Swab the poopdeck ya Scurvy dog! (CB)

After the last story about the raccoons on Blake Island, which by the way took place about two years ago, I thought we should venture back over to the island see if the situation had improved any since we had been there last. Unfortunately for you the reader, it had, and the Ranger is alive and well. There were no raccoon related incidents this week. Actually, we had this weekend trip planned long before I posted that story, but what a lovely segue.

The plan was to sail over Friday night after work and meet up with our friends on their boat Ghost. There were a few other boats from the marina planning on going over as well, so it was shaping up to be a pretty fun weekend.

My buddy Dan and a friend of his Erin were going to crew over and stay with us for the weekend on our boat and we were giving another friend of ours, Rich, a ride over as well. He was gonna stay aboard Ghost and crew back with them on Sunday. We had a great time on the island, drank alot, ate way too much and did some hiking/Geocaching and I went clamming for the first time. Oh and our alternator died on us as well, which made for a slightly colder, damper weekend than it should have been, but it’s nothing a couple boat units and busted knuckle or two can’t fix/replace.

Hang on….hang on, Ya know what, that last paragraph made me change my mind as to what this post is gonna be about. Actually not the whole paragraph, but one word used twice in a certain context changed my mind. The word I’m talking about is the word “crew”. Go back up and reread the first two sentences of the previous paragraph…seriously….go ahead, I’ll wait…….


Done? Good.

Now did you notice that I said that our friends Dan, Erin and Rich were going to crew over with us and Rich was going to crew back on Ghost? Crew! Our friends were going to crew over with us. Not join us, not ride over, not hangout on our boat, but crew. They had gone from a chill little weekend to being unpaid crew on a boat. What the…?

In real life I’m a 39 year old Network Engineer that goes to work in an office in the year 2007. But the second I step aboard my boat or tell a story that involves mine or a friends boat, I immediately become a salty one eyed sea captain from the year 1807.

Back when we had a house it was: “Hey come on in, make yourself at home! Beers in the fridge.” Now it’s: “Welcome aboard, go below and stow your gear in the aft cabin. Rums in the locker…..Beer? It’s still in the fridge” (which is in the galley instead of the Kitchen). I said I became a salty sea captain, not lice eating Neanderthal.

Tell someone to tie a loose rope off!? HA!, That would never happen, not on my boat. It’s “Could you sheet in the Jib a bit” or “heave on that halyard”. Step off the boat and I’ll be the first to ask you to hand me that pile of rope, unless one end is attached to the boat, then it’s a line. Weather its the bow line, stern line or midship spring line all depends on which one I need and believe me, when I ask for it, i’ll let you know exactly which one and which cleat to make it fast to.

If were riding around in my jeep, I’ll turn a corner and not utter a word. I could careless if your ready for it or not or if you spill your Big Gulp all over your lap, but when I decide to change direction on the boat and the sails are up. You will know well ahead of time. First I’ll pose the question, “should we tack”? Or “I think I’ll tack”, which means some crew member (Friend) will grab the leeward working sheet (rope tied to a sail) and wait for more orders from the Captain (me…yeah right). Then comes “Ready about!?”, which means “are you ready for me to turn the damn boat”. This is followed by the command, “Helms a lee” or “I’m turning the damn boat”. Then “Break” which means, they let go of the leeward sheet (rope) and they or another crew member grabs the formerly loose windward sheet (rope) and hauls (pulls) it in tight as it becomes the new leeward working sheet (rope). On our boat we also say at the last minute, “Grab the burrito!”. I’m not sure of the prevelence of burritos in the 1800s on sailing vessels, but this one is our stupid inside joke.
At this point I’m content, but the other captain on the boat (Tawn) will then call for the sails to be sheeted in and trimmed so all tell-tales are flying (this make boat go faster). She’s grew up racing boats. If you translated this to 1800s captain styles. She’d be the rich and successful merchant captain with a fast sleek ship that got all the cargo from point A to point B in the fastest time possible. I would be the rum soaked pirate capt’n that bounces from port to port looking for nothing to do. This is what makes our boat work as well as it does.

Left is port. Right is starboard. A window is a porthole but it’s pronounce portal. The steering wheel is the helm but it could be a tiller. We piss in the head. Try that on land and your probably gonna get your ass kicked, depending on whose head it is. A knot is a unit of measure, not a tangle of rope. On a boat, each tangle of rope (knotted line) gets it’s own individual name and each one has a purpose. Land is “the hard”, and we go gunkholing on weekends, tying not to gunk to many hulls.

On land I could careless about little details such as these, but somehow on a boat it all makes sense and I get into it. And as far as I can tell, power-boaters are not as afflicted by this as much as sailors are.

There is not a reason for or an answer to this post, but come down the dock sometime and we’ll splice the main brace (have a drink) and I’ll tell you all about the sailing lexicon, or at least as much as I know or can make up.

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