THE COMING OF SPRING in the northern hemisphere ushers in a sense of renewal, a sense of refreshment and commitment to improvement. Spring always makes me want to be a better person than I was, which, admittedly is not difficult. This new sailing season I shall, once again, attempt to follow the Ten Commandments for Sailboat Owners:
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 unless severely provoked.
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 thy 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 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. Thou shalt 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. Thou shall not allow thine halyards to smite thine mast, lest it arouse sleeplessness 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
“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?”
(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)