It Was A Good Joke
This past Wednesday I had a backside full of steroids and a brain full of meds. With my slowed reaction time falling off the boat while scrambling from rail to halyard was a distinct possibility. On the other hand, who wants to sit at home in an envious snit? Not wanting to endanger other crewmen or myself I hitched a ride on the Race Committee boat. I told my friends, “Hey, I’ll be on the red boat so buzz me. You know, drive by, smile and I’ll get a photo of you and your boat.”
I got a lot of great shots Wednesday night. As the race was ending I was scanning the horizon for Serenia, a boat I regularly crew on. At last she came into focus and the helmsman was smiling. Wait, the helmsman is smiling? The helmsman rarely smiles. I started shooting.
With Van at the helm she sped upon us flying wing and wing and I could not refocus fast enough. My zoom quickly became useless, then I realized I was shooting up instead of out. “Why can’t I focus? He’d have to be…my God they are on top of me.” and I dropped my camera.
In a concerned voice the Race Official, John, said, “Does he have control of that boat? Is he going to hit us? My God, what is he doing?!”
I smiled, “He is messing with me. He has complete control of that boat.” And Van, the helmsman, swung the boom over me and swept the cobwebs off the cabin top of the Race Committee boat. He cleared the large antenna by a mere inch. It was a good joke.
Below, the young substitute crew is in on the joke. Even the Captain, Bruce, is smiling.
He was messing with me. Van knows exactly what Serenia can do and where that boom ends. He is an experienced old salt with a lot of races under his belt and I am a 2nd year novice. One thing we both share is the constant pain of neuropathy but nothing keeps a true sailor off the water. We could sit in our respective homes and be validated in our choice but we both know any day on the water, adrenaline running high with the wind and waves, is better than a day comfortably tucked up on the couch at home.
The start to summer was rough as I wasn’t always sure which and whose command to follow but, after getting yelled at, I stayed around for the beer and I learned and I studied. Being ran over on the Committee Boat was my rite of initiation. I would have missed it if I had sat home. Van and I both take our day in our hands and play the cards we’re dealt. We make it good, each in our own way.
Below, on the white hull of Sirenia, you can see the shadow of our Committee Boat as well as that of the race official, John, watching them pass. He mused that he had never had a boat pass that close on a finish before.
It was a good joke. It was a good day. Go, play the hand your dealt and make your joy, my friends!