Choose life… Offshore

“Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a f…ing big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin can openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of f…ing fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the f… you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing f…ing junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, f…ed-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life . . . “
Trainspotting – Irvine Welsh 1993

Choose life Mr. Renton?

Perhaps mate, but choose life OFFSHORE! Choose your first ISORA of the season, first in nearly eight months. Choose a seasonal baptism of fire. Choose all inshore racing being cancelled but offshore lunatics hanging tough. Choose offshore – real boats race offshore!

Choose to welcome new competitors. Choose a course change to Wicklow outfall rather than North India as forecast not great. Choose 38 miles now not 50. Choose a steady 35, gusting 40 knots southerly. Choose wind against tide for a big sloppy sea. Choose Stugeron, reluctantly. Choose a beat into that angry sloppy sea for four hours.

Choose Yahtzee, an Oceannis 411. Choose a new jib and a new main. Choose new snazzy rigging. Choose a new backstay tensioner – on an Oceannis 411? Choose to raise an eyebrow, Roger Moore like. Choose a new investment budget, obviously. Choose a new attitude and new ambition, clearly. Choose double reef in main and smaller furled jib. Choose Predict Wind tracker – I predict trouble. Choose 15 boats heading out to the start line. Choose missing the start whilst trying to actually gain control of boat. Choose 4 early retirees. Choose one boat with a ripped mainsail, one with engine trouble and two with crew debilitated by severe sea sickness. Choose sea sickness on most remaining competitors – Jedi with one laid low, Elandra with two and Yahtzee not wanting to be left out also with two.

Choose new sexy Musto MPX gear which works brilliantly but still can’t stop water rushing up your leg to fill your boot if ever that situation presented itself. Choose a skipper on the helm who early on continually puts the leeward rail under water as you grind the jib so you get multiple episodes of a Henri Lloyd Goretex boot full of Dublin Bay seawater. Choose marinading toes for seven hours, grumpily. Choose for good measure a couple of shots of water down the back of the neck, pissed offedly. Choose in future to unfurl Musto hood from jacket collar before said shots down back of neck, wisely. Choose a dry suit, as next birthday present. Do not choose to be wet and miserable before reaching the Muglins as it’s going to be a long day. Do not choose to be seasick (not me thank God). Choose to notice just in the nick of time that young maiden voyage teenage crew member who is sitting UPWIND of you is about to spew. Choose moving upwind of him on the rail.  

Choose a reach back to Dun Laoghaire. Choose surfing all the way home. Choose exhilaration. Choose 14.3 knots on a floating hotel. Choose to raise the other eyebrow, Roger Moore like. Choose to ponder that if both eyebrows are now raised Roger Moore like then you may very well look Botoxed. Choose a very big and fast X boat, Dux, out of Howth taking line honours and overall victory in her maiden ISORA. Choose to imitate Ross O Carroll Kelly by thinking “fair focks.” Choose J109 Ruth pushing her all the way. Choose watching Ruth bravely hoist kite half way home. Choose reluctantly to get ours out of the locker. Choose prudently to put ours straight back in again on noticing Ruth’s drama up ahead. Choose to admire sea sick crew member who went varying shades of green over seven hours, threw up continually but never once complained. Choose to respect all 11 finishers. Choose to notice broken forestay on trying to furl jib when back in harbour. Choose to give skipper wide berth until he calms down. Choose Bulmers cider x 2 bottles in NYC après sail. Choose to be pissed off when results declare we were beaten by Kuba (again!) by only two minutes for our class and fleet. Choose DART home. Do not choose to get violently sick as you walk in the door of your castle. Choose to Google “getting sea sick 4 hours after the event”. Expect to be asked to choose “Stugeron / seven hours in nasty offshore slop / two bottles Bulmers cider = not a great idea in hindsight.”

Choose life. Choose to understand that life is full of choices. Choose to do it all over again next weekend. Choose offshore because you are stone mad and a glutton for punishment.

Simon Byrne - Yahtzee May 2014


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