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#1 Nov 21, 2017 11:33 am

New Historian
Active

A very short story (1)

Among the many things my father used to say was: great sailors are made at birth.  With this in mind, he had taken me on my first sailing trip when I was less than a twenty-four hours old, holding me aloft on the heaving foredeck of his wooden boat "War Cloud" as the salt spray washed over my tiny face.  By all accounts I was less than impressed.  My mother was livid.  I seemed to grow up on the sea.  I could swim before I could walk, and whereas most children mark their passage through adolescence by the acquisition of vehicles - tricycles, bicycles, motorcycles, cars - my upbringing was punctuated by the mastery of boats.  Hardly surprising in an island whose inhabitants depend almost entirely on the sea for their livelihood. 

    My mother's brother, Uncle Quilly, was a Carriacou boatbuilder, one of a fast-disappearing breed of craftsmen who designed and built beautiful wooden boats in the traditional style of the Grenadine Islands.  These are not pleasure craft.  They are built for a lifetime of fishing and inter-island trading.  Hard working boats.  They have to be strong, reliable and above all, fast.  When I was five my uncle made me my first boat, a little mirror dinghy with eyes painted on either side of the bow.  I proudly sailed her in the protected bays and lagoons around Carriacou, under the watchful eyes of the local fishermen who taught me the finer points of boat handling.  By the time I was ten years old I had outgrown my little mirror, and didn't stop begging Uncle Quilly until he made a bigger one, a 15-foot 'two-bow' with a proper sailing rig.  This one I christened "Mosquito" because it was small, fast and would soon be pestering the larger boats against whom I would be racing at every available opportunity. 

    Every society has its sporting passion, its national pastime.  England has its football, America its baseball, the Caribbean its cricket.  But for tiny Carriacou, bereft of football fields or cricket pitches (baseball was unheard of), its sporting mania is sailboat racing.  Fishermen race every day of their lives.  To be the first out in the morning, first to reach the best fishing grounds, first to market.  Even when they aren't racing, they will race.  It is steeped in their blood.  My boat just has to be faster than yours.  The inevitable rivalries would often be settled on impromptu Sunday races, accompanied by heavy betting by the contestants and their crews.  It was the best entertainment on the island, and children would jockey for position on the most favoured boats.  Mistakes were not tolerated, rewarded by a quick slap around the head with the first thing that came to hand.  The big event of the year, when all scores would be settled and bragging rights established, was the Carriacou Regatta, which featured round-the-island races of the local workboats as well as the fancy foreign yachts.

Here is where us locals show them white people how to sail…

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#2 Nov 21, 2017 11:43 am

Real Distwalker
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Re: A very short story (1)

Well, my daughter won't be showing up in Grenada, NH.  She has just taken a job as a deckhand on a yacht that cruises between Baja, Mexico and Vancouver, BC.   Different waters.

My children and I all sail.  That's something for a people from a land a thousand miles from the sea.

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#3 Nov 21, 2017 11:47 am

New Historian
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Re: A very short story (1)

Ah well she'll just have to save Greenz for another day - I'm sure you've regaled her with "war" and other stories! When I lived in Zimbabwe I really felt the loss of the sea. They have Lake Kariba that you can sail on, but the damn thing's packed with crocs!

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#4 Nov 21, 2017 11:51 am

Real Distwalker
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Re: A very short story (1)

Nah, I don't do war stories much.  I prefer to talk about Grenada food, drink, music, style, culture and so forth.  Frankly, I have made enough trips to Grenada since then that those memories from the 80s are largely eclipsed by the new Grenada images in my mind.

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#5 Nov 21, 2017 2:30 pm

New Historian
Active

Re: A very short story (1)

"I prefer to talk about Grenada food, drink, music, style, culture and so forth." That's actually what I meant lol. If you haven't been, next time you go you must go one night to Sep's bar (Nimrod's Rum Shop, on Facebook) in Woburn, often impromptu music nights from the dozens of yachties that live in the bay, great vibe!

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#6 Nov 21, 2017 3:57 pm

GMW
Active

Re: A very short story (1)

New Historian wrote:

Among the many things my father used to say was: great sailors are made at birth.  With this in mind, he had taken me on my first sailing trip when I was less than a twenty-four hours old, holding me aloft on the heaving foredeck of his wooden boat "War Cloud" as the salt spray washed over my tiny face.  By all accounts I was less than impressed.  My mother was livid.  I seemed to grow up on the sea.  I could swim before I could walk, and whereas most children mark their passage through adolescence by the acquisition of vehicles - tricycles, bicycles, motorcycles, cars - my upbringing was punctuated by the mastery of boats.  Hardly surprising in an island whose inhabitants depend almost entirely on the sea for their livelihood. 

    My mother's brother, Uncle Quilly, was a Carriacou boatbuilder, one of a fast-disappearing breed of craftsmen who designed and built beautiful wooden boats in the traditional style of the Grenadine Islands.  These are not pleasure craft.  They are built for a lifetime of fishing and inter-island trading.  Hard working boats.  They have to be strong, reliable and above all, fast.  When I was five my uncle made me my first boat, a little mirror dinghy with eyes painted on either side of the bow.  I proudly sailed her in the protected bays and lagoons around Carriacou, under the watchful eyes of the local fishermen who taught me the finer points of boat handling.  By the time I was ten years old I had outgrown my little mirror, and didn't stop begging Uncle Quilly until he made a bigger one, a 15-foot 'two-bow' with a proper sailing rig.  This one I christened "Mosquito" because it was small, fast and would soon be pestering the larger boats against whom I would be racing at every available opportunity. 

    Every society has its sporting passion, its national pastime.  England has its football, America its baseball, the Caribbean its cricket.  But for tiny Carriacou, bereft of football fields or cricket pitches (baseball was unheard of), its sporting mania is sailboat racing.  Fishermen race every day of their lives.  To be the first out in the morning, first to reach the best fishing grounds, first to market.  Even when they aren't racing, they will race.  It is steeped in their blood.  My boat just has to be faster than yours.  The inevitable rivalries would often be settled on impromptu Sunday races, accompanied by heavy betting by the contestants and their crews.  It was the best entertainment on the island, and children would jockey for position on the most favoured boats.  Mistakes were not tolerated, rewarded by a quick slap around the head with the first thing that came to hand.  The big event of the year, when all scores would be settled and bragging rights established, was the Carriacou Regatta, which featured round-the-island races of the local workboats as well as the fancy foreign yachts.

Here is where us locals show them white people how to sail…


Nice:

Have you seen "Vanishing Sails"? You should.

I was bound to watch it from start to finish to avoid being relegated to the Dog house for days; (Windward folks take great pride in their culture and family). I enjoyed watching it so much, I even gave it a re-run with the fellows when she was out the house.

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#7 Nov 21, 2017 4:19 pm

New Historian
Active

Re: A very short story (1)

I'm dying to watch it, if you have a link I will but I can't find it anywhere.

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#8 Nov 21, 2017 4:32 pm

GMW
Active

Re: A very short story (1)

My old lady has DVD's she's helping them sell. I'll find out about a link for you.

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#9 Nov 21, 2017 7:12 pm

New Historian
Active

Re: A very short story (1)

GMW wrote:

My old lady has DVD's she's helping them sell. I'll find out about a link for you.

Thanks, would be much appreciated!

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#10 Nov 21, 2017 8:18 pm

Dancer
Active

Re: A very short story (1)

New Historian wrote:

Among the many things my father used to say was: great sailors are made at birth.  With this in mind, he had taken me on my first sailing trip when I was less than a twenty-four hours old, holding me aloft on the heaving foredeck of his wooden boat "War Cloud" as the salt spray washed over my tiny face.  By all accounts I was less than impressed.  My mother was livid.  I seemed to grow up on the sea.  I could swim before I could walk, and whereas most children mark their passage through adolescence by the acquisition of vehicles - tricycles, bicycles, motorcycles, cars - my upbringing was punctuated by the mastery of boats.  Hardly surprising in an island whose inhabitants depend almost entirely on the sea for their livelihood. 

    My mother's brother, Uncle Quilly, was a Carriacou boatbuilder, one of a fast-disappearing breed of craftsmen who designed and built beautiful wooden boats in the traditional style of the Grenadine Islands.  These are not pleasure craft.  They are built for a lifetime of fishing and inter-island trading.  Hard working boats.  They have to be strong, reliable and above all, fast.  When I was five my uncle made me my first boat, a little mirror dinghy with eyes painted on either side of the bow.  I proudly sailed her in the protected bays and lagoons around Carriacou, under the watchful eyes of the local fishermen who taught me the finer points of boat handling.  By the time I was ten years old I had outgrown my little mirror, and didn't stop begging Uncle Quilly until he made a bigger one, a 15-foot 'two-bow' with a proper sailing rig.  This one I christened "Mosquito" because it was small, fast and would soon be pestering the larger boats against whom I would be racing at every available opportunity. 

    Every society has its sporting passion, its national pastime.  England has its football, America its baseball, the Caribbean its cricket.  But for tiny Carriacou, bereft of football fields or cricket pitches (baseball was unheard of), its sporting mania is sailboat racing.  Fishermen race every day of their lives.  To be the first out in the morning, first to reach the best fishing grounds, first to market.  Even when they aren't racing, they will race.  It is steeped in their blood.  My boat just has to be faster than yours.  The inevitable rivalries would often be settled on impromptu Sunday races, accompanied by heavy betting by the contestants and their crews.  It was the best entertainment on the island, and children would jockey for position on the most favoured boats.  Mistakes were not tolerated, rewarded by a quick slap around the head with the first thing that came to hand.  The big event of the year, when all scores would be settled and bragging rights established, was the Carriacou Regatta, which featured round-the-island races of the local workboats as well as the fancy foreign yachts.

Here is where us locals show them white people how to sail…



.................................

Ah , come New Historian , your  talent is clear .


.... but I still won't call you ... a short story writer.
From secondary school , if I  remember clearly     .........Beginning .... middle .... and ending = a short story.
Maybe the teacher would be able to say ' Dancer you are way out to lunch' sad.lol.



But a playboy ?  .... maybe. lmao.

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