what a fantastic day. really and truly, i feel fantastic. covered in salt, grease all over my hands (and probably my shorts), exhausted, and content.
i crewed for a friend of mine today. friday, out of the blue, he asked if i wanted to. 'i take direction well' was my response. see, i love sailing, but i don't know much. so i figure the best quality i have to recommend me is that i take direction well. that, plus i stay out of the way when i don't know what to do, ask questions when there's time, and generally do everything i can to make myself useful. and yes, i own Chapman's Boating Etiquette.
the RocketScientist (henceforth RS) gave me directions, and we consulted briefly. (the name? yes, he did work for NASA at one point.) i know the area where he's moored passingly well, and the area around here, so i only asked about the middle part. oh, what a mistake that was. take 128 to 24. okay. i used to take 24 all the time. but sense memory did not serve me well. 128 ended. no 24. crap. hop on the shoe phone, make a choice as to which fork to take. i chose poorly. in the end, i managed to get there only about 25 minutes late, with a little directional assist from a local packie, and they were kind enough to wait.
as i got closer, seeing marshes, open water, smelling salt air, i got very excited about the day. pulled into the boatyard, realized i had *no* idea which boat was his, and wandered a bit. fortunately, they were standing on the dock, pretty clearly visible. took the boatyard launch out, and came up to the rail with 'permission to come aboard, cap'n!'. RS laughed, and said he would have piped me aboard properly, had he known.
the boat is just lovely. i'll have to snap a proper picture next time, so you can see it. 35', wooden hull, well kept, tidy little cabin, bunks fore and aft, benches near the wheel. stowed lunch things and bags, got the quick lesson on how to pump the head, and set about getting the sails rigged. it all worked out pretty well, in that RS was puttering at the wheel, and DB was fussing with something else, so i could pitch in with J. i loved that i got to rig the mainsail. (note to self: hunt down sailing course book, so i can sound like i know what i'm doing.)
it was a hazy, calm day, and once we were underway, there was really very little to do but lounge, eat and talk. such a lovely way to spend the day. we ended up sailing down to New Bedford and back, and RS provided a very educational running commentary about boats, various ledges and lights, and Generally Good Boating Stuff. i sacked out on the bow a few times, just watching the waves and listening to the water. ahhhhh... it's a rough life, but someone has to live it. ;)
when we were nearly at the mark to turn and head back, it started raining a bit, and it became patently clear that i had, in fact, reviewed Chapman's. ducked into the cabin, grabbed a towel, mopped up the rainwater on the deck, and started swabbing down the woodwork to get rid of all the pollen. he just had the varnish redone, and i wanted to make it look spiffy. there were vague threats of making me swab the deck, of course.
i decided to take a look at the books in the cabin, and found a cookbook which later led to one of the funnier moments. (back to that in a minute) i adore the way things on a proper boat are all useful, and all have Just The Right Place to live. the booknooks are in just the right place, and there are tiny lights in the bunks, right where you would want them. snagged the cookbook, ducked into the aft bunk, and settled down to read a bit. an hour later, i woke up. man, there is nothing more peaceful than the sound of water against a hull.
so the name of the cookbook is Cooking on Your Knees. if you've ever tried to work in a true galley kitchen, this makes a great deal of sense. but like most things on a proper boat, it's served a useful life. the spine is a bit worn. and there is nothing extraneous on a proper boat. all the books are ship logs, Chapman's, charts... you know the drill. and there at the end was a faded green-covered hardback, with the title (or so i thought) of On Your Knees. i was horrified at finding something i probably shouldn't have. hell, being on a long sail can get boring. perhaps this was recreational reading? did i really want to know this about RS? should i pretend not to have found it? of course, i looked. had to laugh when i realized my error. RS and i had a good chuckle about it later when i confessed my confusion.
when we got back, i gave the parents a call and arranged to swing by briefly to drop off the polisher i'd borrowed to detail my car and failed to send back. seemed easier to just stop by when i had a chance and get to see the parents into the deal than spend a whack of money shipping it. had a nice little visit, refueled on caffiene, and headed back to the city. it was lovely, and odd at the same time, to see my parents for such a short time, as visits usually involve planning and a few days. i love being mobile enough to fill a day with all sorts of adventures, in all sorts of places.
here's hoping that i was sufficiently useful crew to be invited back.