I'm a fairly even-tempered guy, but I recall
coming close to walking off the job once.
Large yacht, middle of night, far enough south to fantasise huskies blowing past with chains still attached to a lump of ice.
There's an owner, there's a skipper
, and there's a de facto sailing master (me). The skipper
is not a sailing man but a diamond in the rough, the biggest asset we had, other than the boat which was golden (heavily tarnished, but gold where it mattered)
The owner was a self-made man with plenty of sailing chops but - lets just say, 'issues'.
Not the least of which in this particular situation was nausea to the point he was actually incapable at times of doing so much as telling me, from his bunk, the location of key items we needed to prevent the boat sinking.
However on the occasion in question, he was putting in a rare appearance to 'help'.
His usual style was more along the lines of "Fix that, would you" or "Heave the boat to, mister"
We had to take a reef in the only sail we could still carry, which was on a very strong furling
extrusion with a powerful Reckmann hydraulic furler
. Let's just say that if one of the hypothetical passing huskies had the misfortune to be rolled into that sail, they would have ended up about as thick as a pressed flower.
His input was limited to presenting his upper torso out the hatch
, clutching the remote
for the furler
(which was recognisably a control pendant from an industrial-strength gantry crane) and telling me (euphemism for shouting with liberal abuse) how I should be easing the sheet.
The detail which he omitted to take into account was that I had been unsuccessful in persuading him, on our departure on a short charter
, that it was unseamanlike to leave the winches covered in polythene and masking tape. (The boat had been in mid-repaint when the appointed date came due)
I was only able to persuade him to free up a few of the key primaries.
SO, faced with having to ease a soaking wet sheet, indistinguishable from steel
barstock under most of its 8 tonne working load, around a winch drum as big around as my hips ... that drum being festooned with considerably residues of sticky tape and heavy polythene intertwining through the wraps ...
I was not disposed to do it the approved way, as 'ordered', by "clutching" the wraps of sheet against the drum with the palm of my free hand.
I actually quite enjoy having a free hand, on occasions. You could almost say I'm attached to it.
But it's hard to walk off the job when the nearest land is a mile away, straight down, so I kept my own counsel.
Photo shows remnants of the masking still intact even after the weather turned nice again.