29 January 2010
162. A RIBBON ON A HALYARD
Those days when sailors crossed oceans with a ribbon on a halyard to indicate the strength and the direction of the wind... are gone. When I realised that, I got angry. A bit like someone who'd learnt how to sharpen a flint nicely to cut a sheepskin and an idiot comes up with a new tool made of iron called scissors to do the job!
So I learnt how to use the new instruments. Reluctantly. I still argued with my captain on various occasions. The last issue was with a kiwi sailor who had taken me on as crew from Suva to Port-Vila. He had programmed his small homemade yacht to enter the harbour of Port-Vila in Vanuatu by itself... and by night. I simply could not stand it! At night, you stand on deck and you get ready to react to anything suspicious. But he wanted to 'test' his new toy and see if he could rely on his programmed plot to turn into the harbour.
We argued. I went up on deck at the bow and waited until my eyes were accustomed to the dark. I saw we were heading not for the entrance of the harbour but for a mountain. I went down and told him. He did not believe me. In the end he came up on deck nonetheless and muttered something and changed course. We argued on and on until we dropped anchor. The next day I left.
Captains blame crew for problems. Crew blames captain for problems. It is not easy to sail a boat! But when you find the right combination between captain and crew, it is fabulous. This happened to me in October 1997 sailing from Noumea, New Caledonia, to Auckland, New Zealand, with 4 of us as crew and one old captain. More on that another day.
Post Scriptum : The video above is not mine. I thank 'ppconsultant' of Anything Sailing for sharing it with the public.