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You Might be a Race Boat Captain if… By Brent Swager

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apt. Sandy is a very capable boat captain; licensed, Coast Guard-approved and a soughtafter instructor. His picture is found in the dictionary under “laid back.” Sandy is a mild-mannered Sunday school teacher whose lips never utter a curse word or hateful expression. Yes, Capt. Sandy is one of the most easygoing sailors you could ever meet. Until race day.

On race day, Capt. Sandy undergoes a miraculous transformation. His lungs become gigantic bellows and orders are flung at former friends and crewmates with all the enthusiasm of an angry drill sergeant. “It’s a sea-going phenomenon,” said Dr. Phil, during a recent show that featured Capt. Sandy and his racing zeal. “I’ve seen this dern kinda thing many a time; I call it the

‘Race Boat Captain Syndrome.’ ” “We’ve tried an exorcism on him,” chimed in Father O’Blivion, “But the force is just too strong.” The Clinic Responsible for Atsea Events (CRAP) issued warnings recently that Race Boat Captain Syndrome is on the rise and advises local sailors, particularly those entering PHRF races, to administer this important self-exam.

You Might Be a Race Boat Captain… • If you can recite the right-of-way rules in between shouting orders at your crew. • If you think the crew moves faster if you pepper your tacking instructions with colorful adjectives. • If you’re sure your PHRF rating is part of a bigger conspiracy to keep you from winning. • If you steer with one hand and hold a bullhorn in the other. • If you’ve ever given your crew nicknames like Dead Weight, Slow Hand and Strong Back. • If you can rig a whisker pole. Under way. Using duct tape and toothpicks. • If you have to bribe your crew with promises of beer and T-shirts to race with you after your first race. • If you ask the crew to bring only light beer aboard to cut down on weight. • If you spend more time and effort cleaning the boat’s bottom than you do your own. • If you keep a loaded weapon to fire warning shots across the bow of faster boats. • If Monday is just “five more days” to race day. If you exhibit some of all of these signs, you are surely helplessly infected. There is no cure. Might as well get that spinnaker out.

Have an interesting story? That’s funny, sad, a tear-jerker, a learning experience, heartwarming—or just a good story? Send to editor@southwindsmagazine.com. 70 September 2006

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