April 2018

posted Apr 4, 2018, 8:53 PM by A Rice
Sailing really is everything.  It is funny all the indirect things it can teach me and there is very little in life that I can not compare to some aspect of sailing.  

Sailing has taught me a lot and given me plenty of analogies.  Weather is a typical one... from rough weather adversity to "smooth sailing".  Lately though, as I lay on my back under Ruf Duck's  tandem axle trailer I am thinking about sailboat puzzles, the mysteries of cause and effect and how one small part can be the key to success or failure of a system or event.

It all started on my way to the boat ramp a few weeks ago.  It was 6 am, coffee-less, misty and not fully light as I hooked the truck up to Ruf Duck and headed to Shilshole.  My neighborhood is sleepy.  Quiet.  The air is fresh.  It is also uphill from the main road headed south to Seattle and that is really the problem at this point.  Only one block from the house I  hit the brakes on the downhill grade.  Surge brakes compressed with a clank (normal it seems) followed by the loudest most god awful squealing you have ever heard in your life.  And smoke.  Lots of rubber smoke. For some reason I next defaulted to "that was weird, lets see if it still does it" mode.  More noise.  More smoke.  Not having had the foresight to bring tools for noise and smoke I opted to try to limp one block back to the house.  More noise.  More smoke.  The neighborhood is now fully awake.  Maybe they thought it was funny, with me looking a little like Austin Powers and his luggage-cart-three-point-turn except louder and smokier.  By the time I made it back to the driveway my neighbor was out of his house bent on tracking down what had to be an offending teenager.  We both looked at the trailer... the brakes... wiggled things around... hit things with hammers.  Miraculously the brake was suddenly working fine.  Sailing had taught me that unexplained fixes are a trick.  I frisked my neighbor for the suspected can of hidden WD40 that did not materialize.  I still think he gave the pads a quick squirt just to get me out of there and him back to sleep.  Indeed, on the way back from the regatta later that day brakes started hanging up again.  Not as bad but still something that needed to be looked into.  In the end, it was one small part that kept the brake on that wheel functioning at 100 percent.  One part of the puzzle once again contributing to the braking system and allowing my life to be enhanced by being on the Salish Sea.

NWMA, as I have come to learn from my freshman attempt at being a Commodore, is made up of lots of parts.  How they go together, and what parts come to bear, have a direct impact on the quality of the NWMA experience.  You and I are the parts and fortunately for us there are lots of brilliant hard working folks who make up our awesome club.  Still, "many hands make light work" and you can never have too much participation when it comes to an organization like ours.  I know that each of you has some kind of Super Power... that one skill that compliments other efforts and can be that essential single part that makes the whole entity sing.  Maybe you are a business person and know how to negotiate the best deal.  Maybe you are an artist and have a way with capturing what we all like to do in some artistic way.  Maybe you can write.  Maybe you have the gift to gab. Maybe you know things.  Maybe you know how to do things.  Maybe you want to put that Super Power to work so NWMA can enhance the sailing experience of yourself and others.  Yes, your Commodore is asking you to be a part... to take an active part... in making NWMA the best sailing club in the region.  Bring your ideas and talents to any of the NWMA officers.  We would love to hear from you!  Besides, being involved is just like sailing... as easy as a quick daysail to as complicated as a circumnavigation.

Happy April!

Your Commodore
Jeff Oaklief