“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where--" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
Long ago, while touring through Ireland with my parents, we stopped at a petrol station which still sported a single hand pump. Spreading the AA road map on the bonnet of the old Volvo, we asked the attendant how he thought it best to get to Dingle.
"Well", he began after a thoughtful pause. "I wouldn't start from here."
This type of retrospective insight is something of a speciality aboard Tortuga (779) where rapier-sharp, legally-trained minds prevail amongst what Martin Tasker might refer to as 'the brains trust', but which might more accurately be described as a bucket in which we keep out brains while we are not using them.
I haven't yet received a copy of the results from Anatole, so I am really just reminiscing at this point and will post the results in the usual place as soon as I get them, but read on if you like.
Having opted to start at the back (and, in the rabbit start, you do really get to pick your own starting position), Tortuga (779), with your correspondent at the helm - struck out to the unfavoured left hand side, propelled by a combination of petulance, despondency and irrepressible optimism. Pushed out further to the left than they might have preferred (thanks to Impulse (1077)), the crew of Tortuga (779) flopped back onto port to find itself leading the fleet into the putative 'orange mark' of which the pre-start Chinese whispers had told. But, as it transpired, not leading the fleet into another, clearly not orange, but actually really, really yellow mark way, way off to the right.
Tortuga's crew took this on chin like the champs I know they can (with considerable training, some therapy and, possibly, another skipper) be.
When, on lap 2, the collective achromatosia that had afflicted the the fleet on lap 1 (vis a vis orange/yellow) was overcome, Tortuga opted for an early bath and self-medication.
I apologise for adopting a more-than-usually subjective perspective in this report, but I was moved to report that, notwithstanding the results, the evening was, for your correspondent, every bit as fun / competitive / therapeutic as ever and is, as always, to be highly commended. If you are not already racing Etchells - you need to start now...
So, following last week's immensely successful Invitational, we invite one-and-all to get (and stay) involved for the remainder of this series (TWO TO GO!), not to mention the New Year's series - commencing 28th January, 2014).
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Alex Webster is Auckland Fleet Captain and runs this website, so blame him.