Monday, 7 September 2009

more big small talk

I have a huge sail hanging over my banisters right now, drying out. It's doubled over and still covers the entire staircase and landing. Like a parachute. Odd how big it is considering life for the past three weeks has been crammed into a space comparable to my back room.

I know I've raised this idea before, a few times, but I think it's why I enjoy both poetry and sailing, although on the face of it they seems very different. The idea being the small/big dichotomy that is incapsulated in both. Here are some examples from my sailing in the past three weeks:

1. the big seas of long passages being reduced to the smallness of the boat I couldn't get off (we didn't do too badly - our longest passage was Larne in Northern Ireland to Ramsay, Isle of Man: 64 miles, but that was directly after two other forty milers, eight hours or so)
2. our constant answer to the big winds (we sailed in winds between 16-32 knots the past few weeks) was to reef our sails to their smallest possible surface for the wind to howl on and power
3. we only experienced the expanse that is the west coast of Scotland in tiny sheltered bays, coves of Aran, Kerrera, Seil, Luing and Jura
4. our focus shrank to listening to inshore forecasts broadcast on the VHF every three hours: detailing wind speed and direction; sea state; weather; visability
5. the infinitessimal slide of light across waters in Cuan Sound indicated the potential turbulence of overfalls or eddies below; there is nothing more menacing than the silence of water that carried us faster than our engine would do alone
6. small knots hold fast against F8 winds - we spent three nights of the three weeks attempting sleep attached to a variety of mooring bouys in these stupidly strong winds
7. slight tickles on the tiller enabled the boat to ride swells of a metre high - the forty mile passage home from Ramsay, IoM, was one long game of tickle and roll: too late and it's a huge struggle to right the boat to the correct course

If I was really clever, I could write a haiku encapsulating all of the above ...

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