I'm not a cyclist, per se, but I am also not not a cyclist.
For the first time in a long time (over a year?) I suited up in my spandex and took to the crowded, rush-hour roads of Annapolis on my Madone, eager to put some miles under the tires, erase my brain and get some much needed exercise.
I rode past the Naval Academy, up and over the 450 bridge and out towards Sandy Pt. State Park, a 21-mile jaunt that brought back memories of my days living ashore, when I sometimes rode over 150 miles per week on that bike. I usually take music with me, but this time it was silent, save for the traffic and the occasional bird, and my head was spinning (in a good way) with ideas.
I wanted to write this last night, when I was fresh off my bike, but there was a sexy Swedish girl in the cockpit of my boat with a bottle of wine and some French cheese, so we enjoyed the evening instead.
I always said that I wish there were a little man up in my head who could write down my thoughts when I wanted him to. Often when running of biking, and with no music, I have a terrific flood of ideas that pass through my brain, and wouldn't it be nice if someone were there to write them all down? Here's what I remember...
Idea #1: 'The Great Chesapeake Bay Seabreeze Race'
Since somehow being appointed the new 'Commodore' of the Allied Seabreeze Owner's Association (how did that happen anyway?), I've been brainstorming about how to do some fun things with my fellow Seabreeze sailors. Why not a race?
Typically my brain will start with the seed of an idea, and in this case it started wondering how I could get involved in 'The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race' this year, but on my own boat. Then it marched right along, remembering that I am the new 'Mr. Seabreeze,' so why not get a whole bunch of boats involved? And since the Schooner Race would never allow one-sticked boats in their event, why not create our own? It wouldn't even have to be the length of the Bay (though I'd push for that), but something different, maybe Baltimore - Annapolis? I'm going to let this one incubate for a while, but I might have something here.
Idea #2: 'Rally to Bermuda'
I spoke with Steve Black on the phone yesterday, who run's the 'Caribbean 1500' cruising rally each year, which we are participating in aboard Sojourner. He mentioned the thought of organizing a Bermuda rally, of combining with the NARC Rally in the future and got the wheels turning on my end.
Mia and I have our sights set high on reaching Sweden next year on Arcturus, which will most likely include a stopover in Bermuda, so why not get a bunch of other boats to follow us there? Of course, we'd likely end up last in the fleet, if it turns out to be anything like the Carib 1500, with the average size being around 48', some 13 feet longer than our little yawl. But nonetheless, why not?
Idea #3: 'The Self-Sufficient Rally'
I don't know how or why I got caught up in this rally business. In fact, I have a definite distaste for it, thinking that when we go cruising it will most definitely not be with a bunch of other people out in the middle of the ocean. So how can you reconcile sailing in numbers to a sailor like me who prefers solitude?
I fear (and could be wrong), that the onset of cruising rallies are making very adventurous people out of novice sailors. There has to be a way to stress self-sufficiency in the organization of these rallies, something that is not only going to get those sailors safely across an ocean, but also make them better and more self-sufficient for it. I think it's awesome having a net of cruising sailors a radio call away when something goes wrong aboard (say a blown headsail, clogged fuel filter, etc.), but there's got to be a way to teach people to try for themselves before calling for expert advice. I understand that they stress that in a rally, no one is there to help you, and I also understand how comforting it must be just to hear a friendly, helpful voice on the radio. But let's use these cruising rallies as a way to make better sailors out of folks, rather than just complacent sailors. This one needs some more time to incubate.
Idea #4: 'The Ultimate Broadreach Trip'
It was a long bike ride, and my brain works faster than my legs. Idea #4 began while thinking about who I would want to bring as crew on a potential trans-Atlantic to Sweden next spring. Mia has already declared she wants competent - no expert - crew aboard for the long leg between Bermuda and England, just in case we need their help. I thought of who I'd want along - my Dad, Adam, Micah, Moxie, Maddy, Darren - but then I thought of DJ, an exceptional kid and a great sailor who was crew aboard the Arc of the Caribbean program we led this summer.
It was DJ's fourth trip as a BR student - he was immediately comfortable on the boat, fast became one of our best and most reliable leaders, and by the end of the trip became a full-on sailor, quite capable of standing midnight watches by himself on a 50-footer. Dj was also the funniest guy on the boat (Mia relieved him from watch duty one rough night coming back from Trinidad, with 30-35 knot winds bashing us around. He laid in the cockpit, enjoying the evening, even saying he enjoyed 'being a real sailor.' Not two seconds later he was swamped with a wave that climbed aboard, and not five seconds after that the working jib sheet parted with a 'BANG!' DJ quickly retracted his admission, announcing 'I don't think I want to be a real sailor anymore!').
Anyway, all these thoughts went through my brain on my bike ride, and I concluded, 'wouldn't it be cool to offer a crew position to DJ, the ultimate experience for a young kid who really got into sailing this summer and proved himself capable? Of course it wouldn't be an official BR trip, just an invite from a former skipper, but what an experience for him, and what a boon for us to have capable crew. Perhaps I'll think about this one some more.
Odd how all of my ideas somehow related to sailing, despite being all garbed up for cycling. I'm riding again today, this time maybe 30 miles, so we'll see what we come up with for tonight's entry.