Musings on a man's inadequacies


A moment’s innocent web browsing has brought home to me my inadequacies as a yachtsman – and, come to think of it, as a man.

I gave up drink for January. I also grew a beard. I told people that I would shave off the beard when I had a drink and it proved useful motivation to keep on the wagon. I was proud of my beard. It was thick and manly. At some strange level it felt that by not drinking and by growing a beard I had achieved something in the first month of the year.

And then I ruined it all by looking at Alex Thomson’s website. There was a picture of the 33-year-old offshore yachtsman – and look! He had a beard just like mine. My self worth dwindled and died at that moment as I realised that the similarities ended there.

In January I had grown a beard and not drank. Full stop. The end.

In January Alex Thomson had grown a beard and not drank. He had also raced at break-neck speeds, two-handed across the freezing, gale-whipped Southern Ocean and around Cape Horn in an Open 60. Alex’s beard and sobriety were a by-product of his extreme ocean racing. Mine, pathetically, were an end in themselves.

Next January I shall give up drinking and shaving again. Oh – and I’ll give up the internet too.