Friday, September 04, 2009

Buff Staysail & The Laser Experience

Over here on this side of the Atlantic we were all very impressed to hear about the highly structured and well throught out Proper Course training program, "The Laser Experience".

Alas due to a manic work schedule have been unable to sign up and pay the charge of $3,995 (very reasonable given the priceless nature of what is on offer)

However our roving reporter Buff Staysail is mysteriously still without paying employment since being retired by the Queensland Community TV channel, and we managed to get him a last minute bucket flight stateside and discount from Mr Tillerman in return for a review.

So take it away Buff!

G'day all! Buff Staysail here, Buff by name and Buff by nature!

Well I'm more of a grown up, yacht, style of boater than a dinghy sailor, but in my youth I was a right tearaway in a Wayfarer! So for once I was happy to give the AC (as we insiders call the America's Cup) circuit a miss and give the Laser the benefit of my laser light insights (laser - Laser - gedditt??)

Day 1: Rigging and boat handling

So it's the first day, right, and we all got together down by the slipway where some buffer with shades and hat (see above) was hanging around by what look like a giant white thong (that's flip flops for you poms). Turns out that a) the buffer was a Mr Tillerman and b) the white thong thing was the hull of the Laser.

Cricky it was small! I mean, in a proper boat there are cup holders and things, and this only had the one. Mr Tillerman was a bit slow and hadn't spotted it (even though it was pretty obvious) so to show him it I jammed my water bottler right in it.

It worked like magic! Only was bit of a tight squeeze and it got stuck, and then Mr Tillerman said that hole isn't a cup holder but where the mast should go. He got a bit angy at this point, saying I'd messed up his boat, and there wasn't a spare.

Well I let him get on with it, and without a boat headed off to the bar for a quick one.

Day 2: Physical fitness

This is more like it! They don't call me Buff for nothing! (or B.S, but you know all about that - get your t-shirt here).

So it's day 2 and Tillerman (fair due to him) had borrowed the brand new Laser of his club's commodore himself for me to make up for the one that still had my water bottle in it (they never returned it - can you believe that?)

And I'd heard all about these Bic boats where kids climb masts and wanted to try some tricks. The new boat was all rigged and so I flipped its on its side to demonstrate how I'd shown Alex Thomson the fine art of keel walking.

And guess what? This so called commodore's Laser was faulty 'cos the centre board snapped and the mast ended with a permanent kink!

Mr Tillerman started talking very loudly at this point, something about my weight and what was I thinking, but that was just rude so I retired to the bar again.

3. Starting Style and Technique

Well finally got on the water for the first time - day 3!!!! - and in this really old crummy excuse of a Laser. Mr Tillerman said that was all that was available but I saw for myself several new ones on the racks in the club house, so make of that what you will.

I was keen to try out my B.S. knee protectors and as all real sailors know, the way to sail is on your knees, and there were this great hand hold straps either side of the centre board.

But Tillerman was going on and on and on about something called "hiking" - I mean what is that all about? Hiking is what poms call walking right?

Anyhow was something wrong with that Laser as it couldn't stay upright and ended up in the drink you can't drink (geddit???). Tillerman refused to let me stand on the centre board again, suggesting instead a trip ashore in the safety boat.

For once I agreed with Mr T and soon had a hot toddie (for medical purposes).

4. Mental Health Day

No need to talk to me about this quack stuff, and Tillerman agreed saying it could be a free day, so went into town and found this great joint where met a Mr O'Docker who said it was very important to keep posts short, so that's all you'll hear about Day 4.

5. Putting it all Together

Last day was race day and time to show these losers what a sailing legend like Buff Staysail can do when he puts his mind to it.

So I concentrated and focussed and ignored this terrible headache which for some strange reason had and used those knee pads like they were meant to be used!

Success! Buff Staysail wins again! And with that it was off to the bar for a well deserved drink!

There was some talk of a committee protest about how I hadn't gone round the course enough times but - hey - if they are small minded I'm not going to stoop to their level.

Conclusion: Despite sailing a boat that is too small and has the only cup holder concealed under the mast, managed to yet again pull off some magic B.S. and win the regatta. Was some of that success due to Tillerman? Who can say......


O Docker said...

It was quite the experience running into Buff, JP. By the end of the week, everyone knew the most likely place to find B.S. was at the yacht club bar.

JP said...

BTW O'Docker, Buff says hi and your now his best friend ever.

He said something else about meeting up next time he comes to visit the Golden Gate Yacht Club on AC business, but you can always pretend to be away, refuse to answer your phone, call 911 or something.