I am, it has to be said, the sort of person who likes to stick to the rules: I get agitated if I cross the road before the Green Man is showing, and once thread a wobbly playing Snakes and Ladders with a bunch of four -year-olds – who absolutely inscribed on going up the snakes and down the ladders.
So it came as no surprise to the Sailing Fanatic when, after informing me of his plans for the Scottish Series, I took a look at Rule Four of The Reluctant Sailor's Ground Rules for Sailing. This provision – also known as the 'Fair's Fair' rule – provides:
'The Sailing Fanatic will match every week / weekend that the Reluctant Sailor spends sailing with a week / weekend somewhere warm, dry and comfortable – preferably abroad.'
But somehow, when faced with the prospect of numerous Sailing-Fanatic-free weekends – as he and his crew attempt to get in enough pre-race practice so that they at least look like they know what they are doing on a boat – Rule Four seems to be a little lacking. It makes no allowance for the aggravation of being left to entertain the kids / do all the boring stuff in the house for umpteen weekends in a row.
So, despite it goes against all my rule-sticking principles, and purely for the benefit of Reluctant Sailors world-wide, I have amended Rule Four slightly. As from today Rule Four (A) adds:
'The Sailing Fanatic will accept that it is a pain in the neck when it disappears for a day / weekend / week in preparation for and for the duration of any major sailing event and will compensate the Reluctant Sailor with a corresponding day / weekend / week somewhere warm, dry and comfortable – preferably abroad. '
In short, I inserted on a trip away.
But where did we go? What, you may well ask, could compare with a week of competitive sailing on the West coast of Scotland, in the company of friends, and assisted by good food, beer and hopefully (but not necessarily) sunshine?
The Sailing Fanatic recommended a trip overnight to Millport. Brave, but foolish words …
In the end we went to York. For a weekend. Without the kids.
Now I accept that this might not seem like a particular good deal to all you other Reluctant Sailors out there, but when you bear in mind that we needed babysitters (thank you again!); the Sailing Fanatic is also a Workaholic; and (the clincher) the sailing season is almost upon us and no anti-fouling has yet been applied to the boat …. well, it looked like a pretty good deal to me.
York was cold, but lovely. Lots to see, lots to do and lots of pubs to sit in.
It was in one of these – the Cross Keys, next to the Minster – that the Sailing Fanatic let slip his plans for the future: Cowes; Cork Week; the Round Ireland Race; Antigua Week and sailing round the world. He seemed quite surprised when I raised no objections.
But I was not thinking of sailing. I had my mind on Rule Four (A) and the sort of trip that could possibly compare to a Round the World yacht race.
I could go to Australia … and New Zealand … or how about Hong Kong … or even Moscow … or … hey! Why not do the whole lot!
Fair's fair, after all …