Sailing talk

Sailing the boat and other ways to physically express oneself.

This is a boat.
59er diner
This is a diner

What they both have in common is they are both called a “59er”. Even in Germany, this can result in conversational confusion. Especially when it is Jim and Jan (known affectionately to Jan as Yin and Yang, opposite forces etc..) enthusing over 59ers. They both look like they have enjoyed many a good full English breakfast.


Often when meeting people, they are asked, “what do you like doing together”?

Jim will reply, “We have a 59er”.

Jan will note the questioners raised eyebrows, Jim won’t.

“It’s a boat, not a restaurant,” Says Jan. “It’s a bit flippy.  Flat as a burger and we end up capsizing, often”.

And they do and have capsized very often, once six times in a row. In fact, it could have been classed as once technically (Jan argues) because of the fluidity and speed of the entire manoeuvre. What happened was the following;

  1. 59er capsizes,
  2. Jim locates the centreboard, which is by now pointing up in the air,
  3. Jim stands on the centreboard, holds on to the side of the boat.
  4. Jan meanwhile dives to locate and grasp the sheet which is underwater, that’s the rope that controls the mainsail, and if she is lucky the tiller to steer.
  5.  Jim uses his body weight to right the boat.
  6. Jan has to be poised to swim into the right place and be scooped up by the boat, springing into action to control the boat by balancing her weight against that of the boats’ urge to continue its momentum to form a full circle and capsize again. often because of the wind that took them down in the first place.
  7. Jim has to quickly work his way around to the back/stern of the boat and clamber in, taking the tiller from Jan.

Jan had a problem successfully completing step six, six times. they returned to 1. with various configurations of sailors in varying distance to the boat, “flinging” sailors is the laywomen’s/´Jan’ term. They repeated steps 1. The capsizing bit, and then, 2,3,4,5,6. Until by Jans’ reckoning they had taken 37 steps to right the boat. They had been observed by a few other sailors, Jim was a little embarrassed. Now, in a later debate in the clubroom, Jim argued the boat would be less “tucking fippy” (he doesn’t like cursing quite as much as Jan does) if they could just manage/convince Jan to get the “Gennaker” up for Jan to control.

Every time Jim says Gennaker, the following picture forms in Jans’ mind. maybe even superimposes itself on her face.gurning

This is a gurner, Gurning (Gerund), is a popular competitive activity in the North of England, the world championships take place in Egremont in Cumbria.

Jan is worried about the Gennaker, it’s a big third sail (asymmetric spinnaker) that gets pulled out from its sheath on the boat and unfurls hopefully billowing to its full overwhelming majesty in the wind. On occasions it doesn’t, on occasions, it behaves like a pair of tangled cheap women’s tights instead of slick silk stockings.  And both Jim and Jan get their metaphorical knickers in as much a twist. as the Gennaker is in.

This year they start sailing again in April, 1st April is the start date at the sailing club.

Jan hopes to improve on past performances.