No actual donuts were made or harmed during the passage. Also, no bed was actually crapped in, though metaphorically, the bed was speckled like a Jackson Pollock masterpiece. But, I hear from my dear readers that details of life on board AND interesting sea stories are what they want. The customer is always right, and I am nothing if not accommodating, so here we go!
More About The Watch Schedule
No Boredom -lots of monotony
The watch schedules posted in my last blog post give a sense of the times and responsibilities of the crew while on passage. But they don’t capture the surreal feeling of the routine that is best summed up as sleep, rest, assist with meal, politely compliment the meal of spam, powdered potatoes, and ostrich sausage, go on watch, marvel at the open expanse of ocean, yawn, sit to pee (a strange experience for much of the crew), consider the smallness of your boat as compared to the vast open ocean, look at the stars, consider the insignificance of the vast open ocean as compared to the sky lit and filled by distant stars, look back at the water and consciously decide not to panic about the ominously enormous gigantic and terrifyingly tremendous ocean surrounding your ludicrously small boat, sleep, and then repeat. Your life and emotional state are, in essence, on an endless bouncy treadmill.
The joy of being at sea remains sea life encounters remain exciting, but the hours and days progress in oddly disjointed blocks of time. Your brain downshifts so that time speeds up, and boredom becomes a distant memory. Text message alerts -gone. News of the latest jackassery in the world- nope. Worried about making plans for the weekend -not a concern. Emails -nonexistent. Social media – redefined to the crew sitting around the tv for a movie. Life slows down, and your brain does, too- happily. The simple act of reading a book becomes an undisturbed block of hours unless interrupted by the screaming of the fishing reels, which then turns the day into a bloody mess.
Various medical resources indicate that a human needs 15.5 cups of drinking water per day to survive. XXXBut, limiting ourselves to drinking water with 6 crew on a 6000-mile passage would get very stinky very quickly. More realistically, a reasonably comfortable passage requires about 7 gallons of water per day for drinking, showering, and toilet use. Although I did not keep details on how much water we actually used, I would bet our usage was closer to 20 gallons per person per day for drinking, washing dishes, the boat, showering, and laundry.
Wild Rumpus has a 40-gallon-per-hour water maker onboard (in addition to several spares). We have two water tanks, each of which holds 113 gallons of fresh water. We used only one tank at a time and refilled it often, maintaining the other as an emergency backup. We also had plenty of water stowed in the bilges and a five-gallon jerry can on the rails. The five-gallon can’s function was to float alongside the life raft if things went truly sideways.
As long as the water maker functioned — which it did almost the entire trip (details of the installation failure to follow in another post)– we exercised minimal water discipline. Everybody took quick-ish sailor’s showers (wet yourself and turn the water off, soap up, rinse, turn the water off), but we flushed the toilets freely and often to prevent clogs (which mostly worked), washed dishes both by hand and in the dishwasher, and did laundry when the seas were calm.
We always had enough water to make it to the next stop if the water maker went out on us, though it would have been a less pleasant passage at that point.
Crapping the Bed (a/k/a The Story of Mac the Knife a/k/a Our Greek Tragedy)
Scott– Boat owner, captain, loving and sweet disposition, polite to a fault, loved and respected by all.
Wild Rumpus– a beautiful catamaran that just recently lost its virginity, but in many other respects remained pure and true.
Honey Badger– the dinghy/tender to Wild Rumpus. A brand new 12′ aluminum centered inflatable boat that had never been lowered from its storage location on the davits and thus, unlike its bigger sister, remained chaste and virginal. Importantly, Honey Badger was secured to the boat by the davits plus strap clamps and the strap clamps were zip tied closed to prevent slippage.
Crew Members– at this point, Wildl Rumpus had a crew of 7 total including Scott, the Captain and beacon of all that is true and good in the world.
Barney– until this story, an unnamed member of the crew and wolf in sheep’s clothing. Barney’s identity is being concealed to prevent him from being canceled since we sort of still like him (or her) just fine.
Wild Rumpus approached St. Helena, its first refuge from arduous seas after an 1800 mile maiden voyage from its home in Cape Town, South Africa. Desperate for a respite, exhausted from its efforts, Wild Rumpus scours the government-run mooring field for a free mooring adequate to its size. Finally, Wild Rumpus and its crew settle on a mooring ball and approach with the skill and care of the elite crew they were. They approach the 4′ diameter mooring under the incredible handling of its valiant crew.
Once the mooring ball is held at the center of the bow, all that remains is to pass the bow lines through the metal ring that sits atop its center. But, since the mooring ball has a 4′ diameter with the metal ring in the center and no pendant (many mooring balls include a bit of rope with a loop on it that can be grabbed from a boat so that the mooring lines can be easily affixed), the crew had to consider alternative options for how to get the rope to the ring.
One crew member wisely suggested that the easiest way to get the line to the mooring was by use of Honey Badger. Honey Badger lay affixed to the stern still in its virginal cradle, but ready for some action. Some of the crew raced to the stern to free Honey Badger. And this, dear readers, is where Mac and his knife undertook their dastardly deed.
Concealing himself/herself among the competent well-meaning crew, Barney also raced to the stern while eating a baguette and humming an Edith Piaf song- as most villains do. And, in an ostensible effort to free the strap clamp, Barney reached for his/her very pointy sailing knife, placed the point under the zip tie with the blade side up, and PUSHED. Ladies and gentlemen, Barney pushed that knife right through the zip tie and directly into the once-inflated side of Honey Badger!
Our dinghy was mortally wounded by the beast living among us. Nevertheless, the crew valiantly pressed on and managed to get the mooring lines secured by other, less elegant means.
The pointy sailing knife was taken away from Barney for the duration of the trip. Charges remain pending, but jurisdiction lies with St. Helena . . . . so Barney is still on the loose and unlikely to be prosecuted.