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WITH SPRING cometh another Ten Commandments for the new sailing season:
1. Thou shalt not lie about the size of the waves, nor yet of the speed of the wind which hath assailed thee.
2.Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s gorgeous Hinckley nor his adorable wife.
3. Thou shalt not curse the weather forecaster any more than is absolutely necessary.
4. Thou shalt not pour scorn upon the Coast Guard boarding party, yea even though thine potty be legal.
5. Thou shalt slow down both in the marina and the anchorage; neither shall thine junior offspring run amok in the outboard dinghy.
6. Thou shalt not stamp thine foot, nor beat thine breast, nor rent the air with thine fists when thou receivest thine bill for engine repairs, for it frighteneth the children
7. Thou shalt not laugh openly at thine seasick mother-in-law.
8. Thou shalt not yet again neglect to switch on the cooling water before starting the engine and blame it upon thine spouse.
9. Thou shalt not lie about when last thou changed the engine oil.
10. Honor thine foredeck crew, and refrain from assailing them with raiséd voice, for they are the salt of the earth.
And one more for the helluvit:
11. Allow not thine halyards to smite thine mast repeatedly, lest it arouse sleeplessness, enmity, and bitterness among thy neighbors.
We must do the thing we must
Before the thing we may;
We are unfit for any trust
Till we can and do obey.
— George Macdonald, Willie’s Question
Boaters’ Rules of Thumb, #28
The French scientist and adventurer Dr. Alain Bombard maintained that nine out of 10 castaways adrift at sea die within three days, despite the fact that it takes longer than that to perish of hunger and thirst. Studies indicate that panic and loss of morale are the chief causes of death. Both may be reduced substantially by careful preparation (mental and physical) for being cast away.
“What happened to your ear?”
“Well, I was ironing my shirt when the phone rang and I accidentally put the iron to my ear.”
“Bummer. And what happened to the other ear?”
“Well, I had to call 911, didn’t I?”