Monday, May 14, 2007

Pretension gets un-Pretensed

Had a brief email exchange with Jamie Hastie over the weekend. I was puzzled at first, but when I understood, I must say I was filled with a great sense of peace.

The email exchange was rather simple. Jamie informed me he had bought a boat. Now as one of the Founding Fathers of Escaped Aussies (Antigua 2000) I of course assumed a sailboat. But no. It's a stinky. A powerboat. A beer guzzling, gas drinking, bikini clad nuisance to any principled sailor in the world.

So I puzzled and puzzled. How could this be? After all - Jamie defines accomplished sailor. He's raced for decades on Sydney Harbor, been to Hobart many times, he even figures prominently in the book The Fatal Storm about his experiences go to Hobart in 1998. This guy is a sailor.

So I puzzled a little more, and in a Dr. Suess like moment, it hit me. This man is relaxing. He enjoys this. It's easy to get around, it's easy to guzzle beer, it's easy to cart around bikini-clad items. Jamie has proven himself in sailing - many times over. He'll sail again, no worries. But maybe there's more. And maybe it's down a notch or two.

My moment of zen for the day. Ahhhh..... Happy Motoring Jamie.

Friday, May 11, 2007

March to Hamilton Island Continues

In an ongoing effort to share what it takes to rally 12 guys from literally around the world to participate in an 8 day sailing extravaganza we share another installment of "The March" or "The Swim" to Hamilton Island.

For many boats in regattas, cost is not an issue. The Skipper foots the bill. At least for the boat, sometimes more. It's good to be the skipper, it's still good to be rich - I think - and a lot of Skippers are just that. The downside is that it's pretty clear who's in charge. Now on our boats, we don't have an owner. I can tell Daz or Kieran or JK or whomever is masquerading as the man in charge to f-off anytime I like and they can't throw me off the boat. Downside is that this can get expensive, the privilege of telling the pseudo skipper to f-off that is. Current cost estimates for Hamilton Island Race week are running $36,000 Aussies dollars. Which is pretty damn close to $36,000 US these days.

So managing that cost is important - downscale your accommodations is one approach. Done it. Next is to recruit a few more folks - but that's not simple. These are people you are going to spend days and days in close proximity with. So basically, no jerks.

The second challenge we face these days is our charity arm. We believe - emphatically - that it's essential to "Give Back" to the localities where we race. Remember the rich Skipper thing? Sailing is ultimately a rich man's sport, though I am often fascinated by the disparity between rich and poor on a boat. Tends to be rich at the back end, suffice it to say. So the Escaped Aussies are trying to find an appropriate charity to donate to and a good method to raise money that does not require a tremendous amount of work. Most of that needs to be in place before Race Week.

The Story, the March, the Swim - continues.