ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?
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