Without going into too much detail, as I am the person who primarily looks after the inside of the boat (excluding anything mechanical or electrical or dealing with propane or water systems), Michael is the person we all take orders from in a “situation.” His years of experience are beyond my comprehension, and my feelings are fully supported by his friends who draw upon his vast realm of knowledge and experience to help them solve their boat problems.
He is the person who is always at watch. He has gone off in the dinghy to save someone who is stranded on their boat or in this case lost their dinghy from their boat and was swimming to it. Both times he was yelling to me to help him into our dinghy and to untie it, before I found out why!
Basically, what I can add to the knowledge of the outside of the boat is limited to my observations from Michael, his explanation of his knowledge and possibly a bit of just plain “rubbing off on me.”
This means I have to write about myself. Can’t really call our little 9 lb ball of fluff we call a dog as a member of the crew. She gets fed, watered and relieves herself only after a 24-hr hold only when she has to, anywhere she is located at that particular time. Otherwise she sleeps wherever her little heart desires. Although we refer to our grandson as crew, his speciality is swabbing the deck. He loves to wash things and creating bubbles from 6 oz of water and some detergent in the cockpit keeps him entertained at sea, mooring or in a berth. I am fondly called the Admiral, but I am most definitely “it” for the crew.
My water legs came from being a commercial fisherman’s daughter. I learned how to row a boat before I learned to ride a bicycle. The Atlantic Ocean was my backyard and playground. When I was older, I used to race on a 29′ wooden sailboat in the late 70s and early 80s. I knew my way around boats and specialized in foredeck work. I could repack a spinnaker in no time at all. I wasn’t used to any amenities on a boat. A plastic bucket for peeing in was all we had. Once we bought Rainbow, I had to learn about inboard motors, diesel as a fuel, electrical concerns, propane issues, pump outs, water tanks and much more.
When I used to race, if someone were to tell me I would be cruising 35 years later, I would have been shocked! I used to leave a week of racing black and blue from bruises! I counted over 80 bruises on the picture above. Chipped bones in legs which healed promptly over the winter. I would work the morning, drive 45 minutes at noon to catch a 1 pm gun to start the race, party at night, return home to repeat the same schedule the following day. Now a bummed knee from one emergency situation on board takes over a year to heal with intensive physiotherapy! I currently watch the races with a relaxing drink on our Vancouver 25, but only as a spectator. Not as much fun as being in the race. I no longer participate in the afternoon of extensive drinking following a race and am officially retired from my old job. But I do enjoy the time on the water, far much more than I did before. No mark to reach and no rush to change sails. I no longer get yelled at by the skipper. These days, I still can’t help but get excited, when that gust fills up the sail and we find ourselves looking for the wind on the water! The thrill is still there, just at a different level.