If – it’s too good not to share.

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs, when jockeying for the gun.

If you can trust your watch and trust your judgment

As time ticks by – ten, six, four, three, two, one.


If you can sail to windward with your eyes shut

Yet keep each foot of canvas nicely full.

If you can take advantage of each free puff

But keep her full and moving through the lull.


If you can know the Rule Book backwards

And sail to win but always play the game

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two imposters just the same.


If you can walk with Lasers and with Picos

And yet not lose the common touch

If you can give way to a Hobie

And not hate the fellow – much


If you can get the jib in when it’s blowing

Although your hands are blistered and red raw.

If you can bail, and bail, and go on bailing,

Although the whole estuary is slopping round the floor


If you can fill each unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds worth of distance run,

You’ll own the Camel and everything that’s in it

And more, you’ll sail a Shrimper my son!


(With acknowledgment to Rudyard Kipling)


Read at Jon Greaves’ Thanksgiving service