Machines and sailing do not seem right together for a hobby that prides itself on pitting man against the elements, experience against the strength of wind and wave, sailing is still heavily dependent on machines, as I discovered when we launched the boat earlier this month.
Walking through yachts stored in cradles during the winter always makes me feel small, but the size and scale of the cranes and hoists trundling around them is enough to make you feel like an ant.
They creep around steadily; a crane lifting its head to position a mast here; a hoist sweeping round a boat, ready to take it to the water, there.
Of course, this is the busy time of year, when boat owners are queuing up to have their boats launched. But even so, on the few days it took us to complete the scrubbing, polishing and general tidying up of Sea-Dreamer, there was a sense that wherever you turned, there was a machine rumbling along, or winching something or beeping madly.
We had a lot of the beeping on Sea-Dreamer, for the Sailing Fanatic, notionally on holiday, had brought along his BlackBerry.
This little gadget, beloved of businessmen and workaholics, combines mobile phone, internet connection, email and, I'm sure, 100 other useful functions.
It is small, tiny enough to slip into the top pocket of the Sailing Fanatic's fleece, and beeps discreetly whenever there is a message, phone, text or email that may or may not require instant attention.
The Sailing Fanatic loves it, for it allows him to be in constant touch with the office/clients/weather forecasts wherever he is, and regardless of what he is doing.
It is not so great for everyone else, as it means that the Sailing Fanatic is constantly disappearing to deal with urgent phone calls or emails.
But even without the BlackBerry, the Sailing Fanatic has enough gadgets on board Sea-Dreamer to keep him happy.
There's the engine, of course. And the GPS. And the depth thingy, and the wind speedometer, and the electronic helm, and the radio, and - newest of all - the electronic bilge pump, lovingly installed by the Sailing Fanatic over the winter.
It was one of the first things he checked after the boat had been gingerly lowered back into the water, and motored round to our new berth.
We all stood on deck for the inaugural push of the bilge button and watched as, without effort, water spurted out from the back of the boat.
The Sailing Fanatic was so excited that he leaned right out over the railing to see the results of his labours.
It was then that we all heard a soft 'plunk!' as something fell out of his top fleece pocket and into the water.
It was the Blackberry, shining silver in the darkness as it gently wafted its way down towards the mud at the bottom of the marina.
'Oh, no!' said the girls.
'Oh *%&*!!!' said the Sailing Fanatic.
'Oh, dear!' said I.
Helen MacKenzie is a freelance writer. More articles can be found at www.sea-dreamer.com
Article Source: Ezine Articles by Helen MacKenzie