11 July 2007


On our Grand Cruise last weekend, I had two competent sailors with me so Camille and I just hung out on the boat and enjoyed the ride. I'd given the helm to Kathy and Grant was handling sail trim. It was a very nice way to sail.

So, Camille and I were joking about what we call this and what we call that, coming up with new names for everything that goes to sea. During this time, I still had some responsibilities as Captain of the Yacht so I informed the helm that we needed to head up a bit to avoid this Big-Ass Tanker (B-AT) that was on a collision course about a mile and a half away. The helm did nothing as far as I could tell. So, I scrunched up my eyes all nautically, tilted my head inquisitively and asked, "are you going to head up?" She looked at me blankly, what I like to call the Brooktrout stare.

It then hit me that I had never really let her drive before and she didn't know what the hell I meant. "Head up" might just mean look around a bit. So, I decided to break it down a bit more sensibly..."turn left for a bit until we clear that B-AT." Just as she was turning the tiller, I hear a six year old voice behind me say, "don't you mean Port?"


Tillerman said...

Not as bad as the day I went out on a racing keelboat. There was the skipper, me and a really old geezer who was steering. (Don't ask why.)

I figured out early on that the really old geezer was stone deaf but the skipper didn't seem to notice. He was giving the R.O.G. steering instructions but it was even more confusing because the skipper's instructions were things like "Head Down" and "Bear Up".

After a near collision at the leeward mark with 3 other boats I decided that I would stick to Lasering.

EVK4 said...

That is classic. I'm trying it next time I turn over the "stick". I'll yell things like "tack ho" or "tiller up" or other nautically-sounding but meaningless things like "stern abeam" and "fly the cloth".

Anonymous said...

Okay - in defense of the "tiller-woman" (unlike the "ferryman" who you shouldn't pay in the "classic" Chris De Burgh song), there is a s--t load of terminology on a boat, much of which defies logic. (Come on - we all know what "Sheets" are, and they sure aren't ropes.) Also, at close to 40, the portion of my memory allocated for new nautical terms has been comandeered for daily task performance. Thought you may wan to know that my former boss told me almost weekly that I responded with a "deer in the headlights" look. I will have to work on more of a nautical skwinky-eyed, deaf salty-dog look in response to questions for which I have no f---ing idea of a response.

EVK4 said...

Not sure if this last comment was my favorite crew or her husband defending her honor.

Honestly, my point was that I was speaking in an arcane language and when I tried to make it more understandable the 6 year old behind me translated back to the arcane.

if it was the husband who wrote this, then "up your nose with a rubber hose". If it was actually Kathy then I refer to my point above and note that she's now an expert tiller-master and we don't have to worry about this anymore.

Anonymous said...

It was the salty dog, er . . salty b--ch, as I now need to be called.