Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nothing Is Lost

My very good friend Carp Ferrari sent this to me today from her farm in Natick, MA.:

"Nothing Is Lost"

Deep in our sub-conscious, we are told
Lie all our memories, lie all the notes
Of all the music we have ever heard
And all the phrases those we loved have spoken,
Sorrows and losses time has since consoled,
Family jokes, out-moded anecdotes
Each sentimental souvenir and token
Everything seen, experienced, each word
Addressed to us in infancy, before
Before we could even know or understand
The implications of our wonderland.
There they all are, the legendary lies
The birthday treats, the sights, the sounds, the tears
Forgotten debris of forgotten years
Waiting to be recalled, waiting to rise
Before our world dissolves before our eyes
Waiting for some small, intimate reminder,
A word, a tune, a known familiar scent
An echo from the past when, innocent
We looked upon the present with delight
And doubted not the future would be kinder
And never knew the loneliness of night.
-Noel Coward, from "Noel Coward Collected Verse",
Metheuen Publishing Ltd.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Barcelona World Race

Ahoy Mateys! Since November 11, 2007, I have been receiving and reading with great interest the daily briefings concerning The Barcelona World Race, a new two-handed, non-stop round-the-world yacht race, to be held every four years. For the first time, this race involves the world's best professional sailors from both solo and fully crewed disciplines coming together to compete against each other in teams of two.

The sailors race onboard Open 60 boats [60-foot monohulls], the same boats that are raced in the solo Vendée Globe. There are photographs of these beautifully sleek vessels here. You can sign up for the daily briefings if you wish. Click "Teams" to see photos.

I haven't any real interest in sailing, yachts or yachtsmen (although I admit I don't really know any). I'm not a good sailor: there's much too much mal in the mer. In fact, I can't remember when I heard of this colossal endeavor in the first place, but now I'm hooked. Lately, the boats in the lead have encountered ice bergs the size of Connecticut. They report heavy seas, bone-chilling temperatures, sail damage requiring repairs in spite of towering waves, bumping into unknown objects in the night (it must be comforting to know they are not entirely alone out there), and all the other thoroughly mind-boggling efforts each team is exerting in order to be the first yacht to finish.

Here on day 59, PAPREC VIRBAC 2 with Jean-Pierre (FRA) and Damian Foxall (IRE), is closing in on Cape Horn, and as the leading boat in the Barcelona World Race, has just over 500 more miles to run before reaching the great southern Cape. Cape Horn has great significance to any round-the-world sailor, and it's no different in the Barcelona World Race. In fact, in this race, it also marks the next scoring gate in the race as well. The yacht I'm cheering for just because I really like the name is HUGO BOSS with Alex Thompson (GBR) and Andrew Cape (AUS) sailing 1022 miles behind PV2.

Not surprising, I find reports of these high-seas adventures bracingly refreshing contrasts to anything I will read in today's newspaper.