Best Laugh When Sailing

Glenn McCarthy

Super Anarchist
Elmhurst, IL
Super light air start, on a C&C43, Beneteau 42 next to us. Big current pushing prior sections across the line close hauled 23 mile straight line race. B42 is ahead of us giving us gas going across the line.  RC radios 4 minutes later that the B42 was over at the start. They had gotten ahead of us with the gas they'd been giving us. They U-turn, put up the pole, rig the chute and pop it - now downwind even slower against the current not making much headway.

We're all sitting on the low side as we pass each other, I start singing quietly - Na na na na, Na na na na, Hey hey, good by!  Others joined in, and we end up singing at the tops of our lungs.

At least we thought it funny.



Get off my lawn.
Chesapeake Bay/Vail
best on my boat was a misunderstanding about the meaning of NOOD. Good looking woman first time on the boat while motoring up to Annapolis past Thomas Pt,

so innocently asks, " so it's kinda chilly out here today, when are we supposed to get nude?"



South of Spandau
After six or so days away from land, right in the middle of the Atlantic, guy crawls out of the companionway, mug-o-coffee in hand, takes a look around and grunts: “Aaah - here we are!” 



Super Anarchist
Bay Area, CA
Last one from me.  Doing a 250 mile offshore in the Channel in a half tonner in the 70s.  Yes, were were all quite insane.

There was a horrible 120 mile beat into a stiff 2-reef North-Easter from CH1 to Brighton. Freezing cold, and every second sea soused the three of us camped on the rail.  After two and a half hours of silence, the bowman turns round to the other two of us and says, "I'm glad I'm not out here."

Cracked us all right up.

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Super Anarchist
Shithole countries
Not while sailing, but afterwards at the dock, a tall g and t in my hand.

Barely into the first third, a pelican dive-bombs for a fish right next to me. 

The resulting splash doused both me and my drink, the drink fatally.

One could only laugh.



Good evening,

Many years ago and we are sailing an overnight race on a little 33 footer. A guy called Gavin goes and sit in between Lynnath who is helming, and the compass and instruments, blocking her view.

Gavin asks the stupid question, "Lynnath, am I blocking your view of the instruments?"

Responds Lynnath, "No problem Gavin, just turn your head sideways and I will look through your ears".

Lynnath went on to become a Volvo Ocean Race navigator.


Somebody Else

a person of little consequence
As a teenager, we're delivering the boat home after an Ensenada Race. One of those times when it's blowing stink, right on the nose. The 2 adults spend the night in the cockpit, sick as dogs while my high school buddy and I swap off every couple of hours driving. We are approaching Coronado Roads as the sky starts to lighten with approaching dawn. One of the adults, face as green as the Grinch, looks up miserably and utters, "You couldn't pay poor people to do this!"



Super Anarchist
I was doing a weekend offshore race on a swan  38, and it was blowing 25, gusting into the 30’s.  We get around the back of some island, which was out top mark for the day, hoist the kite and start blasting downwind.  The new kid onboard races to the stern and starts pissing off the back, but just before he does, the owner, while concentrating on his driving says sternly “ Son…you can’t piss into the wind”   Seconds later the kid is covered in piss.   

Many years ago I did a Mid-winter series on a friend's Thunderbird.  One of the races was on an overcast chilly day - typical SF Bay weather - with the wind out of the South instead of the usual Westerly.  We were reaching out toward the first or second mark and the owner decided that the wind was close enough to the beam for us to fly a spinnaker.  I wasn't convinced, but it was his boat, so we popped the chute and, sure enough, a few minutes later it was obvious that we were not going to lay the mark.

Our foredeck guy went up to the foredeck and dropped the spinnaker - right into the bay.  I grabbed it as it went past the cockpit and struggled to haul it in.  Then I heard a splash and the cry "man overboard", it was the foredeck guy.  Dropping the spinnaker, we dove over to the other side of the cockpit, grabbed the  foredeck guy and pushed him down into the cabin where the owner's daughter got him into dry clothes.  We finished hauling the spinnaker about of the water and I repacked it while the owner steered us toward the next mark.  It started raining before we got there. 

We plodded around the rest of the course in grim silence as the cold rain trickled down our necks.

The next day the owner walked into my office (we worked in the same building) and said "Guess how we did in our class". 

"Last place?" 


Now I noticed a rather strange expression on his face, so I guessed "First place?"

"Yup" he smirked.

"Did everyone else in our class go home when it started raining?"

"Yeah", he replied, without a smirk this time.



Delivery of brand new Amati, Olympia to Shilshole. We’d been motoring, finally got a nice North 6 knot January breeze looking at the South end of Bainbridge. 2nd sail ever (1st was in ghosting conditions after launching on the Columbia River), slack tide, starboard tack, taking a look at when to tack and lay Shilshole. No instruments.  Kind of a not yet…not yet… situation, since everybody- me, my wife, Steve Rander and some of the Schooner Creek lads-had different opinions on what Amati’s tacking angle might be, so we decided to wait until 90 degrees just to be on the safe side, since we were running a bit late, and while it was a brilliant sunny day in January, it was cold as fuck, and tacking more than once to get in seemed like self abuse, but I was determined to sail, so we tack, and get settled on port -running backs got tangled on the batten ends, under deck main control lines got gnarly- finally look over at Shilshole, and we’re pointing at The Highlands. Steve says something like ‘Holy Fuck, she really does point’.  And maybe it was hypothermia, but everybody was laughing as we put the her nose down, reaching under blade & main towards Sunset Park, the wake off the transom getting very clean.

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1971.  First S2H on a red hot, brand new, but very slow two tonner from Melbourne.  Owner was a property developer and a great guy.  One afternoon he turns up at the dock with some business associates / aquaintances / freinds and announces we were going out onto the harbour for a booze cruise.  All goes according to plan until we turned east to beat back towards the CYC.  First tack, skipper puts the helm down and calls 'lee-oh'.  Dude standing on the cabin top admiring the view, drink in hand, turns back towards the cockpit, says "yes...' and is promptly hit in the guts by the boom and goes straight into the piss.  We all thought it was the funniest thing that ever happened, but Leo thought it was a heartless sailors joke.

In the pre-GPS era, we were heading out to an early, spring race on Lake St. Clair.  The sky was mostly sunny and clear onshore.  But as we motored away from the relative warmth of the land it started to get foggy from the cooler water.  By the time we got to where the starting line should be it was dense fog – maybe a 100 foot of vis.  Then the modest wind died, and the vis dropped to about a boat length. 

Got word on the radio from the RC that the start sequence would be delayed because of the fog.  You could hear the crews grumbling from nearby boats but could not see them.  After about 30 to 40 minutes of monotony we start to hear chatter on the radio. 

It is two bass fishermen trying to find one another in the fog.  Again, pre-GPS and they are talking CB trucker style. 

First guy:         “…what’s your 20 good buddy?”    

Second guy:    “Somewhat close to shore where there is less fog – can see pretty good” 

First guy:         Well, what can you see? 

Second guy:    If I look towards shore, I can see a big white house. 

First guy:         That don’t help me much – nearly all the homes in Grosse Pointe are big and white. 

Second guy:    Tell you what, I have an idea.  I’ll give you three loud blasts on my airhorn and you can motor toward the sound. 

I was standing in the companion way when I heard this and INSTINTIVELY reached for our airhorn and let off three blasts.  I wasn’t the only one.  Sounded like half the boats in the fleet had the same thought as I did.  Horn blasts lasted a couple of minutes and slowly died off.  After another minute or so First Guy is back on the radio,  “…Guess we are not alone out here” 

Laughter could be heard from nearly every boat in the fleet.



Super Anarchist
Harbour Pennant race in the Mumm 30 coming fast into the bottom mark. At the very last minute the female tactician (dinghy champion) changes her mind and calls for a gybe drop. The bowman and pitman both say, "There's not time."

Tactician says, "Well fuck the lot of you."

On the helm I say, "Lou, I don't think there's time for that either."

Tactician looks slowly around at the other six of us and replies, "With you lot there probably is."

We were still laughing half way up the next beat. 


Go Left

Super Anarchist
butte sailores tende to be.......               :)
Well, we try to be, but it usually falls flat.  For instance, when I registered my boat as Schrodinger's Cat, they told me that there might already be a boat named that, but they couldn't find it.  



Super Anarchist
It's sad that the 2021 S2H thread can reach to 17 pages and the Australian Sailing one to 42 pages but this one can only get 50+ replies. Is there no fun left in sailing? As my tactician said, "Fuck the lot of you!" And there probably is time.



A lovely late summer Wednesday evening race on the keelboat in a dying but warm breeze, did well, run through the finish line and back into the river against the tide, spinnaker still up because we need the speed. Get alongside our bit of the mid-river pontoon and the three of us (who think we've probably seen everything) are reduced to helpless giggles as we ease the guy to kill our breakneck tenth of a knot over the ground, boat gently stuck against the dock fenders. Now run the spi halyard and realise that it's just going to drop down neatly onto the pontoon. Tie up? Can do, no rush, even the main drops across the boat onto the planks making for an easy roll up for once. Hardly a word spoken, giggling continues. Perfect end.



Vancouver, BC
Probably the one shared by the most had to be WIRW in the late 90's/ish/. Friday drifter after a pretty decent week and RC is valiantly trying to set a course in the different zephyrs popping up. Afte a bit someone gets on the Race frequency and and says "Race Committee, this is ridiculous" Without missing a beat RC responds "Go ahead Ridiculous, this is the race committee"

Laughter rolling across the race course from one end to the other

I think I was there. 

Same event, likely a different year:  Chaos in the brain trust as we had about 5 "skippers" on board, each giving different direction as to where to put the boat in the pre-start.  Boat owner sticks his head up and says "Hey guys...I own this boat and I want to know who's in charge here."