In the mockumentary movie, ‘This is Spinal Tap’, the guitarist character Nigel Tufnel shows off an amplifier where the volume control, instead of going from zero to ten, “…goes to eleven”.
The popularity of the film caused the saying to subsequently be used when something is being taken to its maximum potential — and then some.
I had one of those moments yesterday aboard a 45′ catamaran with the teenage daughter of the owner at the helm in 40 knots of apparent wind, double-reefed and upwind.
I didn’t need to look at the dials to know that we were creaming along: the spray flying off the bow waves and the tension in the rig were evidence that we were going pretty fast for a 22 ton cruising cat ‘on the wind’. But a look at the instruments confirmed what the senses were feeling.
The helm was so steady that I had time to nip down below, get my iPhone and, given the bumpy conditions, frame it up to snap this picture. The student driver kept the speed consistent — indeed it was often over eleven.
Since I’d instructed the young lady to mostly keep her eyes on the luff of the reefed genoa, I though that I should take a picture of the knotmeter to send to her as a momento of the skill with which she kept the boat in its groove.
She’s going on to take her RYA Yachtmaster exam in Europe this summer and I’m sure that she’ll do well.