Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mind Your Fingers and Toes

Before moving aboard Sea Gem, I didn't know how to sail. I had been sailing a few times before (mostly when I was really young), but in no way did these excursions result in me having obtained any useful sailing skills.

Despite not knowing how to sail, the concept of sailing didn't require explaining. I get it--the wind blows from a direction, a sail is used to harness the wind, and the boat moves in a predictable(ish) direction. Sailing has been around since at least the early part of the stone age, and the basics really haven't changed all that much--it's not rocket science. While an understanding of the theory behind sailing doesn't make one equipped to command a ship (particularly a large modern ship), I've found that, like with most things in life, you can get by on a boat by using common sense.

One of the earliest pieces of advice I was given before heading out for my first sail was "don't put your hands near the winches." Although I often mistakenly refer to "winches" as "wenches," no one needed to tell me not to stick my fingers near them. While I certainly appreciated the warning, common sense already told me that touching taut ropes--particularly ones wrapped tightly around objects appearing to have the ability to rotate--wasn't a good idea.

Well, while flipping through one of our many sailing magazines, I noticed an advertisement, which made me think that perhaps people do need to be told not to play with the winches:


If you look closely at the ad, you'll notice what appears to be the foot of a man and of a woman playfully entwined within a line, which is wrapped haphazardly around a winch. I guess this image is supposed to evoke feelings of whimsy and romance, but to me it looks like a great way to lose a foot (or at least a toe). Just imagine what would happen if this winch (especially if it's an electric winch) were to start rotating at full speed. Ouch!

But even if there were no chance of this winch turning, this sort of foot play is still incredibly idiotic when you consider that the boat in the ad is clearly sailing near shore (note the lighthouse)--probably not the best time to be tied up! Even I, a novice sailor, know that everything happening in this ad is a bad idea.

As far as advertisements go, I suppose this is a good one because it certainly got my attention. And while I'm guessing the marketer who conceived this ad doesn't sail, I hope that--for the sake of feet everywhere--those who do, don't engage in this masochistic game of footsie.

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