Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting.
It has been a petulant week of hissy fits and righteous fury - and your correspondent cannot shirk his share of the blame following a slightly intemperate email to the owners.
And then last night it seemed that a final straw had broken a cameline back and got everyone's knickers in a bunch. That straw, not to put too fine a pint on it, is poor sportsmanship and as its weight impacted the collective spine of the fleet, an unnamed sailor was moved to put it thus:
"Don't any of you f$%#ers do your f%*&@ing turns!?!"
Following a series of conversations on the water, on the dock and at the bar I surmise that the problem is a classic case of Kant's categorical imperative (or at least, it's inverse), viz: If no one else does their turns, then why should I?
Well the simple answer is that, if we all chose to ignore the rules we could avoid the trouble of unrolling our sails and simply have a dust-up in the car park. Rules are rules and if you chose to compete, you don't get to chose which rules apply to you and which don't.
Yadda, yadda, yadda. I would like to make three practical suggestions:
1. Read the rules - in particular read the rules concerning mark rounding. A cursory study of rule 18.3 will reveal that those of you approaching the top mark on port have virtually no rights - and my advice is to cut it out before somebody gets hurt.
2. The race committee really needs to set an offset mark.
3. Do your turns: you may not win the race, but you will in the respect of your peers.
In case you do not feel sufficiently chastened, I would also like to re-state the purpose of the recently-instigated roster system.
As previously stated, if your boat is rostered to provide race management then it is your responsibility to provide or procure race-management. That responsibility cannot be abdicated and does not revert to me (or anyone else). I will send out a reminder before the start of the next season.
We are just finalising the NOR and sailing instructions with RNZYS and these will be circulated as soon as possible.
Final Flight Next Week
Let's make it a good one.
Alex Webster is Auckland Fleet Captain and runs this website, so blame him.