The Faff to Reward Ratio
01 November 2019
Some will have read, and perhaps a few will remember my piece on Stuart's amazing, patented Scunnerometer. Well, here's another, this time, of a mathematical persuasion, "The Faff to Reward Ratio".
For non Scots readers, to "Faff" is to mess around uselessly, frustratingly and ineffectively in pursuit of the execution of a seemingly important task.
Examples of an F:R Ratio would be......
- cooking a meal following pretty much any recipe I've ever seen. First, collect assorted volumes and quantities of about twenty eight different ingredients. Next, slowly fold six of these into a Pyrex bowl, put in fridge and leave overnight. WHAT THE? I'm hungry NOW! Apparently, the following day, assuming you've remembered you were actually creating this culinary masterpiece, you spend another four hours mixing, grinding, folding and seasoning before stuffing it all in a pan for a few hours. Serve and eat to clean plate in about four minutes thirty seconds. This is a very high F : R Ratio
- Passage Planning. This is a critical element in getting ones' yacht from A to B. Times, distances, tides, ETA, hazards and more need to be factored in. However, part of the way through the fairly straightforward process you see a feature on the chart you hadn't noticed before, perhaps an island, or someone's AIS signal. "That looks interesting" you think, and off you go to see what depth there is around this island, one that's usually miles off your route, or just where that AIS is going. "Oh look. Anne, this one's going to Shanghai. And only at six knots. That's going to take a while. Nearly two weeks. Imagine". And so, faffing about, a few minutes effort turns into hours and the ratio soars.
- Now. Diving. I originally got my PADI ticket so I could clean the hull and change the anodes. Down to two metres at most. The dramatist in me also had visions of diving to the depths to free a tangled anchor, fighting off various sharks and sea monsters with a six inch knife, carried, SAS style on my calf. When I'm not dreaming, my dive record is made up largely of faffing around at one point five metres scrubbing weed and barnacles. Even at this modest depth, it was immediately apparent that diving, like cooking, has a high F : R Ratio. First, hunt around about fourteen lockers looking for all the diving paraphernalia you haven't seen from one years end to the next. Work out what goes where and how to clip it all together. You then wrestle a tank of air that weighs a ton and will undoubtedly sink you like a stone, straight down until you hit the bottom and an early watery grave. However, i've always fancied building my experience and so when a post on the Rally WhatsApp said some were going for a wreck dive I thought, "that sounds cool", completely forgetting diving is an extremely high F : R Ratio sport. It took about an hour to find all the gear which, once gathered, had to be humphed into our dinghy.......to transport to another dinghy, to humph again into an ageing, slightly converted small fishing boat. My five chums had passed the site of a wreck the previous day, put a waypoint in their phone's Navionics and, with X marking the spot, we headed off into the blank ocean. After about thirty minutes we realised the phone was back on the big boat. Not to worry, our local driver knew this place like the back of his hand. It only took an hour of driving around in circles, our hero peering into the horizon trying to line up features a guy on the beach once told him about. But he'd since forgotten. Technology prevailed and we got through to base camp, got the coordinates and our man chucked the anchor over the side. Right on top of the wreck. You then clamber into all the gear and pitch yourself over the side. My new diving pals were in their element and skooshed straight down to twenty metres. I thought I was going to die. In minutes, I was back on board mentally drafting a Scuba Gear For Sale eBay advert. Perhaps four hours faffing for ten minutes in the water. That's an F : R ratio that exceeds even my brother-in-law's cooking.