I am not sure if its just me, but I’ve always thought there is something very sexy about bowmen on racing yachts. Good ones are hard to come by and the ones who are brilliant are often referred to as “The Rockstar Bowman”. They are usually also terribly good looking so it is an irresistible combination.
For the benefit of my non-sailing readers, the bowman is the one who dances around on the sharp end of the boat, which is jumping up and down over waves, and while getting thrown around and soaking wet, he manages to somehow combine a spaghetti like tangle of lines with a house size piece of fabric, add a pole in to the mix and almost like magic as you sail around the mark, a beautiful big spinnaker suddenly floats out the front of the boat, and you take off like a rocket.
When it all goes to plan, flying a spinnaker is a beautiful thing, a symphony of team work, combined with the elements to get a pretty piece of fabric to propel a boat weighing many tonnes through the water at high speed.
It also has the potential to go very wrong. The lines can easily get tangled around about a million different things, just about all of the rest of the at least six crew all have a crucial part to play, just one mistake in the chain, or an unexpected big gust of wind and you have a big cock-up on your hands, and the potential for a very expensive sail to get trashed very quickly.
(this photo isn’t of us by the way, but we have had many kite cock-ups in our time!)
So nearly two years ago I met a cute guy. I had been single for a long time and was quite happy on my own. “I’ve done a bit of sailing, but not for about 10 years” he said to me when we met.
“Oh yeah?” I said. I’d heard this one before, and so didn’t like to get my hopes up too soon. So I invited him out for a sail on the next twilight race a week later.
We were short crewed that night. But it was a pleasant enough evening, and we were sailing around the course having a beer, when this new guy said “Shall I put the kite up?” (The kite by the way is a slang word for spinnaker)
This will be interesting… I thought. So away he goes, runs all the lines, clips everything on, and then suddenly ‘voila!’ up pops the bright pink kite!
It’s fair to say I was very impressed! In fact, in hindsight I reckon it was love at first kite!
After sailing, he disappeared down below and then emerged with ‘just a little something he had prepared for us to eat’
That settled it. Love at first bite! The cynical single girl was hooked, and just as well too, because not only is he a great bowman, and can cook, but he can also tie knots, fix things, splice ropes and do a million other wonderful things, and he is also the loveliest person I know and I feel like the luckiest girl on earth.
As I know the value of a good bowman, I lend him out on special occasions, for example, this weekend he is in Wellington sailing on Flying Machine in the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club Regatta. I am expecting I will get him back all tired, battered and bruised, after a 3 day regatta flying kites in 40 kts yesterday. This is the life of the girlfriend of a rockstar bowman. You have to be prepared for him to disappear off to regattas all over the place. But don’t worry Andrew, I will stay behind and work and stuff like that…
Thanks http://www.livesaildie.com for the fantastic photos! Craig also featured in an interview on their blog:
Looks like a good weekend had by all. I look forward to hearing some results soon, and getting my rockstar bowman back tonight.
And here is another rockstar bowman – my friend Pagey. Added here especially for my friend Kirsten xxx