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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sailing and sailboat racing

For the past three days I have been in Florida attending the annual meeting of US SAILING ( Mostly we are focused on sailboat racing, which is an Olympic - and Paralympic - sport, but there is a significant part of our work that just involves getting people out on the water.

That I should choose to spend my leisure time racing a form of transportation that clearly became obsolete when James Watt invented the steam engine might seem strange. But no stranger, perhaps, than the activities of those who use a variety of sticks to propel a little white ball into a very small hole located hundreds of yards from the starting point. That sport, of course, is golf!

Whether we race, cruise gently from here to there, or venture out into a too-large ocean in a too-small boat, these words written by Kenneth Grahame in the classic children's book "The Wind in the Willows" sum up, better than anything that I can write, the reason why we do it:

“There's nothing . . . absolutely nothing . . . half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats” .

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