Thursday, October 18, 2012

Adventures in nightsailing

*Elizabeth Shue can play me in the movie adaptation.

There are very few times in my life where I feel absolutely useless, and being on a sailboat is one.

See, my charming wit doesn't impress the boat and move it out of the harbor.

The wind doesn't care how much wine and cheese I can consume.

And no matter where I stand on the boat, my blue-and-white striped shirt doesn't generate a proper navigational path. (Hmmm…odd.)

See? Useless.

Fortunately, one of the great things about being invited on a sailboat is that you’re not expected to do anything.

Really! It’s like a vacation! A ride at Disney World!!!

Keep your hands inside the boat, kids…ohhhhh look! Water!”

This was the case several weeks ago, when I went on a lovely evening boat ride on Lake Ponchartrain in New Orleans.

All I had to do was show up bearing fruit (wine) and provisions (cheese), watch the shore get smaller and smaller, and flip a peace sign at the real world.

I don’t think there’s an escape from the real world quite like a sailboat.

It’s not like a speedboat, where you can return to the dock in 3.5 seconds if, say, your boss calls.

Not on a sailboat. On a sailboat, you’ve got an excuse.
“Ohhhh…can’t. The wind isn’t blowing that way, sorry.”

I remember all five times I’ve been on a sailboat.

I remember one time, in South Carolina, the Coast Guard happened to be doing drills in the water and we were told by police on a nearby boat to get the F out of the harbor, that only the Coast Guard could be in it.
(Uhhh, I didn’t see their NAME on it…)

Another time, in New Orleans, I was on a sailboat that was competing in a weekly sailboat race (12 knots, hold on to your hats!!!) and I don’t remember laughing so hard in my life at the group of guys,  who were all friends, try and get it together while giving each other shit.

I sat back in my sailing clothes, marveling at how there are entire groups of people out there who know what a jib is and which word means the right side of the boat (port?) and are careful not to twist lines, something I can’t even manage to do with my hairdryer cord.

On the evening sailboat ride, there was no boat race, no coast guard doing drills.
In fact, there was no agenda at all. Just a group of eight celebrating the end of the work week.

Sailing is funny!

I tried to break my streak of "being useless on sailboat," even though the captain, Pedro, had it covered.

“Your CB radio is making noise!” I offered, as I was down in the galley (GALLEY!!!) refilling my cup of wine.

“Is it saying ‘mayday’ and the name of this boat?” he asked from the deck.


“It is saying the name of this boat and, ‘you’re about to be boarded?’” he laughed.


“Then, ignore it.”

I ignored it marvelously. See? I pitched in.

It was a relaxing and peaceful sailboat ride — a stroll in the water would describe it well  —  and the wind was incredibly calm so no one felt nauseous and we brought so much food and wine that I couldn’t even finish the cheese.


It was especially enchanting when the daylight faded, and stars began to twinkle above our heads (Man, Disney World rides are so fun!!!) 

With just a tiny light at the top of the sail and in the front of the boat, we were a moving island in the middle of the dark water, just like in the Pirates of the Caribbean, only they didn’t sing “Call me Maybe” uh, three times.

Of course, this was all documented, just in case the ship went down and investigators needed information. (Yes, instead of writing down coordinates in the captain's log, we wrote down the lyrics of all the songs we sang to. As evidence.)

and she was...SAILING!

Our 4-hour vacation ended when we sailed back into the slip, turned off the music, packed up all our things and parted ways, agreeing that it was a most excellent Thursday evening.

I really hope Disney World opens again soon. :)


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