An old man goes RS Aero sailing in Rhode Island

One Saturday back in February I had run out of excuses to not go frostbite racing, so I headed over to Bristol YC for my first time racing there since November. Geeze – at least give me credit for coming up with some creative excuses for three whole months.

I discovered that there was ice on the cover of my RS Aero which is always a good sign that it’s going to be a fun day. Then it took me ages to rig up what is basically a very simple boat. You wouldn’t believe how many new wrong ways I managed to discover to rig an RS Aero. I struggled into my new drysuit and waddled off with my boat to the launching ramp as late as I possibly could and still make the start of the first race.

The winds had been very light when I arrived at the club at noon but they got considerably friskier by the time racing started and after that quickly built from frolicsome to chunky.

I was having a good time. It did feel good to be  back on my Aero again after such a long lay-off.  But, man, I was rusty. It’s amazing how all the natural sailing skills just disappear these days if I don’t sail for a few weeks. Getting old sucks. But I guess it’s better than the alternative.

So I thrashed around at the back of the fleet for a while but decided to call it a day after three races.


10 reasons I wimped out early.

1. I was slowly easing myself back into racing after 3 months off. No point in overdoing it on the first day out.

2. I have a bone in my leg. This was my Dad’s favorite excuse for pretty much everything. Chalk it up to his weird British sense of humour. I think it’s hereditary.

3. I am pushing 70. Another one of my Dad’s favorite expressions. I think he was “pushing 80” from the day he turned 71.

4. There’s something wrong with my downhaul, cleats slipping, couldn’t depower properly. Should really figure out how to fix it one day soon.

5. I was slower than the rest of fleet upwind – probably because of reason 4.

6. I had a cough. (It’s better now – thanks for asking.)

7. I foolishly went out in a 9 rig. Would have been much more comfortable in a 7, given my general rustiness, ineptitude, and senility.

8. I was only there for the beer. (Not actually true. I don’t drink.)

9.  I pulled something in my arm.

10. Why does there always have to be 10 items on these lists? Who made that rule up?


So I packed up the boat, drove home and went for a soak in the tub.

While I was soaking, one of my sailing buddies called and my wife answered my phone.

My friend was concerned that I had gone in early. (So unlike me. ha, ha.) Was I all right?

Tillerwoman only gave him reason #1.

Good woman. Why would I want the world to know all the other reasons?


PS. My arm still hurts. Hope it doesn’t drop off.

PPS. The youngest member of the fleet gave up after 3 races too.


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