Hello, I'm Henry.  

Welcome aboard my blog's home. 

If you come along with me, you'll become acquainted with my motley mates and faithful crew:

Experiences, Sightings, Observations, Impressions, Ideas, Reflections, Remembrances, Insights and Commentary.

They, after all, have accompanied me for as long as I can recall. Their tenure has helped me turn my tiller, fill my sails, and transport me over seas to distant lands. Maybe if you take the time to get to know them, a few will do the same for you.

Click this way and scroll along if you please...Enjoy your stay.   

Balancing Acts

Balancing Acts

Human Listings

Make a list of what is really important to you. Embody it.
— ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn - Wherever You Go, There You Are - Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life

Sailboats often appear to sail fastest when they heel or lean over.  But this is not true; in fact, the more a hull lists the more it drags rather than flows through the water.  Every sailboat moves slower the more it leans, lists or heels.  So, like life, the more balanced a boat, the easiest it is for the hull to travel through seas.  and most efficiently when they are balanced. 

When winds blow, they sails fill. When they fill, sailboats tend to heal. And crew moves to the high side in an effort to balance a hull. As a boat leans, weight Leaning out is leaning over.

Lists often sway us. They tend to influence us on which way we are going to proceed. They tend to reveal our leaning one way or the other. For instance, a list of what the Republicans have done to obstruct government. A list of how Democrat-lead programs are wasting money. A list of Obama’s broken promises. A list of his accomplishments. But most lists often tend to be subjective because their criteria is personal and leaning or listing in a certain direction.

I know when I write out a list of chores or groceries, I feel like I've set some worthwhile goals. I also feel as if I have committed myself to accomplish these tasks. And while this sets my intention in motion, it also places some pressure on me.  It's like a promise I have made with myself. A list always leans me forward to move faster to that completion. But unlike any listing momentum I make towards my intended goal, a sailboat's listing makes the boat move slower to its next destination.

Anything on a list carries some weight.

Listing is all about balancing weight.

Boat Listings:

Both "list" and "heel" refer to the lean or tilt in a boat or ship. "List" is a tendency for a boat to lean due to some forces related to an imbalance in internal weight distribution. "Heel", on the other hand, is usually used to refer to the leaning of a sailboat as a result of the force of the external wind forces of wind, waves and current.

Someone dressed "well-healed" balancing a heeled keel.

When I generate a list, I am usually preparing to buy, build or complete. I usually write all the items out on a post-it so I won’t overlook or forget them. People, of course, make lists to prioritize, stay aware, view options, brainstorm all the possibilities, problem-solve, weigh pros / cons benefits / drawbacks or look at all the options.

Boats are listed for sale or charter. But any yacht, ship or sailing vessel is "listing" when it is leaning over, heeling to one side or the other. When this happens, it usually suggests the craft’s weight distribution is off center, out of kilter, unbalanced, and potentially dangerous. As a result any tilt too far to one side, threatens to flounder, even capsize and founder the boat.

While listing affects stability, it also impacts upon course direction, comfort, speed. As important as these factors are it is how well-balanced the skipper is that really makes the most difference. The captain's mental stability, his perceptions, his judgments and his competency are essential to keeping a boat balanced. Without a sober head and thorough understanding of these factors, any skipper may weigh his or her movements incorrectly with dire consequences.. Balance within a ship and its sailors can be everything on a boat.

Severe weather conditions often make the sea challenging. But countless tales over the centuries recorded history of ships being overladen with cargo or with poorly stowed  stores, ships running aground, crews' panicking or abandoning ship, leaving a hatch open, ship captains' mis-communicating, panicking or misjudging a situation. A long list of mishaps contributing to a series of disasters or close calls.

A tippy canoe with two leaners

Sailors know about heeling. 
In small sailboat racing, balancing your boat plays an integral role in winning a race.

Heel (N):

  1. the back part of the foot; 
  2. a scoundrel, a dishonorable man, a cad
  3. one of the crusty ends of a loaf of bread
  4. Nautical:
  5. a. the lower end of a mast.
  1. b. The after end of a ship's keel.
  1. c. leaning over, hull is listing to one side or the other

Heel (V):

  1. To tilt to one side
  2. a command for a dog to follow

Heal (V):

  1. to become healthy, whole or sound again.
  2. to cleanse, clear or purify

Because heeling and healing are related to listing and leaning, they often cause confusion. Homophones or sound a-likes can be easily mis-spelled, as well as mis-spoken or misinterpreted. "We're healing after our collision with the other boat." might mean "We're heeling precariously after our collision with the other boat."

Here's a list of some of the most obvious heelers:

  1. A boat feels like it is going faster when it is heeled over.
  2. Heel causes drag and slows down a boat's velocity. 
  3. The deeper the hull is in the water, the more resistance and the slower a boat will move.
  4. Depending on the point of sail, a slight heel or a flatter hull often improves speed.
  5. The more a boat heels, the more pressure on the rudder and the less steerage.
  6. A flat surface keel will have less resistance yet more speed.
  7. The further a boat heels to one side, the less rudder is submerged in the water. 
  8. The less rudder in the water, the more difficult steering.
  9. Hiking crew are aren't attempting to keep their feet or trousers dry. 
  10. Crew want to keep the boat balanced and flat so it will sail faster and have more steerage.
  11. Crew balances the wind and wave forces with their weight to windward.

So listing often speeds up movement, but not always for boats afloat.

Life-saving lists:

  • to-do
  • must-see
  • grocery shopping
  • wish
  • Christmas shopping
  • Santa's naughty and nice
  • New Year's Resolutions
  • NY Times bestsellers
  • top 10 or 100 anything
  • laundry
  • bucket
  • priority
  • mailing list
  • house-for-sale 
  • black-listed 
  • short
  • do-not-call
  • shit  

Balancing is an listing act. 

Boats are a balancing act not unlike life. While keeping one's boat afloat is essential so too is balancing one's being: thoughts, emotions, behaviors, choices, health, relationships, priorities not to mention our expenses and checkbook.

He supports both of them while she provides balance and comfort.

Balancing is challenging with so many forces at work around us. For stability, speed and steerage, placement of cargo, stores, ballast and crew are important.

Listing suggests a boat is out of balance. A boat's listing may be caused by something above or below the surface. Certainly a causal list exists for any vessel's listing:

  • waves
  • wind
  • weight equilibrium shift
  • poorly distributed weight
  • water breaching the hull and flooding 
  • grounding
  • a course perpendicular to natural forces
  • human perception
  • human error  

While listing for some is balancing to others. What appears precarious to some, seems to natural movement to others. What is fearful for some might be exciting for others. What appears normal for some is abnormal for others. What is accepted as part of the experience by the sailor could be rejected by the landlubber.

Taking one side of an issue. Many a disaster has occurred because people were too oblivious to realize something is out of balance.

History is full of unconscious and unsuspecting lemmings being lead over the cliff or over the falls. Without launching into numerous historical examples, what really matters is how each of us views the world around us, how we see ourselves and others and how we balance our beings with those perceptions. Life is after all a balancing act. Some of us will heel over (or heal over) to determine our destiny; while others of us will be listless in our course direction and destination. 

Why can’t somebody give us a list of things that everybody thinks and nobody says, and another list of things that everybody says and nobody thinks?
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

List-ening or leaning toward another for understanding is often healing while not listening or understanding often causes an unstable heeling in a relationship. You determine what needs balancing.

Sea Room

Sea Room