We lost a subscriber last summer. That’s not unusual. It’s part of the ebb and flow of the magazine business, gain some readers, lose some. Yet this loss was remarkable because of the stature of the subscriber. Let me tell you about Rudy Haase.
Hurricane holes live in Caribbean legend as promises of survival in the hurricanes that scourge the islands. These scattered anchorages are invariably landlocked except for a skinny entrance channel and many are bordered by storm surge-absorbing mangrove.
Credit sailing schools with making sailing more egalitarian. Before there were sailing schools in any significant number, it was assumed that if you were a sailor you had been born with a silver shackle in your mouth.
In the 1960s, my wife and my mother were (briefly) sailing TV stars. That is only a mild exaggeration. They appeared on television, on Chicago’s NBC affiliate no less, and in those days that qualified you as at least a minor celebrity.
I’d like to set up a meeting between James Harrison and Rich Wilson. Rich could give James some tips about competing in sports.Harrison is a star linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers whose winning-is-everything attitude earned him $100,000 in fines for illegal hits in a single season. Wilson is a scholarly 66-year-old sailor.
I’m going to introduce you to a man who has learned, refined and perfected the art of finding the simple joy of sailing.
For an activity that humans figured out eons ago, sailing can be complicated. Besides keeping up with advancing technology, it often demands serious planning. Cruises and races require organizing personnel and logistics. Even daysails with friends need arrangements to find dates and times that coincide with suitable weather.
While the First Mate (that would be my wife) leaned over the lifelines in a game struggle to hold the boat off the dock, I gunned the diesel to blast out of the slip through a strong sideways breeze and nasty ferry wake. As the boat cleared the last piling (cleared on the second bounce, that is), I heard a commotion behind me, looked back and saw the First Mate hanging from the dock by her fingertips shouting some words that I couldn’t make out but I assume were unprintable.Schedule
One acquaintance said he spent the better part of a weekend binge-watching the drama unfolding on his computer screen. Another told me he lost sleep, unable to resist getting up in the night to check the latest developments. A number of people I hardly knew regaled me with arcane details of a sports competition they barely understood but followed avidly on the internet.
Mark Twain famously described Bermuda as paradise you have to go through hell to reach.
A chronic seasickness sufferer, he served his time in hell on the dependably bumpy rides to his island getaway.
Twain was no seaman, but even experienced ocean sailors are wary of the 600-plus-nautical-mile passage from the East Coast to Bermuda that features sea conditions energized by a hot Gulf Stream flowing fast through a North Atlantic that is often a speedway for weather systems.
The view through my office window this morning tantalizes with a cerulean sky and green maple tree leaves aflutter in a fresh northwest breeze. The urge to escape to the red sailboat docked a block away is as compelling as the urge to wax nostalgic in this column I am writing for SAILING’s 50th anniversary issue. Alas, I’m going to resist both.
The column was published more than five years ago, but I still get reader comments about the Full and By piece I wrote about the ghost fleet. The column is sort of a ghost itself, living forever on the Internet.