The Difference betwen Men and Boys is the size of their…..Mistakes!

Yep, ok; toys too. But mistakes  seem so much grander when we age.  More then that I always believe I did follow the “manual”. Dirk on Lison Life always said “RTF…M”  Read the F….. Manual. You can figure out what the F means. And at times like this I’m haunted by the old saying of the 3 most dreaded words an adult can hear at X- mass time:  “Some Assembly Required”.

I figured I’d read it and re-read it and read it again. But as in a test I remember taking in oh say 8th grade about “Directions”; obviously I’m still that way.  The Directions test goes on to about 20 easy to answer qsts like; what your name, what is today’s date, what kind of clock is on the wall. I thought I had died and gone to test taking heaven. I could do this and I was good at answering these questions. The last question was more of a statement; when finished yell, Finished and Stand up.  Maybe not those words exactly but something to that effect. So I was in the top couple of my class, I yelled and stood up as did most of the class.  But really I wasn’t in the top ten, more likely the bottom.

I skipped the “Directions”. In the directions was the sentence “Read the following questions, when you get to the end, turn your paper upside down and put your head down”.  Had I read the directiions then I wouldn’t have made a fool of myself in the 8th grade, math class. I’m still making a fool of myself.

We left about 10 ish am, traveling loosely with IB and Becca on Passport to Bonaire, NI;  part of the ABC’s. Were were to skirt along the N coast of Venezuela and then make Bonaire in about 3 t0 4 days. Things were going as well as could be expected on this 400 nm passage. The first day is always tough, getting your sea legs, getting use to a different sleep schedules (we keep someone awake on the boat offshore 24 hours per day, getting use to different foods (quick and easy) and cleanliness (we’re not entertaining the Queen so we don’t need to change our shirt 3 times a day).

Things were going smoothly, the windvane was steering nicely, we had enough wind and in a favorable direction the boat was moving with out to much unwanted motion, what more could we ask for?

About 10 pm we blew out a shackle on the  windvane. I just couldn’t believe it. So I go and dig out a replacement shackle (yeah we had one)  and I hang over the transom in the dark and I get the shackle on with the clevis pin and a new retaining circle clip. Hook up the windvane and set it back up.  Then I retire. It’s W/’ s watch. About 15 minutes later we hear a “ping”; the boat always seems to make weird noises at night and we keep moving. A bit later ( I can’t sleep) I stick my head out the hatch and W/s hand steering. She said we had a wind shift.

Missing Oar in Water

Missing Oar in Water

Ok; I go to reset the sail on the windvane and look down, there is NO OAR in the water!  None! Nada! Zilch! Impossible!  I go and tell W/, I’m dazed!  I can’t think straight! Never could but that doesn’t matter.

Imagine you’re driving along and coast to a stop with your car. The light turns green and you put your foot down on the petal, the engine roars and you go no where. What the…….. . You mess up traffic, get out of the car and look under the hood. The engine is there, the transmission is no more. It’s gone. It is not laying in the road 10 m back, it has simply disappeared. That’s how I felt.

The oar that powers the windvane is gone. I know where it is. It is 9,000 feet down on the bottom of the Caribbean Sea. Some may think I’m a god, others may think that I think I’m a god. No matter. I’m not nor have ever professed to be. Even if I was a god I couldn’t dive down 9,000 feet to get the oar and then once on the bottom I would need to see it. No light down there, no locater beacon. It’s gone. Done, Over, it is no more.

What this all boils down to is that we now have to steer by hand. Sailing a boat and steering by hand for short periods of time is fun. Short; an hour, maybe two, but  3 1/2 days by hand. Ouch!  That hurts. What can we do. It’s dark, We’re tired. Not much we can do. Time to sleep; tonight we’ll hand steer, we’ll use the stars and our compass. And I’ll look at solving the problem in the am.

Go Slow
Go Far
Stay Long

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