Email from Matthew Schussler

Subject: West Coast bound


Dear Sailing Amigos and Amigas,

I never dreamed my life would require so many moves, but alas, I’m off on another adventure as of the New Year. People are starting to suspect I’m in the witness protection program.

As you might appreciate, I’m pretty excited about sailing the SFO bay again. Yes it’s quite chilly, but you never have to look for breeze.

Now, you won’t find me here or here or but I can dream!

Instead, try…

If ever I were to choose one for BEN “S.O.S.” EDKINS, it would have to be or better yet

But one day I do honestly hope you’ll see me here

I don’t intend to leave anyone out, but I did want to take a moment to thank each of the people here individually.

Ben…you are the man! Thanx for all the good times on Anago, and for your patient instruction. I’ll always think of you as the “Hawkeye Pierce” of the Strand. I wish you and Susan the very best in life. Life, love, and laugh as you always have and take my word for it, your best years are yet ahead of you, guaranteed. With your help, I now have colorful and imaginative innuendo in my vocabulary that I didn’t know existed before I came to “South Cackilacki”. I may have to visit the red light district in SFO just to hear that wailing trumpet music again. Remind Chapel to keep pouring her favorite cocktail…Gin & Tonic, light on the tonic. Thanx for introducing me to our Pusser’s tradition after racing. I must find one of those metal cups!

Jerry…(yeah, I know, no intended tie to “Ben”, e.g. “Ben & Jerry”). Thanx for being my sailing father figure. Thanx for all the corporate career advice, the cheap Scotch, good memories, and hospitality. Sorry I don’t golf worth a damn, but don’t hold that against me. A single guy like you has no excuses not to come visit us at The Bay, so you better either drive, fly, or better yet…sail…your ass out.

Patrick…thanx for the proper introduction to RC. I appreciate the hours you invested at your kitchen table helping this rookie grasp the purpose, importance, and scope of RC. Thanx for being French and always having fine wine, cheese, and bread in close proximity. Thanx for your sarcasm and desire for structured, proper racing. Thanx for having an exotic and beautiful wife. I could listen to the two of you speak French or watch you dance together all day long. We Americans can still learn much about romance and culture from you guys, we’re just too proud to come out and admit it. Say goodbye to Vincent and the gang at Beneteau for me.

Richard…thanx for being obnoxious in a most endearing way. It’s part of your charm J. Thanx for letting me be your RC boat slave (I think?). I’m still scraping fiberglass out of my arms from that damn committee boat. Thanx for keeping your cool when the throttle stuck and we did our “beach landing” on top of the dock. They say hot tempered people become amazing cool and focused in times of true crisis. You are testimony to that. After observing you under pressure, I could follow you into battle any time. I wish you the very best, but please don’t come to SFO ‘cause those “Left Coasters” might just throw your conservative Southern ass in the frigid Pacific never to be found again and I won’t be able to stop them.

Billy…you’re like my own elder brother. I knew I liked you the first time we met. I know you were a hippie in a former life. You are a paradox to me: 50% Rush Limbaugh, 50% Gandhi. Peace brother! I about died when I saw you on Discovery the other night. Kasey and I each jumped up from the couch and yelled, “Hey, that’s Billy!” Your stroke recovery is truly incredible. Take good care of yourself and don’t forget to look me up in California if you find yourself out my way. I also wouldn’t mind if you can escort me into a guest visit to the St. Francis YC. That wouldn’t suck. You and Connie behave, OK?

Angela…thanx you for reminding me, “Now THIS is a knife!” I hope you find your dreams in the Caribbean soon. Just be careful that you don’t carry too many firearms at one time. I’d hate for them to accuse you of arms smuggling.

Jeff…thanx for wearing the “I Like Boobies” shirt to our Cinco de Mayo party in 2005. We still talk about that, and so do our guests. You obviously haven’t learned how many Southern Baptists live in Florence yet, and obviously don’t care. We love it! You and Rene are a real hoot. Consider yourselves included on any future guest list we assemble. How bout Cinco de Cali next time, eh? Please post a video on You Tube of Rene mooning. We’ll see if we can pick her out of the lineup.

Breck…thanx for celebrating Christmas in July. I’ve never seen a more beautiful conifer, especially when it’s 98 degrees at Myrtle Beach. Thanx for being a 1-man social committee for LBSA. You and your fine cookin were the glue that held us together. Hope you figure out a way to convince Harley Davidson to build sailboats. I know a bunch of breeder-Boomers like you would eat that up. “And now ladies and gentlemen, a sailboat to scare the others at the marina while you head off in your black leather foulies.”

Hans…thanx for being my favorite illegal alien. Sorry I dropped your Visa in the water at Poo’s that night. INS finally quit calling me about you last month when I said you moved back to Minnesota. I guess they don’t pursue manhunts in the colder climate regions. Every millionaire I’ve ever met has said they took incredible risks and often lost it all before they made it big. Your risk tolerance is frightening, but I know it will pay off big for you one day. I fully expect to see you on some cheesy infomercial for some invention like the “Abdominal Terrorist – don’t just work your abs, torture them! For just five easy payments of $19.95”.

John…thanx for leading me through the process to become an official PRO. I figure when I show up being the “new guy” on the Bay, this credential will assist me in volunteering for RC and getting connected in a new club. You and Gracia are excellent instructors and very committed to the cause.

Joleen…thanx for being my PRO mentor and for the opportunity to train under you last spring. You and Eric are great human beings, and visiting your home is like going to a nature retreat. Few people I know have such peaceful and beautiful surroundings. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed my weekend with you two. Thanx for the good wine too. Come to CA and I’ll return the favor.

Mike Q…thanx for all your boating instruction through USPS. I love your delivery. To me you will always be the Bob Newhart of boating. Deadpan humor coupled with subtle sophistication which all too often flew above the heads of my classmates. I cannot count how many times I was trying not to giggle while those seated around me gave disapproving stares. I think you have a future in British comedies if you wish. I suggest you audition for “Are You Being Served?” on BBC. Oh yeah, and I are smarter now too. Don’t let the drunken PWC rednecks drive you away from boating altogether. If you ever want to rig a trip wire booby trap across the waterway, contact Angela above and she’ll hook you up for sure.

Mike H…thanx for all the hours with you and Andy on Charmer. She’s a fast little machine. I enjoyed all our time together. I’m pretty sure you have more racing hours logged than anyone I’ve met so far, and it shows. Keep good care of yourself and put in another 30 years. Enjoy your Oriental getaways every chance you can, as I know you already do.

Dwayne…thanx for inviting me to sail on the sexiest boat I’ve ever stepped onto. You and Crescendo have a promising, if not intimidating, future on the race course. Sorry I had to bow out, but I simply would have knocked the teeth out of you-know-who if I didn’t remove myself from that situation. The good news is the experience has inspired me to create a new bumper sticker: “Friends don’t let friends sail with assholes”

Last, but certainly not least, Captain Ron…in this work there are sailors, and there are SAILORS. You are the latter, to be sure. You just may have more blue water miles than Jacques Cousteau. I hope you find the woman, boat, and horizon of your dreams. Live life to the fullest. I know there is a capable, attractive sailing girl out there waiting to find you. Which leads me to…

Jennifer…thanx for showing me that it is actually possible to tie a knot that can be undone without hydraulic tools, that Anago wouldn’t sink even though Ben kept trying to prove otherwise, and “oh, that’s why they call them lifelines.” Hope Providence is working out. If not, bring your charter business to Wrightsville Beach, OK?

In an attempt at hopeless optimism, I’ve now got a new email address you can reach me at after the New Year:


Matthew “More Rum” Schuessler

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