Reading the story of the Velux 5 Oceans race today, I was reminded that years ago at school, when I was part of the sailing team, we were denied the same recognition as the rugby team as we were not deemed to be a ‘real’ sport. Hence we were not allowed the privilege of signing ‘The Colours Book’.
We’d won every match that year: the only school team so to do – a feat repeated for several successive seasons.
Needless to say this rather inflamed the Master i/c sailing, Mr Beach (no kidding) to the point of him threatening to ‘deck’ (geddit?) the Deputy Head. He was not happy of the inference that Yachting was not adequately ‘macho’.
Consequently several weeks later, when rugby was cancelled due to bad weather or something, I found myself the host of the First 15 down at the lake on games afternoon….. seems Bob Beach had a score to settle…..or at least we did – on his behalf.
It was a cracking day. A tad wet, I’ll concede, but blowing dogs of chains straight down the lake. A yachties dream – we were in heaven – a good breeze was not a common occurrence on a small inland lake.
Pretty soon we wised up to our task: to scare the proverbial out of the rugger buggers.
Easy peasy. Screaming downwind, broad reaching across each others bow waves to increase the spray soaking the new crew, while we implored them to ‘hike harder’, lest we capsize. It was a good afternoon.
I recall we signed The Colours Book quite soon after.
So, for anyone who still thinks yachting is for the faint hearted, take a look at this picture:
60 knot winds, with seas to match, you are racing downwind in excess of the urban speed limit in a 60 foot boat with no brakes.
On your own. In the dark.