savannah where I met a girl who was visiting from Illinois.
We hit if off immediately, I took her around with me, introduced her to friends and she had such a great time she even came back a few months later to visit me.
One day, while I was covering an event, I had a friend keep her occupied, and that “friend” turned on me. He even secretly went up to see her in Illinois.
I got wind of this just as the sailing class started, so I only listened to half the things the instructor was saying to us. As proof, the wind pushed the small boat downwind and I got stuck in an oyster bed. I was knee deep in muck and the instructor had to come rescue me.
I spent the entire week feeling angry and betrayed but then a funny thing happened: I had a “Southern Cross moment.” On the last day, we were out on the open ocean and I walked out to the bow to reflect on tings.
The boat was bouncing up and down, spray was coming over the top and it suddenly dawned on me that I was spending way too much time thinking about two losers than I was enjoying the moment.
It was at that moment that I wished I had been paying full attention to the instructor from the start. Because I probably would have learned how to sail.
Now, I’m just a crew member. But at least I’m there to fetch beers for the skipper and am especially good at making boat drinks.