Cruising World - - Underway -

de­vo­tion to the sport of sail­ing. If we’re re­ally be­ing hon­est, we’ve prob­a­bly at least once or twice asked our­selves the same ques­tion.

“Love hurts,” or so the song goes, but how do suf­fer­ing and se­duc­tion go hand in hand when it comes to sail­ing? I was re­cently in­tro­duced to a con­cept, fa­mil­iar to hik­ers and climbers, called “the Fun Scale,” which makes sense of this seem­ing con­tra­dic­tion. The scale con­sists of three types of fun: Type I fun is fun while you’re do­ing it (e.g., beat­ing your friend who owns a big­ger or newer boat in a “friendly” race); Type II fun de­scribes an ex­pe­ri­ence that is only fun af­ter you stop do­ing it (e.g., sand­ing your hull with 500-grit sand­pa­per to achieve that racy bot­tom); and Type III fun, which is mis­er­able in the mo­ment and doesn’t get bet­ter with the pas­sage of time (e.g., re­build­ing the head).

Af­ter learn­ing about the Fun Scale, I found my­self cat­a­loging my sail­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, and the ma­jor­ity of the not-so-fun mo­ments landed in the Type II fun cat­e­gory. In one such in­stance, my hus­band, Robin, and I were mo­tor­sail­ing in a re­mote South Pa­cific atoll when our en­gine sud­denly cut out. We sailed onto our an­chor and dis­cov­ered that we’d ac­ci­den­tally pumped brine from the wa­ter­maker into our fuel tank. Af­ter three hours of drain­ing and fil­ter­ing 40 gal­lons of diesel, we were hot, frus­trated and covered head to toe in fuel. A few hours later, we were laugh­ing at the day’s events and glow­ing with a sense of ac­com­plish­ment from over­com­ing a sit­u­a­tion that could have been avoided if we were less in­com­pe­tent.

From squalls to sea­sick­ness to things break­ing on the boat, I have plenty of fun mem­o­ries that were any­thing but fun at the time. Of course, those are the ex­pe­ri­ences that have also helped me grow the most as a sailor, pushed my lim­its, and left me with a last­ing sense of ac­com­plish­ment and con­fi­dence in my abil­i­ties. For me, know­ing that sail­ing is some­times go­ing to suck by de­sign re­moves a lot of my re­sis­tance to un­pleas­ant mo­ments. There’s com­fort in know­ing that to­day’s frus­tra­tion or panic is

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