Feb 9, 2006, 7:46 PM
Post #8 of 25
Well, this isn't about me and it isn't an offshore-in-the-&#$%&%#-Stream-on-a-wet-boat voyaging story. But it's about a guy on a boat that did the race. And (I think) it's a classic sailing tale in so many ways. I heard it first hand from the subject while sharing a spot on the rail in another bluewater misadventure. But that's another story.
Re: [The Publisher] Newport~Bermuda: tales and trials
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So there's this guy. He'll remain nameless, since this was a hugely embarrassing moment for him then, and would surely be even more so today. So I'll respect that. Doesn't matter who it was, really. But you should know he's one of those people that are always in a "situation" and if you knew him you'd appreciate it even more.
Anyway, there's this Guy. He's captain on a biggish race boat, 60+ something or other. Probably a Frers, given the day. They've got a real crew, new stick, new sails, new bottom, fancy hydraulics (first time around, not like today), some of them fancy new 'lectronics, and a full freezer of pre-made, pre-bagged goor-met meals all made up for the sloppy slog South.
They start well, lead the fleet out off the line and don't look back. Nothing special about the race, particularly. Usual slog/beat/heave/drop/bang/splash through the Stream and then cracked-off slide into the Patch. Get a pickle dish, eat a fine dinner, drink lots of Stark and Dormy's. Life is good.
Gets better for Our Guy, too. He meets A Girl at a post-race event. Pretty Girl...a very (independently verified) Pretty Girl indeed. They dance. They talk. They dance some more. They walk on beach. They go back to party. Our guy is smitten. She is...well, let's just say she's cautiously interested. (He is a boat captain, after all. And she, as it happens, is The Owners Daughter.) They part ways as the party ends with earnest plans to meet for a late breakfast and explore the island tomorrow. Scooter rides. Golf. Late lunch. A pink sand beach? Mmmmm...
Unfortunately for Our Guy, the Friendly Owner has observed said interactions. And he knows his Boat Captain all too well. So at O-crack-sparrow-fart next morning, the FO steps aboard His Yacht on which our Boat Captain is sleeping.
"Return My Yacht to Newport immediately, please. Obtain all necessary crew and supplies, and shove off in 24 hours. I want My Yacht back in time for The Cruise.
Our Guy is crestfallen...so much to do, so little time. And what of The Girl!? No scooters, no golf, no pink beaches. Ah, #$%&.
So off he goes, victualling and assembling a press-ganged crew for the delivery. Takes all day; got to fix the water pump and get the freezer element replaced. No laundry, no dry clothes, only one quick grocery run, no time to spare. Finally, end of the day, it's 2230 and he's ready for a quick drink and a bite before everything's closed.
Now 2315 and he's heading back to the yacht, dog-tired and depressed. He's leaving in hours, hasn't seen Pretty Girl all day, had no way to call (no cell phones yet) and nary a moment to find her and explain... And then... She rolls by on the back of a scooter, hitching a ride with some Other Guy. She gives Our Guy a look that says it all in one wordless blazing glare... "Where were you? I thought we...Who do you think...You're a jerk!..." then she gives her hair a flip and rides off into the night. Life is no longer good for Our Guy. This will be a long, slow sail back north.
Days later, and Our Guy is stateside, standing in a coin-op laundry on Thames Street. His sea bag has finally come ashore, and he's unpacking after two wet rides...out and back. The funk is phenomenal. Truly rank, but in a salty sort of way that's familiar to us all. Down at the bottom of the pile, he comes across the linen shirt he wore at the party where he met The Girl. He takes it out, all bunched and dirty, and holds it up to the light to see if it's worth saving...and just then The Girl walks in.
Their eyes meet, and all is forgotten. She's smiling. He's smiling. She sees the shirt, blushes a little; he starts to explain. She stops him...
"I know, I know, it's Daddy. He's always like that. But I wasn't sure if you..."
"I couldn't reach you...you weren't at the hotel...busy getting food...water pump..."
They laugh. All is right with the world again. She asks, "can I help?" He warns her away, says "this bag is toxic, it's really not a problem, I've got it, really, you don't have to..."
"No, no" she says, "let me help anyway"...and reaches in, grabs an item...and pulls out a pair of BVD's. She chuckles, and he blushes.
Then she blanches...and looks at Our Guy in horrified, open-mouthed, accusatory disgust. She drops the undershorts, grabs her bag, and in a near-retching panic runs out the door. Our Guy is completely stunned. What could have happened?
He picks up his underwear from the floor. He finds that Cadbury's bar he stashed for an off-watch snack. It has become one with the cloth, as it were. He looks at this mess in his shorts...in his hand...and then up out the window.
By now The Girl is across the street and behind the wheel of her 325i convertible. She starts the car, turns, and while driving off gives him That Look, flips her hair, guns the engine, shifts...and down the street she goes.
Our guy is left standing in the window of a Thames Street coin-op with a chocolate mess in his shorts and a roll of quarters in his pocket. Welcome home, sailor.