Andre and I are officially unofficial members of the Canada II America’s cup racing team. Andre (our volunteer captain) led us to victory against another group of tourists (guided by actual sailors) in a race around the bay in St. Maartin. (The real captain said he did a great job of being a figure head.)
My official title for the day was Grinder. Primary Grinder mind you, not Main Grinder. I was reminded of my position several times. Apparently if the Primary Grinder starts grinding when they shout “Main Grinder Go” it not only puts our ship in danger of losing the race but also of running into random floating things (like other boats). This is bad. But I was enthusiastic and ground like there was no tomorrow on command. This was good…for a while.
Grinding involves leaning over a winch type thing on a pedestal and pulling hard to “grind” the device in a circle which apparently causes the direction of the sail to change. (It was a bit like peddling a bike with your hands.) I say apparently because grinding is a full body, head down experience. “Go, go, go, go, go.”
It was hot, the sea was a beautiful variegated pattern of blue and green and did I mention it was hot?
I’m blaming the heat on the need for a bucket. Apparently, when you’re not used to it, heat and unusual hard work (on the heels of nine days of sloth) are not a good combination.
After the first two legs of the race Andre and I both went green and had to stop grinding. (The real crew took over.) Our new job was staring at the horizon, dumping bottles of water over our heads and concentrating on not throwing up while the rest of the team dragged our nauseated bodies over the finish line to victory. (The crew super appreciated that we didn’t throw up…they actually told us that.) Next time I’m going to volunteer as rail meat.
One of the professional sailing crew that led our victory at sea had moved from an urban life in France to a sailing life in the Caribbean. Sure it sounds idillic, but what if you were like me. “I can do that, burb, maybe not.” Try writing something called “Yo ho ho, the Pirate’s life is not for me.”
NB. Adam, Anna…I take it back. I don’t want to live aboard. I’ll just visit aboard.