When I first started getting back into sailing and into cruising I learned about the “Pay It Forward” philosophy. For those that don’t know what paying it forward is about, it is doing a good deed for someone and asking them to repay the good deed to someone else down the road. In the sailing/cruising community you see it in helping others with engine troubles or sail rigging or mechanical systems where you might have some knowledge to help and in return all you ask is they help fellow sailors when given the opportunity and knowledge.
One of the areas this happens to me the most is when new owners are trying to bend on their sails and rig the boat. Instead of just walking by at the dock, I will stop and help correct problems and get the boat set up to sail. Often people will offer a couple of bucks for the help but the only thing I ever take is a cold beer. I tell them just to help the next guy they see in need of some assistance. Pay it forward.
This year we have a new boat on the dock. A Catalina 30 (1987 MK II) with a nice couple on it. They are getting back into sailing after some years away from it to raise their kids. We saw them fighting to get the sails on and my friend Chris and I went down to help them. Chris has a 1989 Catalina 30 so we are very familiar with the sails on this boat. After getting the headsail up, I noticed that the top swivel was sticking and that the pendent was too short resulting in the jib halyard wrapping around the top of the forestay/foil. So down the sail came. Back to my boat for my spare can of McLube (love that stuff) and a quick trip to the hardware store and we had a new pendant. Sails up and working correctly. They thanked us for the help, offered us some money that we refused and were very happy to be able to get out sailing the next day.
This weekend I was working on a couple of little boat projects and the guy who owned the Catalina comes walking up with a dock cart. He leaves a case of beer on my boat.
It turns out he is a craft beer distributor. This case came from his personal collection of beer he likes. I put a couple in the refer Sunday morning and we cracked them while sailing. Great stuff. Perfect beer on a humid afternoon sail.
So the pay it forward philosophy paid a nice little dividend by making friends with a guy with good beer connections. Just the type of friends I like having.