The sounds of sailing

5 12 2010

Any one can take the helm when the sea is calm. – Pubilius Syrus.

the old girl stretches her legs

Silence. The sounds of silence.

After three days with the engine running, there’s an eerie quiet once it’s finally switched off.

At first it seems silent, anyway.

Then you notice the steady creak of the mast, the gurgle of waves on the hull, and the occasional curse as someone totters across the saloon which suddenly features a 20 degree slope.

The sounds of sailing, in fact.

There are other noises too.

The sound of salt water gushing through another leaky hatch.

The odd thump as 100 tones of yacht slams off the back of another wave.

The beep of the alarm signalling that another bilge is full of water.

But all these things are OK. Because we’re sailing.

Surging smoothly southward towards Las Canarias, borne by the wind alone.

Pretty cool really, and I’ll tell you why.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret about these flashy giant superyachts: they rarely sail.

What? Yes, it’s true.

For one thing there is often not enough wind. In anything less than 15 knots, Bolero wallows.

And then the wind is rarely out of the right direction.

The modern superyacht has schedules, deadlines. If sailing conditions are not optimal, they don’t bumble along in the approximate direction- it’s sails away, motor on, full speed ahead.

And then finally – and this one is a little embarrassing – there’s the convenience factor.

Bolero’s mainsail does not fill with wind at the touch of a button. And it sure doesn’t come down without a fight.

It took the captain and I a solid hour of dicking about in the freezing pre-dawn rain before we were ready to raise sail.

So if conditions look like they could change any second, we’ll probably just motor on.

But now and again, the elements play the game.

We unroll some canvas.

And shoot away to the south, smiling in the winter sunshine.

loving it

Hef and I fetch some sushi

croc atack

5 12 2010

During a recent all-time low in my career, I was informed that Crocs would, in fact, be my footwear of choice during my time aboard A Certain Feadship.

Needless to say, this did not sit well with me for a number of reasons, so, as I sought to find an appropriate excuse for not wearing these ridiculous shoes, I turned to my good friends at Reality Bytes 101.

Their response was both hilarious and strangely prophetic. Read on…

Dear Sir,

I am writing this day to ask your opinion on the spectacle of grown men wearing Crocs. You know the ones. Those hideously ugly, rubber contraptions designed by toddlers in various shades for the colour-blind.

My concern is this: my employer has insisted i wear a pair for work.

In full view of 16 colleagues and the general public.

Why? Why? Why? It’s not on.

Please confirm for me that grown-ups should never don such footwear and any excuses you may have for helping me escape my fate.


Captain Cruesli.

Ahoy Captain,

Since receiving your email, Chuck has asked all and sundry to determine exactly what occupation would allow an individual to wear Crocs to work. Chuck may have been asking for Einstein’s Theory of Relatively judging by the looks that were returned. The best response Chuck received was “Does he work for the Activ Foundation, because only mentally disabled people wear Crocs”

Captain, your concerns and trepidations are well founded. There is no good reason for any adult to wear those rubber clog type shoes that look like they cost $3 (and are probably manufactured in a sweat shop for 21 cents). Chuck isn’t really sure how they became popular but suspects that people viewed them as an up market version of thongs and things spiraled from there. Now you see all sorts of people cutting about in the ghastly things with no sense of how stupid they look.

The funny thing is that even if someone returned from Holland with the finest hand crafted clogs ever made, you’d never wear them because they look moronic. Yet people will gladly wear florescent coloured cheap plastic versions with impunity. Chuck just shakes his head and weeps for our children’s future.

About the only way that you could possibly get laid after being spotted working in a pair of Crocs is if you are a porn star by trade and you had them on whilst on set. Short of that, you’re pretty much fucked (and not literally). Actually, when Chuck puts his mind to it, you could probably pull it off under two circumstances:

1)     You work behind a bar at a resort in a tropical location. In this instance you’re probably working at a poolside bar so you can’t wear shoes for fear of getting them wet. Additionally you’re outdoors and in the sun so hopefully you have a decent rig and are wearing minimal clothing that will distract the ladies away from your feet. And finally you’re the guy plying them with alcohol so hopefully you can get them liquored up to the point that they stop thinking that you’re the mentally disabled guy wearing Crocs.

When you think about it, even in this scenario, a lot of things have to go right for you to pull it off.

2)     You’re a Captain and working on a yacht on the high seas may actually be a job where you could get away with Crocs. Ideally you’d be skippering a luxury yacht that gets rented out by high society and if you’re lucky you’d end up tagging some cashed up cougar who’s husband is too busy trying to catch a marlin. Unfortunately, those types of skippers have enough class to impress the ladies by wearing deck shoes. If you’re wearing Crocs you’re probably behind the tiller of a ferry and your pussy options include middle aged German tourists or senior citizens on day trips.

3)     You work at a hippie commune serving hummus and lentil soup out of a bain-marie. The only poontang you’re hitting in this situation is of the very hairy variety!

So its fair to say that your chances of landing beef are severely limited in Crocs.

So how do you get out of it?

Well you could sit your boss down and tell him how much of a low budget spanker you appear in these shoes. Since he or she obviously has no problem with them, this may have no effect whatsoever other than offending your employer.

So in true Chuck fashion, it’s time to get creative.

Option 1

A week before your next work shift that is scheduled to take place in your Crocs, head to a secluded bush trail and walk in those bastards for as long a you can. If at all possible, try to walk through creek beds and mud. Continue to walk for an hour each day in them. The key here is to avoid washing them. It is critical however that your feet are kept absolutely sparkling clean. Then on the first day of work, barrel into your place of employment in your festering Crocs and stomp around with a huge smile on your face. The combination of residual sweat, mud, old water and whatever else you have picked up in your travels will combine with your fresh sweat to give off a pungent smell that will offend all around you.

Your boss may pull you aside and say “man your feet are repulsive” to which you remove said feet to showcase sparkling appendages. You then blame the stench on the fact that you are wearing cheap rubber shoes that cause your feet to sweat profusely*.

* You are in trouble if he or she suggests you rectify the problem by wearing socks. If that happens you must resign immediately because your dignity can never recover from socks and Crocs.

Option 2

Take a pin and make numerous pricks all over the soles of your Crocs. This will have the effect of causing air to rush out of the sole every time you put your foot down and apply weight. If you are walking briskly the air will be expelled quickly and may sound like a fart or squeak. Even better, try to get them wet – this will make it sound like you have a bull frog under your feet or in an even worse case, sound like you are unleashing extremely wet farts.

When your boss pulls you aside after complaints from those around you, you simply blame the footwear.

Look Captain, you’re in a world of hurt no matter what and you probably need to ask yourself why your boss is doing this to you? You’ve either mortally offended him/her and this is their revenge or they think you should be busy making number plates on a steel press. Whichever it is, it could be time for a new gig.