adventure, care and feeding of sailing crew, cutting the dock lines, debt free, engine less sailing, falmouth cutter, falmouth cutter 22, freedom, independent travel, Lin Pardey, living aboard, minimalist, photography, sailing, sailing blog, sailing the San Juans, San juan Sailing, yuloh
I don’t remember how old I was but it was in the years before I had my first shave. The wind was typical for a spring day, maybe 18 knots, a lot of wind to be flying full sail but not out of control. The swell was huge maybe 12-15′ maybe more. She, one of the charter guests looked over at me with a nervous stare and asked at what point I started to get worried. I smiled and said, I was scared when we left the Dock.
I motioned her closer to the wheel and gave her simple directions, after a few minutes I disappeared inside the cabin calling don’t hit anything as I went. I returned one minute later with a six pack of beer and passed them around. I was the official deckhand on the boat but also the one with all the experience, after failing their charter docking test the only option was to hire a captain but none could be found so the owner of the fleet suggested they hire me as a deck hand. One by one they took a turn at the wheel and got to experience sailing at its best. Once they were involved in the direct handling of the boat their fears slipped away and it turned out that big waves and a fresh breeze were a hell of a lot of fun.
As the captain of Sookie I am her master and servant. My tasks are simple, keep the boat safe and the crew happy. When I look back over the past year I have hundreds of fond memories, some of perfect sailing in balmy breezes, others of learning the subtle intricacies of how Sookie handles with jacked reef lines in 30 knots of wind. I got to experience our first knock down together and ghost along in 3 knots of wind. We saw many boulders slip under our keel yet never kissed the bottom. We rode out gales on the hook and rowed to shore on sunny mornings so calm even the birds slept in. Every day ended by the warm glow of the lantern with a glass of wine and the best nights sleep anyone can ever imagine.
Of all my memories of the season very few of them were the actual boat, she sailed so flawlessly that there was very little to think about, we had no failures or let downs, she did what we asked of her.
While I served the boat Serena was master and servant to the galley, to me, to Chloe, our guests… Some meals were served in a single pot while others in bowls or on plates, We even had a few straight off the cabin sole where they ended up. Even on our incredibly limited budget we ate three square delicious meals a day. Lin Pardey said it best when she said I never expected it to be easy. There were days when we were so exhausted we barely had the strength row row row back to the boat yet somehow Serena always had a meal fit for a king waiting for us.
I sit here looking at my pile of boat gear, on top are the paint brushes and sandpaper I didn’t have the energy to use this year. I remember back to my grandfathers words when he gave me my first tools. Alan there will always be people who think that if something makes noise it does a better job. Those noise makers are machines, not tools. Use your tools an take care of them and they will always take care of you. Be part of the process, go slow.
Its blowing 30 knots, the hook is holding and the sun is setting, I’m sitting on deck the anchor lantern is lit and the chafing gear looks good. I sip from my beer and smoke a hand rolled cigarette behind the shelter of the dog house, I can hear Serena making treats below, God I have it good. From the log of Sookie Salish Sea 2013