Love Letter to Sailing, Again

12 Feb

By Kimball Livingston

It’s such a common phrase that we take it for granted. The romance of the sea. Even those who dwell far from the sea are not immune to it. Red sails in the sunset. The very notion of sailing away to paradise. Those who heed the call, those who love the sea and sailing, will not find it strange that a sailor would choose to send a Valentine to the sport.

Once upon a time there lived a young man so enamored of sailboat racing that he couldn’t look out from the deck of one raceboat to another race going on over yonder without wanting to be part of that race, too.

Absurd? Whoever said that Rational went with Passionate? roses

Ernest Hemingway was no bigtime sailor. On the water, he was more at home in the fighting chair of a fishkiller with a touch of brandy close at hand. But the man had an eye. He could absorb what he saw and put it into words. He had gazed across the waters. He knew the look of boats under sail. And there came a moment in the writing of The Sun Also Rises when the blankness of the page demanded a next sentence to describe the beauty of his heroine, Lady Brett Ashley. And he wrote, “She was built with curves like the hull of a racing yacht.”

The real flesh and blood Lauren Bacall, who brought so many fictional characters to life—Hemingway’s “Slim” Browning of To Have and Have Not comes to mind—has many times remarked that her only real competition for her leading man’s affections was that boat, Santana.

Do sailors romanticize their boats? Do they ever. With so many women now sailing at the top of the sport, it’s awkward to wade into the origins of the usage of “she” to speak of a boat. But, let’s be simpleminded. Early day sailors were men, and that’s how they felt about their boats.

Are boats erotic? Don’t be silly. I just like to run my fingers along the hull . . .

And on a boat, it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day to need, seriously need, chocolate. So I just want to say:

Sailing, I really really really like you. I mean, I like you a lot. I mean . . .

Okay. I’ll just say it. It’s more than that. This is the real thing, and even though I really really really got ****’d in that last race, I’ll still love you tomorrow.

This article was syndicated from BLUE PLANET TIMES


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