Monday, 1 October 2007

Lorenzo Learns to Sail

We've been away to Turkey to do some sailing for a couple of weeks. All our other sailing holidays have been on 'big boats' i.e. thirty footers and over and we sleep on board. This year we went to a 'club' where we stayed in a hotel and could take out dinghies, canoes, fun-boats, wind surfers or a big boat for the day.

Although I have been sailing since a little nipper, with Maalie and my father, I have actually never learned how to sail. I have always been crew, you know, pulling on ropes, running around the deck, pulling up sails, pulling down sails, messing with the anchor etc. and ALWAYS with someone shouting instructions to me. It was time to branch out and learn the proper stuff of wind directions, jibing, tacking and steering and overcoming an irrational fear of capsizing.

I started out on Funboats, which I renamed Toyboys and Peter renamed Sea Slugs.

These were jolly little baby catamarans that actually went like the wind in the right conditions but were dreadful at going about or tacking into the wind. But .... it was virtually impossible to capsize them. Right up my street.

From this I graduated to Topazes.

These were more of a challenge. The first time I took one out I capsized twice. I found with these boats that when you turn them over, the rudder comes free from it's holding, so you have to bob about and try and fix this before there is the undignified scramble to get back in.

Now many of you will know that the upper body anatomy of a lady is a bit different to that of a gentleman, and together with the fact that wearing life jackets was compulsory, I found it very difficult to get back in as there seemed to be too much getting in the way. The only thing to do was to squirm and wriggle and eel over the back, hoiking up protruberences until the centre board was within reach, and thence a hefty pull usually landed me floundering on the bottom of the boat. Then it's quick, grab the main sheet, the tiller and off you go again.

Actually I got quite good a righting a capsized boat. The theory is you stand on the centre board and your weight gradually brings the boat up horizontal again. You have to remember to jump clear as the boat comes up otherwise you get squashed underneath it. The sophisticated men used to be able to climb in from the position on the centre board. They were very slick at it, but I never managed to master the technique.

After two days of this, capsizing four times and covered with bruises, I progressed to the Laser Pico.

I really loved the Picos. For one thing the tiller was slightly shorter than that of the Topaz so I found it easier to turn about. With the ultra long tiller of the Topaz there was a lot of groping and grasping behind my back trying to move from one side of the boat to the other. Also the Picos were faster and generally more fun.
My condifence grew with each capsize and at times I actually tried to see how far I could heel over before splat and I was in again.

A few times Peter and I took out a Hobie Cat. These have a fearsome reputation as they are incredibly fast catamarans. It's not easy to right these if you manage to turn them over. However, as Peter was doing the sailing and I was doing the crewing we managed really well without falling in.

Even so, Peter managed to get to get it up on one hull! My shrieks of joy and
screams of terror could be heard all the way to Bodrum.

Peter is a sod when it comes to racing. Normally a mild mannered, aimable fellow, when he races he turns into a demon. He takes no prisoners, and aims for the first buoy and bugger anyone in the way, be they wind surfers, swimmers or a family outing in a canoe. Everyone scatters. At the start of the race there are a lot of nudgers and nudgees all wanting to be near the start line for the off. There is also a lot of shouting obsenities at each other and general bad temper. I learned a new swear word too. Someone shouted ***********!!!!! What's *********** mean? Peter told me. 'But that's illegal' I replied shocked. I stored the word away for future use on wordimperfect's blog.

Peter locking horns at the start of the big boats race. I should have known of course, as even in any running race he starts off with arms flaying about and elbowing anyone in the way until he forms a little vacuum around himself in which even angels fear to tread.

One day he took me out in an RS800. Now this really was a boat too far. I was poured into a harness contraption with a big hook on the front that was supposed to attach itself to a wire trapeze. We left the beach at 0 to 60 in four seconds and this time my screams were genuine. I couldn't get the trapeze to work so I hung gamely out over the side, but it was all too much. We snuck back to the shore and I rushed for a Pico to restore my confidence again.

This is how an RS800 should be sailed. Not a chance. Don't even go there.

Every evening between 6.00 and 7.00 there was happy hour. We had made some friends: two Johns, a Theresa, a Tricia, a Brenda and a Gerry. The tables were covered with gins, beers and wine. One of my happiest memories was of a line of gins waiting to be drunk. Unfortunately I couldn't focus on my camera by that time to take a photo.

Of course there were the cats. They were all wild and most of them very timid and shy. They would grab my offerings and scarper. I gave one a cream cake when no-one was watching. She licked the cream off and left the rest. There was one little kit that was only about six weeks old and he and I became firm friends. Even Peter liked him.

This was one of the best holidays I have ever had. I loved it. I've learned to sail albeit not as competitively as Peter (yet). I capsized nine times and I have impressive bruises. I got two cold sores as I forgot my medicine. We've made friends that we will keep in touch with and hopefully meet up with again. The weather was brilliant. The food was good and the gins delicious. I'm now detoxing (or punishing myself as Peter says).

I'm off to the deli now to see Father Ann to confess my sins and to tell Berkant all about his fellow Turks.


Maalie said...

Wow! What a fantastic holiday! I will come back and say more when I have studied it in depth!

tut-tut said...

I second that! Great photos; you appear to have traveled with an excellent camera crew. I have never sailed, but I could feel the spray in my face and the wind in my hair with these excellent shots.

Too bad you had to leave kitten behind . . .

lorenzothellama said...

There was a fellow in an inflatable who took brilliant photos. In the evening we looked at his computer and selected some of them. At the end of the holiday he put the ones we had selected on a CD.
My son-in-law was here yesterday and he very kindly transferred them from the CD to My Pictures.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

What a wonderful holiday! And the pictures are wonderful!

I love to be on the water but have never been in a sail boat, so I am quite jealous - but not of the bruises - (I can get enough of those just bumping into things as I walk about!)

Glad you are safely home and had such a lovely holiday.

Rauf said...

Welcome back Lorenzo.
Ah you had a whale of a time. Splendid !
Couldn't help laughing at the description of a woman's body.

Well i eat without knowing how to cook Lorenzo. No cuts and bruises when you learn to Sail by reading a book called 'Sailing for dummies'
You did pretty well without this book.
Badger and Scaredy must be glad to see you back home.
Thanks for posting some excellent pictures. hoping to see some street life in Turkey.
lots of love and Hugs

lorenzothellama said...

Thank you Rauf! Badger and Scaredy were over-joyed to be home with us again. Badger wimpered with pleasure and Scaredy sat on my knee for ages!

I must read the book Rauf!

Scaredy and Badger send you love.
Love and xx Lorenzo.

Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Sounds and looks like a brilliant holiday! I loved Turkey when I travelled there, but I was there in early spring when it was often quite cold and even snowing. So the yachts etc were all firmly in dock!

Maalie said...

I've changed your colours. Is that OK? I could go pink if you like.

I have studied it in great detail.
Questions: Where's Bodrum? How far away is it exactly?

What's a pico?

Why did Peter want to lick a cat?

lorenzothellama said...

Thank you Maalie for changing the colours. Yellow will do nicely thank you unless you would prefer pink.

Bodrum is in Turkey.
A Pico is a type of boat.
That's just one of Peter's
little quirks.


The Fairtrader said...

I´d like to be able to sail myself, infact me and Cody even went and looked at various little sailboats with a view to it being a possible home and a solution to the "which Country should we live in" problem. But I can´t really ignore the fact that even looking at a boat seems to make me seasick, whoever hid my sealegs did a very good job. Lovely pictures mum, should see you on Wednesday, providing those folks at US immigration let me through on time. x

simon said...

how absolutley BLOODY FANTASTIC!

really! 100% great holiday and post!

Plumpy said...

Mum has a friend who races little sail boats. But she HATES getting wet. So she dry-capsizes. What's a dry-capsize? I asked. She replied - the boat tips over one way and I walk the other way, staying on top the whole time and NOT landing in the water.
I think if I went sailing with you Lorenzo, we would have to dry-capsize.

And I have nothing to say on the subject of your new 'friend.'

Ju's little sister said...

Lorenzo what a fantastic post! You have done very well and I for one am super-impressed!

Your wee ginge looks just the cutest! (uh oh, Plumps has just jumped down from the couch and stalked away...)

You look as though you are having a lot of fun, and I am glad to finally be able to put a face to the llama ;-)

The Lone Beader said...

Wow! That sounds exciting! I love the photos of the sailboats, too. That last one is cool... :D

Ex-Shammickite said...

Well, I like messing about in boats but that big one seems to be going just a little bit tooooooooo fast!
Great hols, I'm envious.
And I'm wondering what that really naughty word is....

Anonymous said...

Yes, me too.
I felt rather shortchanged after reading the blog. I suggest we lower the tone by suggesting lots of 11-letter possibilities to cover the asterisks.
How about shagbastard?


Martin Stickland said...

You are back!!!! And we have now seen photos of what you look like (such big whiskers!.. oh sorry, that must be the cat)

'Ugly & pasty' my arse!

Looks like you had a sooper dooper time and I would love to have a go at that.

Welcome back to old bloighty the two of you!


Martin Stickland said...

Ye thou likkle twister of upon said words. Thou, dith, dother and dith.

You were the one that said they were pasty but I think you knew that when spreading rumors about my posterior!

PS Can you add wall paper paste to my shopping list please.

lorenzothellama said...

Done Martin. I'll get it for you when I'm in Netto this afternoon!

Martin Stickland said...

Is it bugger? is it??

Do I get first prize???

I think that is ilegal but so is Isleepwithsheep but I have not heard anyone shout that as a curse before!

Rauf said...

Lorenzo, i don't think there is any book like that. But in India very unusual things happen. There are people who claim to remove snake poison by phone and they may even teach swimming by e mails.

lorenzothellama said...

Remove snake poison by phone hey? Sounds a bit like Reiki to me! Got involved with that once and achieved my Reiki 2 level, so if anyone wants a good Reik, well just ask!


Thesaurus Rex said...

Sounds groovy, even cold sores are bearable when you're having fun. Just can't smile without pain. Glad you had a grand few weeks, makes the grindstone all the less grindy.
P.S. Show me a man of my age who ISN'T in crisis. It's normal apparently, whatever that means. Anyway, I'm much better now thanx, just really looking forward to yet another long dark English winter.

Magdalene said...

Sounds fantastic and I'm in awe of your fearless sailing prowess. I'm one of those pathetic green faced creatures seen hanging over the side of anything afloat. I was glad to note also, that I'm not the only sucker for street cats. Your pics reminded me of feeding little saucerfuls of yoghurt to the flea-bitten little waifs of Lindos on Rhodes last year.

And Rex, you can shut right up about the long dark English winter. I'm not having it this year. I'm going on holiday in my mind.

Merisi said...

I need to get a Bloody Mary or something and then continue reading on about this fabulous holiday! Mamma mia ...... !!!!

lorenzothellama said...

Magdalene you are a woman after my own heart. Quite agree, men with crises and not liking winter can pipe down, or alternatively try reading Martin's blog to cheer themselves up. It's more economical than a light box. He doesn't seem to mind what rubbish you write on it and comes back with equally insane comments!


Raelha said...

Just a quick one to apologise for not commenting before and to apologise again for not commenting properly now - I'm so busy at work, I'm shattered. Will come back when I have more time and am more awake to leave a decent comment.

Maalie said...

Winter is the time for candles and log fires and scrunchy leaves and making apple pies in the evenings and catching up on your reading and blogging and Facebooking in the and stepping on freezled puddles and listening to redwings going over in the fog and holly berries (until the mistle thrushes have ate them all) and pansies and crisp sparkly full moons and dew-laden spiders' webs and pantomimes and mulled wine and the Nutcracker... and... and... and snowdrops!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Great pictures and great story telling. Actually good to hear you had such a wonderful holiday. Quite interesting but you learn by doing.

Sounds and looks like you and Peter make a fine team out there. Glad you enjoyed your two month vacation. It must be nice.

Ju's little sister said...

We are supposed to be moving through spring to summer. I have a horrid head-cold from working outside in the rain for three days staright. At night.

I'm with T-Rex. Winter is awful.

Plumpy said...

But it means I get to spend all day in bed with Mum. ;-)

Ex-Shammickite said...

We used to have a 33' sailing boat.... too big, I'm afraid it didn't agree with me. Mostly the drinking habits of the captain.

Plumpy said...

Scaredy, who says you can only own one human? Keep them both. But live with the one who gives the best food.

Make sure they know that they know what the conditions are before you make your decision, that way you get at least a couple of days with the best food ever.

Hmmm, v.word = njillurd

Raelha said...

I finally made it. I feel almost recovered after a good night's sleep.

The holiday looks fantastic - something I'd love to have a go at myself, especially when there are such gorgeous cats to cuddle afterwards. When I was in Tunisia over the New Year I sneaked lots of food out of the posh buffet breafast/lunch/dinner in the hotel for all the cats living in the grounds.

Can anyone imagine Maalie making an apple pie?

lorenzothellama said...

Maalie makes absolutely delicious apple pie. I give him the apples from my tree as I hate making pastry.
Mind you, he's got so much time on his hands he's always looking for little chores to occupy his time.

Maalie said...

Rubbish! I've never been so busy! I actually had to BUY a diary this year. I'm only just back from Lapland, and now I'm shortly off to Scotland (before Patagonia), I hardly have time to swing a cat.

I do make pies with other apples, you know. And bilberry pies, chicken pies, blackberry pies, pheasant and pigeon pies, stake and kiddley pie, sausage meat parcels - you name it.

Merisi said...

I never leave any automated mail messages when I am away from my computer, but the day I am going to be "Off to Patagonia", I sure will. :-)
How many pies does one have to bake before one get's to go to there? Is it your first trip there?

Martin Stickland said...

I am not on facebook only on New Scotland Yards wanted web site!

Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Facebook is for the generation that doesn't know how to make apple pies anyhow;-) ummm but actually... I am not exactly an apple-pie expert myself. Would air-freighting one down to the Antipodes work?

Plumpy said...

Maalie eats birds! Maalie eats birds!

He said so - pheasant and pigeon pie!

Scaredy, good on you my friend! Keep them working!

lorenzothellama said...

Plumpy: not only does he eat them, he kills them too!
He has been known many times to drive his van straight at a poor little pheasant, pick up the dead bird and shove it in the back.
He then takes it home, plucks it, guts it and cooks it!
How's that for gross hypocrisy!!

And not only that Plumpy, he puts live worms on the end of hooks, drowns them and waits until poor little fish eat the hook. Then he hits the fish on the head, takes it home, removes it's bones and makes it into fish cakes!!

backpakker said...

awesome holiday and great pictures..i tried my hand at sailing many years ago and i capsized at my first attempt..and unfortunately never got back to the sport again ..

Plumpy said...

Llorenzy lama, stop talkin bout fish like that. You're making my mouth water!

Magdalene said...

It's like rowdy pub in here. Surely it must be time for last orders, or are we having a lock in Lorenzo?

Ruth said...

Lorenzo, fabulous pictures and rundown! I envy you two things. Your knowledge of boats and boating. Your vacation in Turkey. I lived in Istanbul 1985-88, and I haven't been back. I'd love nothing more than to go back. I'm sure it's changed a bunch since '88. We used to hear about the "mavi tour" (mavi=blue)in which people sail around the southwest curve of Turkey, supposed to be amazing.

Raelha said...

A lock in sounds good to me. We donñt get them here, but then bars in spain can stay open unitl 5/6am anyway.

Barbara said...

Enjoyed your pictures and commentary on your sailing holiday. Of course the cats too.

I first had a go at sailing aged 60 and ended up being th best our of the group as I learned to tack a difficult route first session. Nobody else did. Would lo9ved to have taken it up but not so agile as I once was.

I have posted a chapter of my story covering a 3 week trip across teh Atlantic if you want to visit and read. Hugs

Angela said...

Wonderful photo's! I love the ones on the water! They are beautiful!
The photo's of the kitten being held are sooo adorable! Thanks for sharing all of these with us!

Craver Vii said...

Hey there! Just flying through quickly to say hello.