High on a hill sits the Tillerman. The Tillerman is the “granddaddy of sailing bloggers.” That’s saying a lot, because when it comes to wind powered watercraft blogs, sailboating blogs are way bigger than windsurfing blogs. They’re the big dogs. And the Tillerman is the big cheese.
(I asked the Peconic Puffin art department for an illustration of an enormous piece of cheese, surrounded by large dogs, at whose feet were little windsurfing bloggers banging away at their computers. As of press time the art has not yet arrived.)
Anyway, high on a hill sits the Tillerman. The Peconic Puffin is grateful to the Tillerman, not simply because he does not squash us like a blug, but because in his magnanimity he has listed the Puffin in the latest of his annual lists of worthy blogs.
Sometimes from his hill the Tillerman hands down assignments. The Puffin has never to our recollection actually turned one in, but as we’re entering the home stretch of 2008 it seems like a good time to appease the granddaddy on his hill. We aspire to his 2009 list, and though our worthiness is in doubt, we can still suck up and fawn with the best of them.
Thus asks the Tillerman: “What innovation, new idea, or invention has been most significant for the sport of sailing or has contributed most to your enjoyment of it?” He even offered up some suggestions. To play it safe (and because I agree with it) I’m going with:
“Mr. Darby's idea for using a handheld sail mounted on a universal joint to steer a sailing craft.”
I hereby give the Tillerman (and y’all) three reasons why it (the component that allows windsurfing to be) most contributed to my enjoyment of sailing:
Reason #1: Apartment dwellers can own a windsurfer, and store it in their tiny homes. I was thirteen when I first sailed in a Sunfish. I was instantly enthralled by sailing, but no small boat was going to be kept in the apartment we lived in, and even though I grew up near the water, there was no place for me to store a boat that I could afford. A zillion years later, my parents actually let me stash a board in my bedroom. Windsurfing allows me to sail.
Reason #2: In windsurfing, the sailor is part of the craft. We are part of the rigging. The sail transmits its power to the boat through three points: Mr. Darby’s beloved universal joint, and the windsurfer’s two legs. The board can not sail without us…not for a second. The sailing magic passes through us.
Reason #3: Windsurfing is affordable. Nobody ever says that a windsurfing board is a hole in the water into which money is thrown.
Here ends my humble offering to the Tillerman on the hill. Other sailing stuff considered as the greatest (including such venerable items as marinetex, the figure-eight knot, and beer) can be read about on the Tillerman’s blog.