Over the weekend I took sailing lessons at the club where K. is a member. I’ve been wanting to take lessons for a long time, even before I ever met K. I’ve always said I want to know how to drive a car, fly a plane and sail a boat. I’ve got two of the three now… Besides, as I have mentioned before, I get nervous when the boat heels over (aka leaning to one side as the sails fill with wind). It’s a visceral reaction for the most part…they tell you that the boat won’t fall over, and for the most part that’s true. As the boat tips more and more, the sails will lose the wind and the boat will right itself.

Well, I held on for dear life for much of Saturday, trying not to have a panic attack as we heeled waaaaay over. Suddenly, a puff of wind totally overpowered the boat and water was pouring in…the mainsail was touching the water before the sails emptied and the boat righted itself. Our instructor, who had been reassuring me all morning that things like this never happen, had gone over the side into Baltimore Harbor (yuck). Fortunately he was able to get right back on as we hadn’t gone over the man overboard procedure yet…but boy, did he feel sheepish! I was so glad I was wearing a life jacket; although I didn’t go in the drink, had I been on the heeling side of the boat, I might have done. Here’s hoping that a little aversion therapy has helped me with my fears…by the afternoon I was feeling a bit better.

Anyway, here’s my favorite passage from the sailing textbook:

“One of the best ways of knowing whether the flow of air over a sail is as smooth as it should be is to use telltales, or pieces of yarn attached to the sails and rigging…they should be about six inches long as as thin as possible to flow easily. A dark color is best since it will contrast with the sails. Polyester and mohair are better than wool because they are water resistant.” Sailing Fundamentals, by Gary Jobson

Does this qualify for “strangest place to find yarn recommendations”? I would also like to note that I have, on occasion, donated from my stash a telltale or two. Another reason it’s always a good idea to have your knitting with you!


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