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