Two unrelated activities took place on a gloriously warm October day. First, Michael Taylor of suburban Connecticut returned for a second day of instruction. Next, Matt Harding of Virginia Beach brought his wife and friends sailing for the first time, just to have fun. They celebrated both men’s birthdays. They left their young children behind with a sitter. It was a picture of happiness.
While the couples chatted over wine and cheese, Mike took off across the York River on a close reach. This time, his wind was better, 10 mph steady vs. light and variable two days earlier. As a result, he was adroit at holding course and found it much easier than trying to find the wind. He got the boat heeling to 15 degrees and kept it between 10 and 15 easily.
On that first day, Jerry Johnson of Marina Del Rey CA marveled at the boat’s ability to point in light winds. Jerry was a world-class sailor who had the muscular strength to back that up. To extend the mainsail, he pulled the outhaul by hand instead of winch, a first in my 12 years owning the boat.
Matt is a bond trader who used to work on Wall Street. He went to high school with my broker in Norfolk. He likes it here in Virginia since he said it’s much less hectic and saver for the family. I told him how I took Bonnie to Wall Street once to see the traders in the pit of the stock exchange. It seemed like chaos.
“It all makes sense to them,” Matt explained. “The hollering has a certain cadence and meaning to them. Plus they’re using hand signals to indicate their buys.” So I asked him if he does any hollering now. “Yes, but only to my partner while we sit at our desks on our firm’s trading floor. We yell at each other, ‘Stop farting!’”
We tacked downriver six or seven times and then turned around to fly the spinnaker. Everyone had a fine time in the warm sun, and eventually I encouraged the couples to enjoy the bow. That left me and Mike in the cockpit. I went up on top of the deck to take photos and caught a good one of him all alone at the helm.
I said, “You can show this to your wife and tell her you did just fine after everyone else fell off the boat.” He laughed with the confidence of a newly minted mariner.
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