I HATE PEOPLE who publish lists of New Year resolutions. So, to punish them, here are mine:
► I resolve never to varnish again. I will commit to memory the John Keats Varnish Rule: A Thing of Beauty Is a Job Forever.
► I resolve to wear a harness and safety tether whenever my wife is looking.
► I resolve never to pee over the side again while we’re sailing, unless:
(a) The head is blocked again, or
(b) The holding tank is full again, or
(c) I think nobody’s watching.
► I resolve not to take along a gallon of wine every time we go for a sail, on account of what happened last time. (However, the cat did recover quite well.)
► I promise, when on a cruise, not to eat all the chocolate before we broach any other supplies. The bitter recriminations are not worth it.
► I resolve not to sail rings around other slower boats, unless severely provoked.
► I resolve never again to race people who don’t know we’re racing.
► I resolve (rather unwillingly) not to get testy and shout a little when my wife refuses to jump a mere 6 feet to the dock with a boathook in one hand and the mooring line in the other. Sheesh, people can easily jump 18 feet these days. Grumble, grumble.
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought.
— Shakespeare, Hamlet
Boaters’ Rules of Thumb, #140
The basic requirements for an oceangoing yacht are these, in order of importance: seaworthiness, comfort, self-steering ability, and speed. Seaworthiness includes stability and self-righting as well as brute strength. It also supposes the ability to claw off a lee shore in heavy weather and the ability to lie a-hull or heave-to safely when unattended.
“Mom,” said the baby ear of corn, “where did I come from?”
“Why, dear,” said Mom, “the stalk brought you, of course.”
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