Friday, April 9, 2010

Trade Winds Sailing: It's Sit to Pee from Anchor Up to Anchor Down

April 9, 2010
Cayo Frances, Cuba

For three days now Meredith has enjoyed the finest sailing weather a man could find. Wind has never been less than 25 knots just off our stern quarter. The boat has blasted along with a lift in her step that we had never seen before. It was sailing Nervana.

But you know, too much Nervana is not a good thing. Apparently Sailing Nervana is not like pizza or ice cream or those devine, if large, coconut wrapped shrimp that our friend Joy used to make when she and Ian entertained. There can be too much.

We had had enough boisterous sailing for a while It was time for a break. But does Mother Nature listen to us? Think of poor Oliver requesting sufficient rations to live and you have some idea how generous old Mother is with sailors.;

I mean 25 knots is really cool if it weren't for the 6 to 8 to 10 foot waves that such winds build up after blowing for 8 to 12 hours over near limitless fetch. Such waves over the stern quarter tend to knock the boat through 15 or 20 or 25 degrees each way.

As each wave passes the stern slews first one way and then the next. The headsail flaps its protest.

As this is going on it is impossible for men to pee like men. We must sit down. You can imagine what happens. You need one hand to steady yourself in the head so you do not fall over as the boat oscillates 20 degrees port and then 20 degrees starboard. You need one hand to point the stream so it lands squarely in the bowl. You need one hand to grab the toilet seat as it slams down repeatedly as your boat heels alternately to port and then to starboard.

You can try to eliminate one hand. You can for example try to pee while holding the toilet seat up hoping to balance yourself using the toilet seat. You abandon this fix when the toilet seat slams downs and throws you and the firehose hard against the head door. It is worse if you do have not cloded the door. You fall further. Trust me.

You can try to pee reallly really fast in short bursts so you pee a short burst, hold it before the toilet seat falls down, then pick up the seat and pee a short burst again. This may work if you are very young. My pump is old and the seals are worn. Short bursts are really more like dribbles by now. So this does not work if you are over 35. It may not work anyway. I have never been under 35 trying to pee on a wildly gyrating sailboat.

Under no circumstances can you use one hand to hold yourself in balance and the other to hold the toilet seat. You do not want to hear about what happens then.

So you must sit to pee.

This keeps the Budget Committee happy.

And a happy Budget Committee is one less problem to deal with at the end of a long trying day.

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