I was thinking today about putting up all the helmsman photos I have for the SILENT MAID summer. There are quite a number and when I get half a moment, or maybe even a whole one, I will put them up here. so check back.
But that thought made me think about not just steering, rather skippering the boat. There is a lot of responsibility there. To the ship herself, to her owner, to the crew. Our skipper was a delight to sail with. I knew he was in tune with the boat and her needs, her abilities. He pushed her to her limits but didn't abuse her. Same with his crew. Pushed us, guided us, made us more capable than when we began the journey, teased a bit, but never derided us. He kept a weather eye out, listening to the sounds of water and wind using them to tune the boat and get her best speed. He does seem to play a game with the speed of a passage, partly to protect the boat and crew. The ship from unfavorable weather or a new anchorage in the dark, and the crew he kept from fatigue, by planning easy passages and amending them when necessary. He did not rag on us nor criticize nor remember too many of our mistakes. (Although some of mine do reappear from time to time with grin from both of us.) Being skipper is lonely work, but it does have its perks. First coffee in the morning. Delegation of duties for another one, even though it comes with responsibilities of oversight. As crew and provisioner, I wanted the ship to shine, be hospitable, to show herself in the best way where ever we were. So I don't think we were a tough crew to deal with: merry, good humored and willing to work for the good of the group. Very un-Iyn Rand-y.