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Battling scurvy in the high seas, sort of

Post Independent Photo/Ryan Graff The captain of this unidentified boat probably wasnt in danger of scurvy as he sailed from San Diego Bay into the Pacific. He was lucky, as the author nearly succumbed to the disease the day he took to the seas.
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My mother was nearly killed in a mutiny during a high-seas adventure last month.We’d been lost at sea on the sailing vessel “Itsabout” for weeks and the crew was weary from being battered in the North Pacific. Scurvy started its slow strangle, and the captain was in danger of being keel-hauled. Actually, “nearly killed,” “high seas,” “mutiny,” and “scurvy” are slight exaggerations. And it wasn’t exactly weeks.

The truth is my mother, father and I had been sailing on San Diego Bay (the high seas) for most of an April afternoon (weeks) and we were returning to dock when my mom got her feet wet and a nasty bruise (nearly killed) after she slipped off the rail of the boat. She nearly got squished between the boat and the dock (the mutiny). All that, and I’d forgotten a lime for the Coronas (the scurvy).My visions of sailing, you see, had been set pretty high a month earlier when my dad called and asked that I come check out his boat, Itsabout. I was stuck in a funk that comes each spring after my skis take their summer wax and before the rivers start to rise, so the sailing invitation set my imagination running wild.And although the adventure didn’t quite live up to my imagination, sailing in San Diego turns out to be a pretty good way to spend the spring.

After all, even though it is an outdoor activity, it is only an outdoor activity in the sense that bowling is a sport.You don’t, for example, suffer any of the discomforts that come with many mountain outdoor activities. You spend a lot of time sitting down, drinking (in the case of the crew at least), eating and playing records. There are no slogs to 14,000 feet, blisters, frostbite, or dunks in icy rivers. Not only do you avoid discomfort, you can also do it right in the middle of a city like, say, San Diego, or Seattle, San Francisco or New York, and really feel like you are getting outside.



All that and you can learn all about boat culture. Those people are always scrubbing and polishing so much that it almost hurts your eyes to look at the white boats shine if the sun is out.The culture is to say nothing of the actual sailing, which takes a bit of practice, a bunch of skill and a ridiculous amount of new vocabulary, most of which means something else in real life.New meanings for port, tack, boom and sheet all helped keep me confused – especially sheet, because with those big white sails in the air that look pretty much like bed sheets, it was hard remember that sheet on the boat means, I think, rope. And now, even with the rivers running and the kayak season in nearly full swing, I’d love to risk another case of scurvy for a weekend sailing in San Diego.


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