As far as spectator sports go, sailboat racing is a bust. Unless it's blowing a gale or there are hydrofoils involved, the boats move so slooooooowly. And the actual event ––! When does it start? When does it end? Everything's indirect: the boats don't even go straight from A to B.
Onboard, it's a whole different story. Even on the nicest of days, improbable things happen* –– usually quite rapidly.
*This makes reasonable scientific sense: it's a law of physics that things tend to become more random.
For improbable example, a remora attached itself to our boat. My skipper and I were racing on Sarasota Bay, in our rotund Flying Scot*.
Going downwind, I usually nip back to the stern and give the rudder a quick wipe, in case we are trailing seaweed or we've picked up some other slow debris. Sliding my hand along the slab of metal in the water, I really was not expecting to feel a live, swimming, wiggling fish. A remora.
*(Full Disclosure: all Flying Scots are rotund)
Though I grabbed the fish –– knowing it would be the Best Sailing Story EVER if I could land the nightmarish creature with my bare hands –– it wiggled free and re-attached its creepy suction-cup head to the boat.
I took another swipe at it, and then another: eight seconds of piscatorial rodeo.
Whether because of the yanking on its slippery hind-parts or by virtue of my powerfully girlish shrieking, the fish came loose and swam away after while...one hopes it found a more peaceable commensal partner.
I expected that the ruckus might have caught the attention of my favorite skipper. Surely he'd glanced back to see if I had fallen overboard or lost a limb or something, even if he couldn't fully participate in the battle. But when I scrambled to my usual spot, he replied with a simple, "Huh," after I told him what had transpired.
A fish that can suction its bony head-plate onto boats (or sharks or humans) in roughly the manner of a party-goer applying an Solo cup to her chin? Okay. But it finds our boat? During the selected 25 minutes of that race when we were going downwind?
The universe may tend toward randomness, but maybe there's a far shore of random that looks like order, or perhaps intention. Or not.
About the Blog
A lot of ground gets covered on this blog -- from sailboat racing to book suggestions to plain old piffle.
Trying to keep track? Follow me on Facebook or Twitter or if you use an aggregator, click the RSS option below.
Old school? Sign up for the newsletter and I'll shoot you a short e-mail when there's something new.