I’m pretty sure I sailed before I walked. I know I sailed before I talked. I don’t remember it, but it’s family lore. My parents’ idea of a nice family outing was to put their first-born, while still in the babe-in-arms stage, aboard their 18-foot Seagull sloop and go sailing on Lake Michigan. There is no record of whether I wore a life preserver. I’m guessing I didn’t. The kapok models in vogue at the time would have outweighed the child.
The politics of international amateur athletic competition are so inscrutable and Byzantine they make professional sports look wholesome in comparison. Professional sports are driven by the simple and pure imperative of an entertainment business–to make money. International amateur sports are driven by a mysterious something else. Whatever it is, it's not pure or simple, judging from the bizarre decisions issued by the ruling authorities.
Three stout but dignified denizens of Navigator Heaven were gathered at a local pub for their afternoon pint. “What do you make of that sailing vessel fetching up on Cargados Carajos Shoals near Mauritius?” Captain James Cook, the legendary 18th-century explorer and cartographer, asked his mates.
I’m writing this on the “today” mentioned in the above excerpt from the NOAA marine forecast, which is October 31, 2014. That is the deadline for this column, and I had better get going, but I am being distracted by the view through my office window, a scene rendered in pewter of a street shrouded in metallic gray with a sturdy maple tree bending in the burgeoning gale as its last few leaves become unmoored to join the horizontal flight of passing snowflakes.