Thursday, February 24, 2011

Communication at Sea - A Men's Companion Reader

2011 02 24
Emerald Bay Marina just north of Georgetown

One of the critical functions aboard a blue water sailing boat is the maintaining of good communications.  A great deal of time and attention is devoted by skipper and crew to ensuring clear easily understood exchange of vital information.

Take our friends Gord and Lorrie on Mystic for example.  Anchored behind the Statue of Liberty this fall in unpleasant conditions their Hunter 42 faced an unpleasant forecast with increasing winds and rain and nasty stuff.  All was well or so thought the skipper.  Then the nasties started to move in.

"GORDON, MOMMA AIN'T HAPPY" was all that was required for Gord, a careful man with a buck (as are we all), to understand exactly where he stood.  For the next two days Gord and Lorrie enjoyed the marina at Liberty Landing for a mere $4 a foot.  "Best birthday present I ever bought her" says Gord. 

Hearing this story from Gord brought to mind our own dilemma aboard Meredith as were surfing down waves enroute from Little Harbour to Royal Island.  As I have said it was a stellar sail.  Everything was shiny. 

The BC had only to murmur "BENNER, YOU TOLD ME YOU WOULD KEEP THE HEEL TO 15 DEGREES.  IT HAS BEEN OVER 20 FOR THE PAST TWO HOURS AND NOW IT'S 30".  Being a sensitive sort of guy I immediately realized something needed to be done and that I should probably refrain from asking the BC for suggestions.  It appeared she was ready of her own volition to make some. 

Another couple with whom we are friends have a different but equally effective system.  Explained by the husband it works like this "I always know when I need to put in a reef.  My wife calmly leans over the side of the boat and retches".  This is a great example of the kind of rapport that exists between couples on a boat.  The parties are of a single mind.  Nothing need be said.

The final example comes from Okemah Rose who are completing their first cruise to the Bahamas just now.  As Joe explains it "It is really easy.  She just says 'Joe, you have to sleep sometime'.  Somehow from the glint in her eye I know she is not concerned with my getting more rest".

Clear communication.  A useful device in the orderly operation of a sailboat.

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