Wednesday, June 29, 2011


2011 06 28

35 24N
051 48W

Many thanks to my "landslave" and son in law Nick Benner/Penney for all his help in receiving and reposting my blogs. The blog is sent as a regular email via winlink to Nick who then copies the text, accesses our blogsite and posts a new entry on our behalf.

It is somewhat ironic that Nick is doing this. In the beginning he was to have accompanied us as crew on Meredith for the entire crossing. Married to our elder daughter and eldest child Nick hails from Newfoundland, "The "Rock" and offered up as his main sailing credential that he had once sunk a sailboat during a race just south of St. Johns Nfld. Having struck rocks cutting a turn too close he adjudged he could make the finish line in time to earn a show or even a place. The leak beat him.

He was adjudged suitable by us as crew in a test conducted last summer without notice to Nick. Testing a sailor is like testing a man's character. If you want to know what a man is all about don't give a pile of adversity and danger. All you will discover is whether he is brave or dogged. No, if you want to see what a man is truly all about give him money and watch what he does.

So to with a sailor. Do not give a sailor knock down wind and raging seas. You discover only whether he is brave and proof from seasickness. Two important factors but only a partial list of what is required. No, to discover what kind of sailor a man is stick him in the lightest conditions that will power the boat. Sit back and watch.

Nick of course passed the test. He took old Meredith with her worn out genoa and fiddled and fiddled and fiddled till he near drove us mad. But... he got the old girl sailing 3.5 knots in 4.2 knots of wind.

Test passed.

So why is he not on board? Well, you see there was a final test, one not scheduled by us. Nick applied for a new job in a new city before we left. In the usual way of these things there is ample time between application and offer for a quick sail, at least to Bermuda. Naturally in the case instant Nick was offered the job in the interview and was asked to start immediately.

So here he was, looking forward for almost a year to sailing to Europe with us, counting down the days, buying offshore gear and reading all the pilot guides. He could have done the sail to Bermuda but this would have left his wife to set up house in a new city and make all the arrangements by herself.

He, reluctantly very very reluctantly, informed us he could not join us.

So, in passing the final test, the test that assured his place on our boat at any time, he was required to decline the very position he sought.

That is quite a man in our books.

And folks that is irony worthy of O Henry.

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