Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Boy, Me and the Cat

The Boy, Me and the Cat are in the Chesapeake on Nov. 17th. Papa has oyster pie leftovers for breakfast, Henry stuffs griddles. (more to my liking I'll admit, the griddles I mean.)

"We are tearing at it as I write and yet it seems impossible down here in the cozy little cabin with a good fire going, sunlight pouring in through the open hatch and kitty, who has just eaten and then thrown up the leg of sea fowl, asleep in my lap. All the comforts of home in 24'7".Don't it beat all."
I think SILENT MAID must have room for a fireplace or at least a little woodstove. Auxiliary heater and cooker for when there is not enough juice for the glowplug, but we can leave out the regurgitating feline. One with more constitution would be ok. continuing...

"And just as I finished writing the above sizzle, it came butt-ends on and then some. We were overblown in no time so it was bring her to it and reef in a vicious chop of a sea. Put in the best reef yet and in ship shape style. H. is all right. Papa felt so good he tied down the leach earring himself. Away again in search of palm trees for this norther was cutting cold."
Whoa, almost a hundred years later and nothing has changed. We were still looking for palm trees while on a catboat in the Chesapeake (and found them too) and it was really cold in October no less. It also blew up gusty every afternoon and we would have to put another reef in. We never got to the fourth though. Their little launch was made from a semi-dory much like URCHIN but had a 'make-or-break" engine and a deeper skeg.

"There was some whipping to canvas with peak dropped today and a nasty batten poked thro' the sail and before it tore loose and went to leeward it ripped a foot or more of canvas. Also tore out lazy jack boom block, loosened poop deck irons, and split one of the boards. H. thinks we better lay up and repair while there is something left to repair, but they are all non-essentials toward making southing, so on we go with halliards flying and no down haul. Like Jorrocks, I feel like saying. "Yachting is the sport of kings, the essence of war with all the glory and only twenty-five per cent of the danger.""
That 25% looms large. The constant wear and tear on the MASCOT was amazing; earlier in the same day they had stripped off a big quarter cleat, lost and almost sunk their dinghy by returning for and ramming itafter it broke loose, and rolled the boat on her beam ends. That was only one day. I must say, I feel like I have had similar joys sailing with our crew. Our skipper has rousted us out before light to catch a favorable tide, even cooked for us. Thankfully though we were not living off the country and eating ducks - in or out of season.

Having sailed a several day cruise in a catboat a bit bigger than MASCOT really made this book a wonderful read. The author has a turn for words sprinkled with savory sailory bits, which even if you don't know what they mean, sound right for the occasion. This was a real adventure, with history, a wreck, and perseverance told in good humor and a positive outlook. A book to be re-enjoyed, by a fire would be good if you can work it in. Others for the sailing bookshelf would include, Erskin Childers' Riddle of the Sands, and the Swallows and Amazons series.

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