The things I don't do for Tillerman.
Yesterday, I left an innocent comment on his blog, praising the lovely sailing conditions we enjoy on San Francisco Bay, whereupon he challenged me to give him reasons that he should sail here. There's some sort of Laser race for geriatrics being held here next year, and he has been making noises about coming out to participate.
Here is the Tillerman-tossed gauntlet:
Please give me Ten Reasons to Sail in San Francisco Next Summer. I'm willing to be convinced. You could even make it a blog post (unless you are planning to write more posts about frigging flowers.)
So, here I am writing a blog post to make him happy. And a post composed of a list, no less.
I normally don't do 'List' blog posts, mainly because that is a mechanical device for cranking out a post and I'm a less structured, more freeform kind of guy. But I think the idea to create a 'List' post was itself on one of those lists about how to write a successful blog - something like "Twelve Things You Must Do To Write A Successful Blog Because Eleven Things Wouldn't Be Enough". One of those twelve things was Make A Blog Post Out Of A List. And since Tillerman is a rather, well, structured kind of guy, he likes lists.
Some people are insecure in their natural ability to know when a task is complete and feel that the artificial device of having a list and checking off its items will insure success. We all have our little crutches to get through life. Tillerman's seems to be making lists.
Mine is beer.
So, in an effort to placate He Who Must Be Obeyed and to convince him to come sailing in San Francisco next summer, here is my list of Ten Reasons To Sail In San Francisco.
1) Our Frigging Flowers. You didn't think I was going to let that little remark about flowers go unchallenged, did you? Tillerman is a very focused kind of sailor. When he gets on that Laser, he is very dialed in. It's all concentration about technique, about strategy, about timing the perfect start, finding the perfect lane, knowing the unknowable about which side is favored. I think that's why he doesn't win more often. He's too damn focused. His hiking pants are all in a knot. San Francisco sailors are much more laid back. We take time to smell our flowers, to consider sailing as part of a balanced life that includes many elements, even the flowers. We are more relaxed and philosophical, and I think staying loose and being free to adjust to changing conditions can only be an advantage on the race course. Tillerman, come to San Francisco and learn how to relax a little.
2) Our wind. No, it doesn't blow a steady 18 knots every day of the year, but looking back over any sailing season, it sure seems that way. Because of peculiarities of our local topography and how that affects wind currents, we enjoy what is one of the most reliable and predictable wind machines on the planet. Don't take my word for it, or the word of about a bazillion people who know more about sailing than I do. Try it. You'll like it.
3) Our currents. Like a good game of chess? Don't like a race course that's the same every week? Come to San Francisco! If you've mastered sail trim, timing the perfect start, reading the wind, surfing the waves, and all of that other stuff that sailors need to know about, no matter where they sail, you will still end up at the back of the pack here if you don't know how our currents work. The cool thing is that no one knows for sure how they work, no matter how long they've been sailing here. Our currents are that diabolical. In most other sailing venues, you can find out what you need to know from a simple tide chart. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! The overall winner of last year's Three Bridge Fiasco, who has been sailing the bay for at least 200 years, went out on the course the day before the race and spent all day sailing to key spots at about the times he thought he would be getting there in the race - just to see what our frigging currents were up to. Did I mention that he was first out of 300 boats?
4) Larry Ellison lives here. Tillerman, the guy bought a little fixer-upper cottage on the ocean in Newport last year, just down the road from you. He's a neighbor, right? Surely he'd be happy to see you and to take you out for a sail. I think he has more than one boat. And even if he asks you on a light air day, he has one very fast trimaran that he only takes out on light air days.
5) You can walk, jog, or bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. All sailing and no play makes Tillerman a dull boy. It's great enough that we have the most photographed bridge in the world available anytime for photo ops, but even though it was built in 1936, they still had the foresight to put a walkway on it. I don't care how much of a jaded East Coast type you are, this is still very cool.
6) There are more great restaurants in the Bay per square centimeter than anywhere else on the planet. OK, this may be a tough one to support with hard data, but I think there are definitely more restaurants here than in all of Rhode Island, if you don't count greasy chicken joints.
7) This is a much better time zone than Rhode Island's. When you're going to bed in Rhode Island, we still have another three hours to party. Heck, when Tillerman's going to bed, we probably still have another five hours to party.
8) Two words - No Frostbiting
9) San Francisco - not London, not Portsmouth, not Fowey, not Grumbleywicket on Tyne, not even frigging Dublin - was the birthplace of Irish Coffee.
10) Now that I've dispensed with the tedious device of compiling a list, may I make a plea for what is really the reason that you should come to San Francisco?
Have you ever awakened earlier than usual on a crisp, fall morning, when things were yet clear and still, and felt a sense of both inner peace and energetic anticipation to get on with the events of the day?
Have you ever felt, at the end of a long run, a sudden pulse of energy that you weren't expecting, that gave a certain lightness to your step and drove you to the finish in a rush that made you forget all fatigue?
Have you ever been stopped in your tracks, shaken from a tedious routine or from a frenetic dash to get somewhere you didn't really need to be rushing to by a single sound - a child's laugh, the cry of a gull, that made you realize there might be more in that laugh or cry than in the busy entirety of the rest of your day?
Have you ever watched the sun drop stoically into the sea at the end of a long day of work, more tired than you ever thought you could be, only to discover it was a good kind of weariness for what you had accomplished that day?
If you've felt any of these things, then you know a tenth of the joy and anticipation and fulfillment we have whenever we push our boats out from the harbors, out from the marinas, out from the launch ramps, out from the backwaters of San Francisco into these tender and terrifying waters that we so proudly call home.