Beefcake and Testosterone

Crosshaven image (8)

By 2000, ½ a ton of beefcake and testosterone was aboard the rod rigged, sexy black racer next door – at least it was sexy if you like that kind of sexy.  With millimetres of hull below the sea and towering topsides, the racer relied on a lead bulb hanging on a thin column below the waterline to stay upright, assisted of course by the efforts of the beefcake.  By comparison, Pippin looked like Mrs Tiggywinkle alongside Red Rum,  but neither she nor I cared about such things; I knew which vessel I would rather be in and anyway, I bet they didn’t have rhubarb crumble and custard aboard.

Time passed with much competitive bicep flexing and swapping of notes on girlfriends, but after a while eyes turned increasingly impatiently to the shoreline, scanning for something.  At 2045 the Henriettas finally arrived, fashionably late, all giggly twitterings and flashing smiles, completely oblivious to the urgency of departure.  10 minutes later they were all gone, off to a race week somewhere up the coast; I wondered if they knew a gale was marching towards us, and what it would be like to handle that careering racer in high winds and challenging seas.  I hoped the helicopter below would not be needed.

Cork Rescue Chopper Above Pippin

Coastguard chopper hovering over Pippin – I hid the rhubarb pie just in case

The newly empty berth next door was a salutary reminder that I too wanted to vacate the berth in which Pippin sat, before I succumbed to the charms of Crosshaven never to leave, whilst weed grew a foot thick on Pippin’s waterline and the Gentleman’s Relish ran out.  It is important to cultivate a departure mindset, to continue with sea going preparations, to maintain a positive outlook with a destination in mind – or else you’re doomed.

Reflecting on yesterday’s events from the comfort of my green maggot (Army slang for sleeping bag) , I was left choked with gratitude and humbled by the assistance I had received here.  This was reinforced this morning, when I awoke to find an email in my Inbox from Barry of UK Sails, checking if I was all sorted now – this from a man up to his ears in sorting out race teams all frantically preparing for race week.

Such thoughts took me back to my previous post, when Dick and I were cooing over car photos.  Here is a picture of a similar car to Dick’s lovely old BMW (Dick is the amazing man who worked all night to fix Pippin’s sail, so can definitely be in my platoon) …..

See the source image

And a picture of the Willis most fab car in the World, the Citroen Traction Avant …..

See the source image

I knew you would agree; no contest – sorry Dick!  Actually, if anyone is reading this, send ‘BMW’ or ‘CTA’ and then at least I’ll know if I’m being absurd.

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An even more  beautiful little lady

The RCYC sensibly makes use of an army of smart looking teenagers to perform the basic daily tasks around the place and a cheerful, helpful bunch they are too.  One morning I was limping along a pontoon or two, snapping some early morning pictures when one slouched past.  I greeted him politely, and received the classic teenage Neanderthal grunt, which could have meant anything from “Sod off jerk!” to “Howdy, man!”  I assumed the latter.

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Across the river

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Kids out sailing like noisy butterflies!

I know nothing about Hurling, except how to spell it but my young helper had hurt his legs badly playing the game at county level, so I guessed it was a contact sport whether by accident or design.   I have stood on touchlines and watched my wife play women’s hockey and a more vicious game I have rarely seen, so perhaps its something like that.  Anyway this youngster not only filled my cans, but he placed them in a trolley and sweated his way to Pippin with 80 kgs of diesel in his trolley and loaded each jerry can onto Pippin’s side deck for me.  He didn’t want to take any reward; “it makes me feel guilty” he explained.  “Harumph!  Leave the guilt until you’re my age and take the money, son” I said, whereupon he reluctantly did.

Hurling, I discovered, is an outdoor 15 man team game of ancient Gaelic and Irish origin.  It is administered by the Gaelic Athletic Association and it has prehistoric origins, having been played for 4,000 years.  One of Ireland’s native Gaelic games, it shares a number of features with Gaelic football, such as the field and goals, the number of players, and much terminology.  There is a similar game for women called camogie.  It shares a common Gaelic root with the sport of shinty, which is played predominantly in Scotland.

The ash stick or ‘hurl’ looks a little like a hockey stick with which you belt the sliotar towards or better still, into the opponents’ goal.  I suspect the term ‘shinty’ was well chosen and wondered if that is what my young man was suffering from.

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Anyone for clambering up inside one of those blades?!

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Looking up river

Sea going preparations on the good ship Pippin follow a sort of set procedure, though I like to start in good time in order to ensure I cover those things I forget initially.  I start outside, working up the boat looking at rigging connections and blocks, checking the condition of ropes, making sure that everything is fastened securely including the anchor.  Inside I stow things securely, gather a selection of snacks and foods for my day boxes, select a book or 2 and if a long passage, get together the ingredients for the Willis Orca stunning slow cooker stew (I am working on the Willis Cook Book for Deep Sea Dogs).

I run all electronics (and remind myself how to work key functions) and make sure that everything is fully charged – such as the hand held VHF, my phone and the Garmin satcom device.  Then its into the engine, checking life fluids, topping up the oil, checking fanbelt tension, hose connections, plus gear lever and throttle cables.  I’ll check the Racor fuel filter for debris and water and trap my fingers as I put the engine box back.

I fill the diesel tank and all spare cans, which amount to another tank full for this is a cruising boat and if I wish to maintain progress, or hug the wind more closely I’ll use the little Yanmar.  With diesel tank and all cans full, Pippin can motor along for 4 days and nights or so (about 600 nautical miles).  Finally I top up the ample 200l water tank and shut the toilet sea cock just before departure.

I haven’t mentioned passage planning, the art of knowing roughly where you are going and when, but for me its a joy and I will happily play with that in the days leading up to departure.  If its a tricky route out to sea or back into port on arrival, I’ll ensure I have a good mental picture for recall when half asleep and of course, I will put my tea mug on the galley top ready for filling at reveille.

The passage plan is but an intention, to be varied according to the dictats of weather and crew condition at any moment before and after departure, but lets be honest at 5 knots or so with land 100 nautical miles off, changes en route make little immediate difference.  You tell your loved ones you’ll be home no time soon and set off in the direction of, rather than to a fixed destination following a set timetable; that’s for motorboaters.

I haven’t mentioned preparing me, never easy for I’m not a Gemini for nothing.  I do  this by trying to ensure a relaxing last day saying farewell to new friends, having a light supper usually aboard with no alcohol and heading for an early night.  Right now I plan to head off at the weekend though will only do so if the decision is the right side of sensible, so we’ll see.

I genuinely don’t worry much at sea – I do my best to stay safe and sane and try to enjoy the ride; the rest is up to Him.


By ajay290

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