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The Language of Sailing >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

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The Language of Sailing >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

Whether it’s fictitious names or people, Max Ebb and Lee Helm are regular contributors to Latitude 38 magazine. Here’s their column for the September 2022 issue:


I do a lot less long runs around the buoys these days. Weekday evening club races and longer point-to-point events are becoming my preferred format, and long ocean races are also high on my list – but the traditional all-day YRA races around the buoys seem less and less interesting, especially to those of us who have walked these routes several hundred times.

But when Lee Helm called one evening to see if I could replace a very big, very fast, very competitive boat in the most publicized regatta of the year, some of the old enthusiasm for a bay race kicked in, and I said yes.

“I’m a little rusty for the front,” I admitted, but Lee assured me that my role would be strictly sandbag; they already had more than enough fodder on the foredeck. “The doctor will come tomorrow. We need our maximum allowed rail meat.

I picked up Lee from his housing co-op near campus early on race day, but it turned out I had two passengers, not just Lee Helm.

“Like, I’m bringing another rookie sailor,” Lee explained as the two women piled in. “At 105 pounds, its weight will bring us exactly to the limit of our crew. And we can, for example, use the anchovy lane to avoid traffic.

“The Way of the Anchovies?” I asked.

“HOV lane, if you say it quick,” Lee’s friend explained. “High occupancy vehicles.”

We crossed the bridge and reached the yacht club in record time, and Lee led us to the boat. With barely time for introductions, the owner and skipper got us to work.

“Help the porch boning and bricking the back flapper,” he ordered.

“He means, ‘Help the foredeck crew remove the slats from the practice pipe and bend it into a compact shape,'” one of the crew members translated for the rookie sailor. – Full report